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Weddings save the day for MICE

July 30, 2013 Headline News, MICE No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Grand Indian weddings are increasingly attracting professional conference organisers to help wade through low times.

The recession proof segment generates $ 25 bn annually and is estimated to grow at 30 to 40 percent every year. Event organizers narrated their experiences of handling weddings at the first MICE India and Luxury Travel (MILT) Congress in Mumbai last weekend.

Sushil Wadhwa, Chairman & Managing Director, Platinum World Group said: “We were doing well

Parthip Thyagarajan, Co-FOunder & Director, WeddingSutra

Parthip Thyagarajan, Co-FOunder & Director, WeddingSutra

with corporate work. When Business slowed down, weddings came as an alternative. We have obtained ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification for the whole wedding process).”

Sometimes, it’s an easy transition since it’s a different event for the same client.

Parthip Thyagarajan, Co-Founder and Director, said: “Many event management companies are also handling weddings since their corporate clients trust them with their family events as well.”

Weddings are also a big business.

Ravi Bakhru, Owner, Warlock Wedding Planner, said: “We extended our corporate event management business to weddings as 15 corporate events

Ravi Bakhru, Owner, Warlock Weddings

Ravi Bakhru, Owner, Warlock Weddings

handled over a month equals to one wedding.”

Destination weddings

Wedding clients go for experience and have no issues on budgets. They also scout for newer and exotic destinations.

Bakhru said: “We only have to show them the ways to spend. Marwari (a business community)’s in Kolkata prefer Thailand for weddings. Sheraton Hua Hin is especially popular as a cost effective destination. By handling one or two weddings every week, its General Manager has understood the concept well.”

Lobby is sometimes converted into a dance floor and the pool is prepared for the wedding. The hotel is flexible in letting clients use it as it suits, as long as they have booked the whole hotel and return it back in the same condition.

Wadhwa said: “Thousands of destinations in India and abroad will witness Indian weddings that have about a million people travelling every year.

Sushil Wadhwa, CMD, Platinum World Group

Sushil Wadhwa, CMD, Platinum World Group

Challenges to overcome

Each wedding is different and so are the challenges.

Thyagarajan said: “Weddings are a Jugad (a term applied to a creative or innovative idea providing a quick, alternative way of solving a problem) exercise in India that requires a highly flexible approach.”

It’s also incredible because of the numbers involved.

Wadhwa said: “We normally have plan B, C, D in place if things go haywire. We handled 15,000 guests for a wedding in Chennai that stretched over seven days. There were 5,000 guests for reception alone.” A large school ground was prepared with air conditioning and carpeting over a 400,000 sq. ft area.  150 cars and coaches were hired for 3 days.

Families of the bride and groom are a priority and grandparents have to be ferried on direct flights even if it means chartering flights -as they don’t prefer change of flights.

The first big Indian wedding in Bhutan this April had many of its guests accommodated in Kolkata due to lack of accommodation at the wedding destination.

Rajesh Acharya, Managing Director, Balaji Travels said: “We chartered a Druk Air flight to ferry our clients from Kolkata to Paro. This was for our long time corporate client who wanted us to organize his daughter’s wedding in Bhutan, the place he liked to visit on a holiday.”

Grandiose unlimited

A girl’s father saves since her birth to spend at her wedding.

Thyagarajan said: “Weddings are always a big fare in India. Earlier during the 80s, there were demonstrations by NGOs at a diamond merchant’s daughter’s wedding at Wankhade stadium in Mumbai. They considered the spending offensive. Grand weddings now are an accepted norm.”

Not just from the wedding event, the niche market generates another $1.1 trillion from of jewellery, garments and other spending. $ 1500 to $ 3000 spending per guest at a wedding is 2 to 3 times higher than the average MICE spend. Four star hotels and above are preferred for weddings.

MICE India and Luxury Travel Congress 2013 was organised by the Dubai based professional conference organizer, QnA International.

Written by : Anand & Madhura Katti

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