With the easing of Covid-related restrictions and the bulk of auspicious dates concentrated in the April-June quarter of FY23, hotel brands are seeing substantial growth in wedding banquet bookings.
As the second wave of the pandemic led nearly every state to impose restrictions in the first quarter of FY22, many weddings were postponed or had limited attendance. The occupancy level of the hotel sector across India hit its lowest level in 12 months in May 2021 by falling below 20% nationwide, according to international real estate consultancy firm JLL.
Jaideep Dang, MD, Hotel and Hospitality Group, South Asia, JLL, told FE that although hotels are receiving many requests for weddings this season, there has been a fundamental shift in the mindset of people after Covid, by which they choose to organize events with a lower number of guests. Some hotels and independent banquet halls that hosted weddings with more than 500 guests during the pre-Covid period, only hosted 150-200 guests on average during Q3 FY22.
Dang, however, observed that there is positive sentiment in the first quarter of FY23 as hotels begin to receive requests and confirmations for large weddings, some of which are up to 400-500 guests, some leading city hotels even reporting higher demand volumes. for the wedding segment in Q1 FY23 compared to Q1 FY20.
While the industry was hoping for a quick recovery after February 2021, the second wave of the pandemic hit overall business activity hard, especially in the April-June quarter of FY22.
“In some cases, hotels were nearing 80% confirmed business on the books for the first quarter of FY22. The recovery, however, was faster and better. Q1 FY23 looks very dynamic. Our pick-up rates are in line with our expectations. We aim to achieve guidance for most of our hotels in our region. At this time, with restrictions also lifted, we expect nearly 90% of 2019 revenue levels to be back said Surinder Singh, Regional Director – Haryana and Dwarka, IHCL, and Managing Director, Taj City Centre, Gurugram.
According to Singh, with the revival of the Indian wedding season, there has been a tremendous increase in business inquiries at branded hotels and resorts in Delhi-NCR including Taj City Center Gurugram, Vivanta Surajkund NCR, The Gateway Resort Damdama Lake Gurugram, and Vivanta New Delhi Dwarka.
InterContinental Hotels Group said its wedding business saw more than 150% year-on-year growth for April-May 2022. Among the brand’s popular properties for weddings are InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort, Crowne Plaza Jaipur, Crowne Plaza Rohini, Crowne Plaza Greater Noida, Holiday Inn Agra and Holiday Inn Goa.
“With further easing of restrictions on social gatherings, the wedding segment is doing well. However, it continues to differ from state to state. After the initial postponement of weddings in January and February due to the third wave of Covid, many of these events have been booked at our hotels in March, April and May,” said Sudeep Jain, Managing Director, Southeast Asia. West, InterContinental Hotel Group.
Although Marriott International said that currently its FY23 first quarter wedding leads and bookings are trending higher than the FY22 first quarter, it did not share the quantum of growth. . Among its hotels in India, the company is seeing an increase in demand for JW Marriott Mussoorie, W Goa, JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu, JW Marriott Hotel Bengaluru and Westin Mumbai Powai Lake for hosting weddings.
“Guest response has been very strong for this wedding season. We are seeing many requests and closures of wedding and wedding-related functions. Guest preference for wedding destinations in the first quarter of FY23 is still inclined toward domestic destinations,” said Monisha Dewan, senior area manager, sales and distribution, South Asia, Marriott International.
A spokesperson for ITC Hotels told FE that the brand was seeing recovery trends after the initial setback due to Omicron.
“The first half of FY23 has several key wedding dates and the easing of restrictions will help the industry generate robust growth,” the spokesperson said, adding that the wedding segment saw good growth. in leisure destinations like ITC Grand Bharat, ITC Grand Goa and ITC Rajputana. .
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