What trends are shaping the wedding & hospitality sectors? Renu Basu, of IHCL, shares her expert insights
WeddingSutra in conversation with Renu Basu, Senior VP – Global Sales & Marketing at Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), to find out more about the new reality in weddings, and how IHCL is setting a new benchmark for the industry.
From warm hugs to no-touch namastes, and from a large crowd of friends and family to just 50-100 guests – Indian weddings are evolving in many ways.
Many couples have altered their wedding dates in anticipation that things will get back to normal in the future, and many others are reorganizing the festivities in light of the current guidelines. However, weddings continue to be momentous occasions, and the ‘Intimate Timeless Weddings’ campaign recently launched at hotels of The Indian Hotels Company (Taj, SeleQtions and Vivanta hotels) fuses the beauty and traditional essence of an Indian or international wedding in unique locations with the assurance of the highest standards of safety and personalized services.
Renu Basu, of the Indian Hotels Company Limited, states, “In a time like this, trusted brands that have stood the test of time will thrive. We are blessed that we enjoy the trust and affection of our customers and all other stakeholders. This is because of our unique service philosophy, which we refer to as ‘Tajness,’ emanating from the warmth and care we demonstrate with confidence and commitment for over a century.”
Proposal to Post Wedding Celebrations Under One Roof and one sky
There is expected to be a higher reliance on one trusted hotel company for a couple’s special moments and diverse celebrations. That’s because the couple and their family members are likely to prefer to work with one hotel/resort, instead of traveling to multiple locations or hotels.
Greater Preference for Spacious Indoor Venues and Alfresco/open-air Venues
Intimate soirees and events are increasingly going to be hosted at a mix of spacious indoor and open-air venues in the future, especially with the onset of the winter wedding season. Such venues offer fresh air and are conducive for social distancing.
Brunch Weddings Gaining Popularity
With a preference for natural surroundings, couples are taking advantage of nature including daylight and sun-kissed experiences for their intimate gatherings.
Unconventional Decor Elements/Sustainable Weddings
Greater importance is being given to eco-friendly decor. Sustainable materials like natural wood, un-dyed yarns, recycled textiles, compostable dinnerware, plants, locally grown flowers/foliage, and the use of wild or local blooms that can be easily sourced near the venue will be in demand.
Tons of Personalization
With cozy, boutique weddings becoming the norm, couples are investing more time and money in adding more unique and personalized touches to their wedding and related festivities. From beautiful bespoke invitations to branded hampers and themes unique to their love story, every element is being showcased in grand ways even at intimate weddings.
E-Concierge Services/Embracing Technology
In the current times, an E-Concierge service digitally enables and assists guests in wedding planning, including virtual visits to hotels and locations. The dedicated concierge brings together a team of wedding specialists who will curate every whim, fancy or wish according to your heart’s desires; the most skilled and inventive Chefs who create culinary wonders; talented florists, and dedicated staff, who make it their mission to transform dreams into reality.
Food & Beverage- From Comfort to Wellness: New Foods
Given the guidelines, weddings are becoming more intimate, and the emphasis will be on high personalization which creates an opportunity for customization, and therefore greater creativity and attention to finer details that will elevate the experience to a greater height. Comfort, regional specialties, and wellness-oriented food sections for greater immunity are seeing a great demand. Restaurants and banquet areas will have fewer tables and popular self-serving buffets may not be available. Menus will largely be digital or single use for enhanced safety and hygiene.
Rise in Follow-up Celebrations
Interestingly, many couples and their families have pre-booked beautiful venues at Taj hotels for larger celebrations after their intimate weddings at home that happened during the lockdown.
Higher Demand for Serene Venues Accessible by Road or Drivable Destinations
For those seeking serenity, Taj’s resorts in Corbett at the foothills of the Himalayas, and in Rishikesh by the banks of the majestic Ganges, serve as peaceful and rejuvenating venues. With air travel still not a preferred option for many families due to prevailing risks, destination weddings are increasingly being planned at domestic drive-to locations that are easily accessible and offer unique experiences.