Industries around the world have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and the Indian wedding industry, which has historically been termed as recession-proof, unfortunately, is no exception to this pandemic. Owing to the precautionary nationwide lockdown, people across India have been homebound for months together, deterring any scope for events. During these times, OYO’s Weddingz.in India’s largest wedding company implemented a three-pronged approach to resurrect, win customer confidence and build for the future, thereby, resulting in 40% upswing in demand of pre-COVID levels (February 2020) since Unlock 3.0.
Through several initiatives, Weddingz.in successfully managed enabling and supporting its venue partners with the necessary training, implementation of new standard operating procedures and technologies to ensure business continuity and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Such proactive efforts led to the rescheduling of 3000+ events and 1500+ unique bookings for October, November and December 2020. In July 2020, the company also received over 25,000+ inquiries from customers for events, including wedding venues across the country, thereby highlighting the customer intent and confidence in organising wedding events in the latter half of 2020, while practising the necessary precautionary measures.
In terms of the size of the event, Weddingz.in has witnessed an increase of approx. 40% in August 2020, owing to the increase in average per plate price and other non-venue services for the peak winter season in November and December. This means that customers are slowly warming up to the idea of safe community events towards the end of the year. All of this, given that venues follow the highest standard of hygiene, sanitisation and social distancing norms. So far, the metropolitan cities of Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad are leading in demand.
Commenting on the recovery of the business and supporting its venue partners, Sandeep Lodha, CEO, OYO’s Weddingz.in said, “Weddings in India are a big milestone, not only for the couple but their families too. We knew that eventually, people will get married, be it a small, intimate function or through a virtual channel. It was bound to happen but we just weren’t sure of the timeline. However, my teams and I were driven by this saying — when there’s a storm at sea, the fishermen repair their nets. In March, when the lockdown was implemented, we saw our revenues drop by 90%. Nonetheless, we worked relentlessly to think ahead of time and plan for the future. We re-tooled our efforts and relied heavily on technology, combined strengths with our venue partners, came up with innovative ways to continue offering the best experiences even during such distressed times. All of these efforts are now slowly resulting in our recovery. We understand that it’s still very early, but we are optimistic that with the necessary precautions, customer confidence will rise in the next few months, leading to many more events, thereby, contributing to the recovery of the larger economy and the welfare of small or local businesses. All throughout, safety will continue to be our topmost priority.”
Vikas Parchhanda, Venue Partner Relationship Head at OYO’s Weddingz.in said, “We’re extremely humbled to share that seeing the value Weddingz.in brings to the table, 200+ venue partners joined the Weddingz.in family during the lockdown. The beginning of each ‘unlock’ phase, especially Unlock 3.0 starting in August saw an increase of 40% in demand of pre-COVID levels, which is a testament of recovery in the industry. In lieu of the most stringent lockdown across India, we took several measures to ensure business continuity for our venue partners, thereby resulting in a steady recovery of business compared to individual players. I would like to express my gratitude towards all our partners for trusting and supporting us all along the way through these unprecedented times. With our combined efforts, I am confident that we will come out of this crisis stronger together.”
In lieu of the most stringent lockdown across India, Weddingz.in took several measures to ensure business continuity for its venue partners, thereby resulting in a steady recovery of business compared to individual players.
- Launched a contactless reece and Wz Safe program: The company implemented a detailed SOP for venue partners and the banquet industry at large to ensure safe events. Furthermore, Weddingz.in leveraged its technology prowess to conduct nationwide webinars for banquet owners to create awareness for safety protocols, including safety checks as part of the pre-function checks at the venue, thereby allowing partners to organise safe events. The company has also implemented a comprehensive 20+ point checklist for venues to ensure the safety of staff, customers & guests, among others.
- Enabled discovery and promotion of partner venues: Venue partners who prioritized safety & adopted Wz standards of safety by enrolling for Wz Safe program were promoted on the Weddingz.in website and app, garnering higher visibility and leads
- Proactive consumer communication: Weddingz.in engaged frequently and consistently with its potential and existing customers, through virtual channels and communication. This helped increase customer confidence to plan events in a safe environment
- Launched exciting offers to increase demand: The company further launched Shagun booking offers to garner higher customer demand. It also gave consumers the flexibility to reschedule events free of cost. 50 PAX packages including venue and non-venue offerings were also rolled out for customers looking for a one-stop-solution for a hassle-free and safe wedding experience. At present, Weddingz.in is also offering packages inclusive of catering, photography, LIVE streaming services, among others for smaller weddings and pre-wedding functions like Haldi, Mehendi, and Sangeet organised at home
- Increasing online demand for venue partners: Across the globe, there has been a decline in walk-in customers at venues, consequently spiking the demand for online traffic and recess. The company is supporting its venue partners to increase this online demand through its platforms during such times
- Furthermore, to ensure the recovery of the industry at large, the company also worked with industry associations like FICCI for pragmatic but business-friendly guidelines to viably operate banquets in India, in light of the pandemic
As a result of all of these initiatives, Weddingz.in contributed over 70% of its venue partner’s business during the lockdown period between May 2020 and July 2020. So far, following the government guidelines, the company has hosted over 2637+ events at Wz Safe venues across metro cities in India.
“Even during these unprecedented times, the Weddingz team has been extremely driven to continue business safely, more than I was myself able to do due to the nationwide lockdown. They came up with innovative solutions to engage customers virtually, aided us with the right technology and safety solutions, prepared and trained us to meet the standards of the ‘new normal’, enhanced our hygiene and sanitisation standards and implemented minimal touch SOPs with its ‘Wz Safe’ program. We are confident that with the Weddingz team’s guidance and support, we will continue on our road to recovery and serve guests safely.” – Mr Kathir, The Samundra, Eliot’s Beach Road, Chennai
“While Weddingz has always been a strategic business partner, the support mattered most during the pandemic when they have contributed as much as 70% to my business” – Sudipto Hore, General Manager, Regenta Orkos, Kolkata