Once in a Lifetime Is Big Business
Weddings are highly emotional in nature. However, hosting weddings is alucrative business, particularly for the hotel industry in the Middle East. With upto 1,000 or more guests at a wedding party, this segment accounts for one of themost important revenue streams in the hospitality industry in the region.Lavish functions with extravagant set-ups, opulent dinner buffets and individuallydesigned wedding cakes bring about ample business opportunities for hotels.A report by Bettina Quabius.
While weddings are unique and oncein-a-lifetime events in all parts of the world, Middle Eastern weddings differ significantly from those in Western countries, not only in terms of luxury, abundance and the number of guests but also in respect of customs and traditions. Weddings can last from three days up to a week, depending on the spendingpower of the families. Besides the wedding ceremony and the reception itself, several traditional celebrations are also held, either at home or in a hotel. There is the engagement party where the two families are brought together as well as another celebration following the signing of the marriage contract. A hena party takes place one day before the wedding when the bride will have her hands and feet decorated to ward off any evil spirits and to ensure the happiness of the new couple. The fifth and last party, called the ‘Sabaa', is held seven days after he wedding and is attended by women only with the bride's mother usually giving her daughter gold and diamonds as presents. Glamour and luxurious details
The sumptuous nature of these social events brings about ample business opportunities for hotels. "The wedding business definitely makes up a big part of our revenue stream, the hotel's ballroom revenue represents about 60% ofthe total banquet revenue and about 35% of the F&B business," says Christian Madsen, General Manager at the Phoenicia Hotel Beirut in Lebanon. "In Middle Eastern countries, weddings are very elegant and remarkable, full of glamour and luxurious details. What makes them different from Western-style weddings are the huge set-ups, personalised decoration, and the musical entertainment which plays a vital role for our guests." Wedding packages at the Phoenicia Hotel start from $75 per person and include a standard ballroom set-up, dinner and complimentary nights for the newlyweds. However, most guests like to customise their packages by adding some live stations to their menu, holding receptions before dinner or modifying the set-up of the location - sometimes at the last minute providing an extra challenge for the hotel's wedding team.
| 12 June 2012 |
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