Sunday, June 20, 2010

Indian weddings in New England: the hotel market

The Boston Globe reports: For hotels, a perfect match--Recession-hit hosts embrace Indian weddings.

"On a hot, sunny Saturday in early May, a raucous wedding procession of women in bright, shimmery saris and men in long embroidered kurtas and sunglasses danced through a hotel parking lot behind a van blaring bhangra beats. The groom brought up the rear on a dappled white horse.

"It was the first time the Marlborough Best Western had hosted a traditional Indian wedding and, in keeping with Indian culture, it was an elaborate, all-day affair, with 450 guests.

"Best Western is among the many hotels actively pursuing this lucrative market as they struggle to make up for last year’s recession-diminished revenues.

"The InterContinental Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, the Taj Boston, and the Westin in Waltham have all hosted Indian wedding expos in the past year. Hyatt Hotels Corp. developed an Indian wedding webinar to educate staff about ceremonial customs, cuisine, even popular brands of alcohol.

"And India New England, a newspaper published in Waltham, has had so much demand from advertisers that it put out two wedding supplements instead of one last year and plans to do the same this year.

“Literally, this market is just exploding,’’ said publisher Upendra Mishra."

..."The weddings, [wedding planner and decorator Shobha Shastry] said, typically range from $50,000 to $150,000 and can go as high as $300,000.

"The average cost of a wedding in Massachusetts, by comparison, is closer to $30,000, according to the research company the Wedding Report Inc."

..."There are about 1,500 Indian weddings a year in the region, according to India New England — more than double the number 10 years ago."

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