Creating a safety bubble for guests: Thameem Mohamed

In an exclusive conversation with HT, Thameem Mohamed, Director of Sales & Marketing, Courtyard and Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru ORR talks about the future of wedding and MICE in the current scenario.

What kind of wedding set ups are you looking at the next few months?
With weddings now turned mostly into close-knit affairs because of the current situation, the wedding set up has become very intimate with carefully curated experience for the guests as well and not just for the immediate family.
Whether it’s a South Indian or North Indian or even a modern English-style luxury wedding, our focus strongly lies on bringing as much authenticity to the theme as possible. Whether it is the ceremonies or the food, the aim is to create an unparalleled experience for not just the bride and the groom but for all the guests attending the event. From the menu with specializing in cuisines, cocktails inspired from local ingredients, the feast served in banana-leaf to setting up a traditional Sajjan kot or dhol for the baraat, every ceremony is a reflection of those little wishes that brides, grooms and their families dream of.

Besides these, with events happening at the touch of remote and screens, we have also ventured into conducting such ceremonies virtually, taking care of the needs of our clients holistically.

What kind of deals are you offering your clients under the current financial climate?
Considering the times we are living in, we have designed 3 extremely attractive packages for Classic, South Indian and North Indian Weddings. Ranging between INR 1 Lac to 2.75 Lacs with guest capacity of up to 150, each package comes with customized food and beverage menus, decor, stay and a complimentary weekend stay voucher. Bespoke packages are also available on request.

We have also introduced Wedding Referral packages wherein one can share their wedding experience with his/her soon to wed friends or family members and avail a host of Marriott experiences at minimal prices.

What is the revenue status that you are getting from wedding and corporate events in the age of pandemic?
The revenue from social events v/s corporate events is currently at a 50:50. It is during auspicious dates where wedding related events far outnumber corporate events. The revenues coming from wedding related events are considerably higher compared to corporate events, since majority of the corporates want to keep their meetings to a bare minimum.

Tell us something about hybrid mode weddings?
This is something we have been practicing for most of the weddings since they started after the first lockdown. Many people had family living abroad who could not be here in addition to of course the restrictions on the numbers for events like this. That’s when we gave the option of live streaming weddings and sending the wedding food home for guests who could not be physically present. This has been quite well received. We are certain this will continue in future even without a pandemic because this really opened up a whole new world for people.

What is the effect of the Second wave on the MICE industry?Even though COVID left the Hospitality and Travel industry in a worrisome state, with the new guidelines introduced, things had started picking up. Now, with the second wave hitting us, we will have to brace ourselves and ensure the safety of our guests and staff. We will work towards creating that safety bubble for guests so they don’t have to compromise too much on their event of a lifetime.

How is your brand preparing for the same?
A brand like the Courtyard has incredible flexibility both in terms of catering to corporates as well as socials. With our current scale of operations we can function as a classic business hotel during the day and turn into a bespoke wedding destination in the evening. A lot has to do with the teams being agile and coming up with unique and out of the box ideas.

Any expansion plans? Or anything else you would like to mention.
With the business environment continuing to be unpredictable, we need to constantly innovate and come up with unique offerings that set you apart from competition. These offerings need to make life easier for guests and need to be maintained at the right price points to be viable and a win-win situation for both.