Sandy Russell Discusses Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s Campaign Targetting the Indian Wedding Market

Weddings | September 6, 2017 | News

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Radisson Blu

With the launch of ‘The Art of Weddings’ on August 26, Radisson Blu aims at establishing the upper-upscale brand as the venue of choice for weddings and bridal related events. The campaign is targeted at new age Indian couples and brings together the finest names in wedding services for a truly elegant, stylish and sophisticated wedding experience.

In this interview, Sandy Russell, Vice President Commercial Operations, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group shares more.

Comment on the overall marketing strategy for APAC. Other than India, which are the top markets in the region for Carlson Rezidor?

In Asia Pacific, with differences in the economic and societal landscape, cultural nuances differ across countries rather significantly. With varied consumer patterns, localized marketing strategies are also undertaken to ensure that the needs of the market are met. Today, in addition to the global brand campaigns which our various brands run, in-market campaigns are also targeted specifically to the country. We are also focusing on our growth in Australasia and other key gateway cities like Kuala Lumpur, Thailand, etc.

What is unique about the Indian wedding market?

India’s wedding industry is massive and recession proof. With rising disposable incomes and expanding middle class, couples are well-travelled and have a wide exposure and understanding of how they want their special day to look like. They are well-connected with local as well as global tastes and want nothing less than a congregation of the best in F&B, outfits, décor, photography, choice of venues, make-up artists, wedding planners and the like to make their wedding a memorable moment.

Building on ‘Something Blu, A Wedding of a Kind’, ‘The Art of Weddings by Radisson Blu’ has been created as a bespoke product for the Indian market and is well placed to understand and cater to the requirements of the upper upscale customers.  

Another hotel chain recently launched a campaign targeting the Indian wedding market. What is different about The Art of Weddings and the offerings from Radisson Blu?

The Art of Weddings by Radisson Blu is a bespoke campaign launched for the Indian market across all 34 Radisson Blu hotels in the country and targets upper upscale segment of the Indian weddings market. It is unique in its targeting as most wedding festivals are targeted to the luxury segment. The campaign is designed to address the requirements of a wide section of the society and offers two packages customized to different price points. Guests booking a wedding with Radisson Blu hotels across the country during the campaign period can also avail special privileges such as food and beverage discounts and a bonus of 25,000 Club CarlsonSM Gold Points.

The campaign was rolled out as a free public event in New Delhi and Indore where we organized two-day ‘wedding fairs’. These events brought together the finest names in wedding services. Payal Singhal was the exclusive designer on board The Art of Weddings who presented her specially curated line of collection called ‘Azure Collection’ for Radisson Blu. Rakesh Sethi, Corporate Executive Chef, Carlson Rezidor Hotel group presented his signature dishes for the campaign and delivered a talk on creating the apt wedding menu for the coming season.

Experiential workshops were also a key feature at the ‘Wedding Fairs’. Attendees learned how to create an unforgettable destination wedding, select an ideal wedding invitation, trousseau and other gift packing techniques and latest trends, styles and flavours in the world of wedding cakes and much more.

What are some of the objectives that the campaign is looking to achieve in India in terms of revenue from weddings, number of weddings, etc.

In 2016, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group launched a task force comprised of key stakeholders within our hotels, an outside marketing agency and our commercial team to dialogue about consumer behavior and opportunities for growth in pursuit of a better understanding of the key drivers of food and beverage in India. Several important insights were realized, including the significance of the wedding market in India. 

The Art of Weddings was therefore designed as an outcome of this study with the primary objective to establish Radisson Blu hotels as the venue of choice for weddings and/or wedding related events in India among the upper upscale target consumer as well as garnering business through wedding planners. The secondary objective was to drive room nights and auxiliary revenue through brand preference or awareness of Radisson Blu hotels in India.

 The campaign will run from August 24, 2107 to February 28, 2018 and is made up of three main components:

  1. Awareness through Fashion Partnership: Radisson Blu collaborated with India’s finest couture designer, Payal Singhal, to create ‘The Azure Collection’ and raise awareness about booking weddings with Radisson Blu.
  2. Exposure through Wedding Fairs: The two-day wedding fairs at Radisson Blu New Delhi Paschim Vihar and Radisson Blu Indore targeted future brides, grooms, their relatives as well as wedding planners and were focused on generating brand awareness through advertising, PR, BTL and influencer collaborations for achieving banquet and room sales.
  3. Consistency through introduction of toolkits: Standardized hotel communication promoting the wedding concept at all Radisson Blu properties targeted at spreading awareness of the concept and outreach to consumers even after the event is over.

We anticipate 15% lift in revenues because of our campaign and hope to make these fairs into an annual event that consumers will mark on their calendars.

Elaborate on experiential workshops that will be part of the campaign.

The visitors of “The Art of Weddings” got a chance to attend an exclusive line up of master classes by industry experts who revealed tips and tricks for a perfect dream wedding. Payal Singhal presented ‘The Azure Collection’; an exclusive line designed for Radisson Blu and revealed how to create a perfect bridal trousseau. Renowned celebrity chef from Radisson Blu, Rakesh Sethi presented a talk on creating the apt wedding menu for the coming season. In New Delhi, famous makeup artist Kangna Kochar talked about the latest trends in the makeup world. India’s leading photographer Ramit Batra gave useful tips on preserving albums. Attendees also learned various ways of draping a sari and handling different fabrics, selecting an ideal wedding invitation, make up tips for all skin types, styles and flavours in the world of wedding cakes, art of creating unforgettable destination weddings and much more.

In this interview, Sandy Russell, Vice President Commercial Operations, Asia Pacific, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group shares more on ‘The Art of Weddings’ and the hotel group’s plans for the Indian market

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