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Engaging a ‘bridezilla’
Marketers are saying ‘I do’ to the wedding industry, which is worth $700 million a year in the Middle East.
February 19, 2010 11:20 by Radhina Coutinho
Value for money
Last summer, regional hotels competed to deliver the best value-price proposition by offering special wedding packages. The JW Marriot Kuwait City included a complimentary dinner for close kin of the betrothed at the hotel’s restaurant, massages for the couple, suite arrangements for the bride, and up to three nights’ complimentary stay in its summer wedding package. The Grand Hyatt Doha offered customized menus and wedding cakes, a ballroom, and special deals at the hotel spa.
Nuran Kilani, wedding specialist and associate director of catering at the Grand Hyatt Doha, says: “We tailor-make and personalize our wedding arrangements. We believe that each and every wedding needs a specific menu, arrangement, set-up and type of service.” No bride wants her wedding to seem like a copy of another’s, so flexibility is key.
The readiness to bend to a bride’s requests spans the gamut of services required to pull off a successful wedding. Hazem Farouk Mahmoud Mostafa, director of recreation at the Bodylines Fitness Centre, UAE, says: “Every bride has different requirements. One bride may want to lose weight, another to gain weight; some brides want to correct their posture… Our fitness experts conduct an assessment; then we customize our programs to fit into the bride’s lifestyle.
“Normally brides are very busy during the wedding preparation period. They want to do lots of things in a very limited time. So we take this into consideration and build programs to be able to deliver the best results based on realistic goals.”
If a company delivers, it stands to benefit immensely. In a region that values the institution of marriage so highly, wedding-related businesses have it easy finding customers to please, but the flip side is the difficulty in pleasing them. Standards are high, given the hopes and dreams, pride and prestige – along with large sums of cash (regional budgets average $50,000 a wedding) – riding on the day. Happy customers may be the best advertisers, but dissatisfied customers could ruin a company’s reputation. No bride wants their once-in-a-lifetime experience to be of the wrong kind
“Nothing is better than word of mouth. A successful wedding advertises itself,” says Mostafa. Rita Saadah, director of event management, JW Marriot, agrees: “Word of mouth is the key in this market. Service and attention to details are important to create and enhance reputation in the wedding segment.”