Weddingz.in, an online wedding venue discovery and booking platform in India, is finally regaining its foothold after being massively hit by the pandemic. During these unprecedented times, the platform focused on developing its technology stack, accelerated digital venue onboarding, and shifted its efforts to urge venues to follow COVID protocols in order to revive the industry faster. In an interview with Gadgets 360, Shekhar Datta, COO of Weddingz said that the traffic on the platform is back to its pre-pandemic peak, and is even ‘more on some days'.
Over the past year, Weddingz.in has invested in building its technology stack to enable consumers plan their wedding from their homes. This includes offering users a virtual tour of the venue, pinning WZ Safe banners on venues that adhere to COVID protocols, and adding other ancillary services like booking a decorator and a photographer for the event. The virtual tour enabled users to narrow down venues they like. While videos and photos of the venue are available on the platform, there is also the option of seeing it live through a video call. For banquet and wedding venue owners, the company introduced the MyWzVenue app and WzPrime platform to manage events data, get performance reports, customer reviews, and manage occupancy as well.
Talking about recovering from the pandemic, Datta says, “The traffic on the site is pretty much pre-pandemic levels now. There are times and on peak days, the traffic is even more, and interest in the category has rebounded majorly in the last one to two months. Just before Diwali this year, the traffic started peaking.”
This has been possible, Datta says, due to Weddingz.in's conscious investment in tech. “How do you identify the need of the customer based on browsing behaviour, browsing pattern, and match that to the venue because that is the key to conversion. Our investment in tech has already proved to be a success and we've seen a lot of improvement in that aspect.” The company looks to further invest in scaling its current offerings like WzPrime subscription to enable venue partners gain more out of the platform.
Weddingz.in claims that about 70 percent of the venues and banquet halls in the country are listed on the platform. Datta says that the customer traffic on the platform goes in millions on a monthly basis. It helps small venue owners, especially those placed in remote areas, generate demand online. Weddingz.in even offers a subscription model for these venue owners that guarantee certain amount of leads in a quarter. WzPrime subscription is offered in over 40 cities in India, and venue listings on the platform span across 70 to 80 cities in India.
Ever since its inception in 2014, Weddingz.in has had its ups and downs due to the environment globally. However, it remains a profitable business and has grown to offer multiple products now. “What was a single venue booking app in the beginning, the platform is now reaching a far higher set of customers. It is now 5x or 6x of its earlier pre-COVID peak. The traffic on the platform is also organic and marketing spend is only on specific campaigns”, Dutta explains.
In the past year, Datta says that customers in India have had to call fewer people at their wedding to adhere to norms, but spending hasn't necessarily reduced so much. Judging by customer behaviour on Weddingz.in, he adds that people are shifting to intimate weddings at the moment due to norms and is not a personal choice. “Big weddings are here to stay and will always be there. Intimate weddings are a response to a situation and that will wither away once things settle down.”
Currently, the biggest markets for Weddingz.in are Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, and Kolkata. Even Lucknow, Patna, and Jaipur are fairly big markets for the online portal. Weddingz.in's technology stack has helped small businesses recover faster from the pandemic. Datta says that the company is looking to become a full-fledged wedding planning platform with larger number of venues, and other ancillary services to become a one-stop shop solution for weddings and related events.
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