The 2021 wedding season is kicking off and could provide a honeymoon for the hospitality industry as the restrictions on the sizes of gatherings ease. Newly vaccinated couples are queueing up to walk down the aisle, and this stimulus for business brings pressure to deliver on long-deferred bridal dreams and champagne expectations, writes Robyn Christie, industry advisor and consultant to Agility Hospitality.

There is a celebratory atmosphere growing. With increasing numbers of people now being vaccinated, there is a hopeful sense that families and friends can gather to throw confetti without incurring quite as much risk as before.

Boutique wedding venues, hotels, caterers and honeymoon destinations are shaking off the 50-pax-plus limitations. With up to 250 people now allowed at indoor events, and a maximum of 500 outdoors, this is a chance for the industry to start making up for the lean times it has faced since the start of the pandemic.

After many long months spent at home, customers are looking for a new experience, better than before. To make the most of this vaccine honeymoon period, hospitality businesses will need to not only excel themselves when it comes to service and COVID-19 precautions, but they will have to deliver something magical – a hint of je ne sais quoi for their patrons.

Couples who have had plenty of time to plan their dream wedding during lockdown will be looking for rainbows. Expectations are high, and service will need to sparkle more than ever before. After all, by now we have had time to get things right.

The heat is on, and hospitality staff must be on top of their game. Fortunately, this is an industry that thrives under pressure and teamwork can achieve miracles – even unicorns when necessary – provided their health and wellbeing is properly supported.

This wedding season and beyond, protecting the health and wellbeing of valued staff will protect productivity and the ability to deliver on couples’ champagne wishes and bridal fantasies. As an absolute minimum, employers should inform their staff of the nearest vaccination centre. It will not be long before discerning customers insist on assurance that all the establishment’s staff have been vaccinated.

Businesses making use of the Agility Hospitality solution have access to a number of helpful resources to help their staff through this busy and potentially challenging time with specialised solutions that are affordable and have been designed to suit the needs of the sector. Comprehensive end-to-end employee health, risk and wellbeing benefits are tailormade to suit the needs and budget of each business. When staff in our industry have this level of support, they often dazzle in their performance, and investment in our people is more than repaid in the bottom line.

As bookings roll in for all the many and varied services accompanying the exchange of vows, and all the hard work towards setting the scene for glorious romantic weddings gets underway, retaining experienced staff is crucial to success. In the past, benefits such as retirement, life and disability cover were frequently reserved for high-earning staff only, but these are fast becoming part of the expected standard employment package.

Everyone loves a wedding, and with all the stress and longing of the past year and a half, let’s embrace life, love and make the most of every celebration and opportunity to make hay while the sun shines, as safely as possible.

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