How European Destination Wedding Industry Is Rebuilding The Market After COVID-19

The Tuscan landscape in Val d’Elsa and Pienza, the breathtaking blue Mediterranean sea in Crete, Rhodes or Santorini in Greece, the stunning Adriatic views in Hvar or Zagreb in Croatia or the opulence in Antalya, Bodrum, or Fethiye in Turkey, Europe offers every kind of unique backdrop for a destination wedding. Europe, one of the go-to destinations for couples to tie the knot, is now one of the most affected areas from COVID-19. The journey of DWP Biz Edge Series continuous after an enlightening first episode by Colin Cowie to the second one which focused on the European market. We connected the wedding industry connoisseurs from the hospitality sector, tourism boards, and destination wedding planners across Europe to share some pearls of wisdom on how the wedding picture is going to look like post-COVID.




Hospitality Sector


Picture Courtesy: @mitsisalila


Elina Sdralli and Lefteris Tsoukalas from Mitsis Hotels, Greece shared what the hospitality sector in Greece especially the 4 and 5 stars hotels are doing to ensure a safe passage for events. Greece is well-known in media for fighting COVID-19 more effectively than other European countries. Here are some key points which Mitsis Group is implementing to ensure a smooth flow of events and weddings at the premises:

* Travel dates flexibility to guest

* Continuous communication with clients

* Integrated health and safety plan – proper social distancing

* Health and Safety supplies like gloves, mask, sanitizers will be in place

* Intensified hygiene on touchpoints, rooms, doorknobs, lift

* Food safety- 24 hours of lunch outlet for fewer guests at a time

* Social distancing at recreational areas- pools beach, sunbeds apart

* Faster check-in, checkouts

* Doctors on-call 24*7

* Crisis management plan if any positive cases are found

* On-going training for compliance staff. Use tech, train your staff, large premises ensure social distancing. All the industries should combine and work towards a common goal.

* A digital message displayed on the lobby, room TVs, and wherever possible reminding about safety and social distancing.



Tourism Boards


Picture Courtesy: @myswitzerland


Guendalina Ramzpazzi from Switzerland Tourism beautifully summed up, “Things are going to change soon. For now, think more local and domestic. Explore your own country for this summer. Rent mountain regions. Consider elopements that allow more social distancing. The Swiss government is doing everything they can to make sure it is safe and sound for weddings and events. The tourism board can help you provide information on vendors of the local region. We can give you more local contacts. Buyouts are also a wonderful option for couples to have a safer wedding.”


Picture Courtesy: @dwp_congress


“Work on flexibility, pricing policies, collaborating, large scale agreements with suppliers to suggest the best solutions. Support Operators to prepare for the new openings. The direction we give will be revolving around health and safety. Healthcare is free in Tuscany for citizens and residents. We provide training services, give instruments, webinars, communication pack. Operators to follow instructions and follow information from the regional bodies only. Focus on the regional market first. Be more coordinated than ever.” Adds Carlotta Ferrari from Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau, Italy



Picture Courtesy: @visitbarcelona


Mireia Tubau from Barcelona Turisme, Spain tells “There will be a new way of doing things post-COVID-19. Hygiene will be the most important thing. The public and private sectors have to work together. As tourism boards, we will give unbiased support to wedding planners. Understand the geographical market. Research about the impact and recovery plan of airlines as they are the ones that will bring the guests. We will assure confidence and give you relevant information on scenarios around the world about the cultural preferences of weddings from different countries to ensure the smooth execution of an event. ”





Picture Courtesy: @sjsevents


Sonal J Shah from Sonal J Shah Consultants, USA – “From the US, there’s still a huge draw to go to Europe for weddings. Book venues early ’cause there are only limited venues for accommodating large-scale weddings. There are only so many weekends and places in the world. There’s going to be a massive influx once this is over, and with everyone moving to 2021, it becomes more important to prebook to ensure you get your dream place at the desired time. We are still getting inquiries for Italy next year. The virus never killed love. Virtual tours and pictures of the property, 3D view of ballroom, meeting room, and conference rooms are becoming a trend and we should take advantage of it. We do live videos and stories to keep our clients engaged by sharing past stories and memories.”


Picture Courtesy: @muriel_saldalamacchia_planner


Muriel Saldalamacchia, The Internation Wedding Planner, France– “Don’t be shy. Pick up that phone and ask, ‘What can I do for you, what can you do for me?’ That should be the approach. Be flexible and support your clients as much as you can. Have a Plan B for clients in case the regulations and guidelines change. Show your socials. People have time to listen to your story now. The destination wedding industry will be highly dependent on airline companies, so we have to wait for the government’s advice from all over the world. It’s time to shine more than ever.”


Picture Courtesy: @matthew_oliver_weddings


Matthew Oliver, Matthew Oliver Weddings, UK emphasized on having a bigger venue for your wedding. It is a good idea for implementing social distancing at your wedding. We advise our couples to postpone weddings rather than canceling. People want to celebrate, people want to believe in love, so support and offer flexibility and do as much as you can for keeping the spirit alive. Do more social stories, live videos on Tiktok to engage with your clients. Show behind the brand stories. Our industry is small. Stay positive, keep talking, and support the industry. We all are #inittogether



Feature Image credit: @dgiouvris