Driving Catering Revenue: An Opportunity of a Lifetime

Tara Lilly Photography

2022 is expected to be the biggest wedding year in history. The postponement of weddings over the last two years, combined with celebrations that had to be scaled down due to local Covid restrictions, has meant more opportunities for hotels to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.

While many weddings have already been booked, there is still an opportunity to increase revenue from this segment and, of course, to capture more wedding business in future years.

Is your hotel ready?

Here are seven tips to help you maximize wedding revenue opportunities:

  1. Extensive and emotive photography is vital for this audience. Photos need to show function rooms set up in a variety of formats (rounds, long banquet tables, a theater for ceremonies, etc.) with full floral design plans and color themes to illustrate the possibilities to prospective brides. Hire a professional photographer to shoot a model dressed in a beautiful couture wedding gown. Post photos on the hotel website with a separate wedding tab and develop a plan to add more images from real weddings once permission has been granted. By the way, printed versions of wedding brochures aren’t needed anymore.
  2. Review and update your wedding banquet menus utilizing current food trends, enticing descriptions, and competitive pricing. Engage a graphic designer to lay out the pages in an easy-to-read and captivating format that matches the hotel’s positioning. Ensure all menus and floor plans are printable as PDFs.
  3. Is it time to separate the sales duties from the servicing responsibilities within your catering team? Like the group sales department, where a salesperson turns over the account to the conference service department once the contract is signed, a catering salesperson sells the dream wedding and then turns it over to someone else to service the event. The result is a greater focus on finding those events that are the most lucrative and closing the business while the salesperson doesn’t get bogged down with servicing details. I worked with one hotel that did this, and within one year the hotel increased its wedding revenue by $1MM.
  4. Assign a room night goal to your catering salesperson. Why have two different people engaged with the same customer – one person handling the catering event and a second person coordinating the bedrooms? It ensures that all wedding components are offered and potentially drives more overall revenue.
  5. Other wedding-related events present an opportunity for hotels even if they aren’t hosting the main event. In the last few years, weddings have expanded to include an after-wedding brunch, a night-before family dinner, and a plethora of pre-event parties such as bachelor and bachelorette parties of wine tasting, destination weekend getaways, and spa days. These events can be a target market for city hotels or those hotels without the ideal wedding function room.
  6. Don’t forget to consider the first night or honeymoon guest room needs. Do you have a unique guestroom that can be enhanced to function as a honeymoon suite when needed? What amenities—breakfast in bed, champagne and strawberries, couples massage treatment—can you package together to make it a special night or result in a longer stay?
  7. Wedding sales require a lot of time and patience on the salesperson’s part. In these times of being short-staffed, do you have the ‘right’ salesperson and enough sales coverage to respond to all leads within 24 hours of receipt? Are they using their discretion to focus on the inquiries that will yield the highest total revenue for the hotel and move quickly to separate viable leads from the ‘lookie-loos’?

When was the last time someone took the time to look at the opportunities from this market?


Weddings are likely to represent a significant revenue opportunity for hotels around the world for the next few years. To ensure your hotels take advantage of this huge trend, implement the seven suggestions above. If you need help, consider engaging a mystery shopper to learn how the catering sales team is leveraging this amazing opportunity and, even better, an expert to help transition the team into more effective habits.


"Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them." – William Arthur Ward

Take the Next Step Now

Need help setting up your catering department to generate more revenue? Contact Jo-Anne at
[email protected].

About Jo-Anne Hill

Jo-Anne is an industry expert who founded JH Hospitality Consulting to help hotels around the world dramatically improve revenue and profitability in creative ways. Her strategic thinking, skill, and practical approach to problem-solving come from hands-on experience at companies such as The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, the Mandarin-Oriental Hotel Group, the Dorchester Collection, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts.

Jo-Anne’s recently published book ‘Cultivating Leadership: How great leaders make a difference, one hotel at a time” dives deeper into the equation: happy staff = happy guests = more revenue.

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