In the Field – with Evelyne Gaudin – Part I: The Romance Market – Getting it right for the “once in a lifetime” event…

Since 1989, Evelyne Gaudin has been impassioned with the travel industry – working in every aspect of the industry – in airlines, hotels, F&B, TO and advisory roles, with a passion to “always deliver the best experience”. In this feature, she unveils the secrets to successful planning in the Romance Market.

Having dealt with the romance market for the past 25 years, I have found it to be highly resilient against economic downturns and political turmoil. Historically speaking, whether the economy is good or bad, or there is social unrest, the only market that is able to survive is the romance market. Within this sector, we have “destination weddings”: a fairly new market that didn’t exist 25 years ago. Most of the growth in this category has taken place in the past five to ten years. But the Honeymoon market and the wedding anniversary market have always existed.

When you get the wedding and honeymoon

Every single hotel I deal with around the world has made an effort to develop destination weddings, underlining the importance of this market as a valuable extension of the group travel sector.

All hotels in major wedding and honeymoon resort destinations should offer on their websites a special note about weddings. We are seeing this more and more, – proving that this market is here to stay. It’s a fashion, which, while it started in the US market, is extending to other markets around the world such as Europe and Asia. There are many reasons for this. Rather than doing a wedding for several hundred people in the city where they live, people prefer to go to an exotic, romantic destination, and invite fifty or a hundred people.

Tour operators will generally not be involved, because the specialized travel advisor will personally take charge of all the elements, even to the point of working with the florist, the celebrant, the photographer and the video cameraman; all the important elements of a destination wedding.

All in all, it can be very stressful for the travel advisor, but also rewarding, because it’s a once in a lifetime event. There are so many details involved – and I find it’s a great challenge, because you have to plan the perfection of the couple’s dream. When you get the wedding and honeymoon right, you can be sure the couple will come back to you to plan their anniversary travel! My motto is “making a dream come to life”.