Beware UK Hotel Packages which include the DJ

Some things Brides and DJs need to know about UK Hotel wedding packages.

In this economic climate I can understand why hotels are keen to offer “Wedding Package Deals” to their customers. It is a very competitive market and business is tough. Brides are conscious of keeping their budget under control and value for money is an important part of the process when hiring service providers.

However cutting costs too far can be a false economy especially when slashing budgets may well mean poor quality and indifferent service. Saving money on products can be a good idea especially if the consequence is negligible. Choosing a Chicken dinner instead of Beef or a less expensive Cava instead of Champagne will save money but will not detract from the overall enjoyment of the event.  Services however are a whole different ball game.

Cutting costs on services can seriously impact on the guest’s enjoyment. When a hotel claims they can provide certain services usually associated with other professions please be very careful for all may not be as it seems. The hotel “Wedding Planner” or “coordinator” may well believe that such services are a great reason for clients to take the package but in my experience, and many of my colleagues, what is provided is often below parr.  All too often they result in a bland, stereotypical production line wedding reception no different from the one the day before. Where is the personalisation, how unique will the service be and who is guaranteeing the enjoyment of the guests?

“Our Duty Manager as your Master of Ceremonies”

How experienced is this member of staff. Does the bride have the opportunity to see an example of his work. Very often the hotel won’t even know who this individual will be until nearer the date. Staff members come and go, and rotas are not prepared much more than a few days before an event. Do brides really want to take a gamble when it comes to being introduced into the room and announcements made for toasts and speeches. Is it acceptable for Mr and Mrs Jones to not be referred to by their first names and does the father of the bride wish to be called Jack instead of John or is he to be announced as Mr Smith?

You DJ is included in the price.

This is scary. How can a hotel use the same DJ day in day out and guarantee that their DJ can provide a unique, fun and memorable entertainment experience for everyone. Maybe they can. Maybe the DJ will agree to meet with the bride ahead of the date and will work with her to create something special. However I doubt it.

In my experience in the majority of instances the in-house DJ supplied by the hotel will not be available to meet with the bride. This DJ is probably, but not always, supplied by an agency or is part of a group of DJs who work for the Hotel. Remember this, the DJ is working for the Hotel and not for the bride. The hotel has its own criteria for using this type of DJ. Generally speaking a hotel is terrified of a failure for a DJ to turn up so they insist on using a DJ service that can cover sickness, accident and unexpected events at short notice. The hotels just want an average dependable DJ and surprisingly they expect to get such a DJ for very little money. Worse still, many hotels actually make money by offering this kind of package. You can be assured the DJ does not receive the fee mentioned in the advertising.

Who gave them the right?

A wedding reception is a once in a lifetime event. Two families are being united for the first time. Guests are travelling often many miles to share this special occasion. The wedding breakfast and the reception afterwards should be a reflection of the personalities of the bride and her bridegroom and families. Who gave the hotel the right to treat entertainment as a product like a cheap bottle of wine?

You don’t know what you don’t know.

If no one mentions the DIFFERENCE a QUALITY, EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL DJ or MC can make to a wedding then the bride will be left in the dark completely unaware that there is a better alternative. I heard the other day of a venue who wanted an independent DJ to be their wedding package DJ after he did a great job at the hotel’s Christmas part season. He was happy to oblige but was disappointed when the hotel only offered to pay him less than half his usual fee per wedding. It turned out that their usual wedding DJ was, in the words of the hotel, “crap” and they wouldn’t dream of using him for an event held in their name. Yet they are happy to have him “entertain” at a wedding reception!

Do you really want to end up with a MacWedding?

There is a better way. There are DJs & MCs out there who are specialists in wedding entertainment. They will want to meet brides and help plan the party. Many will have lots of ideas as to how to introduce special “Spotlight Moments” into the proceedings where all of the guests can be part of the celebration.  My advice is to seek these specialist wedding DJs out and do the research. Insist on meeting a “house” or “resident” DJ and ask them exactly how they intend to entertain your family and guests?

Level playing field.

Not all resident DJs are as previously described. There are some very good resident DJs who do offer a personalised service. They will meet with brides and they will work with them to help create something special and memorable. Sadly they are few and far between and are difficult to find. They will price their service according to the time taken to plan, prepare and customise their performance. They will not be cheap. They will represent good value for money and will be backed by testimonials from satisfied clients.

The same is true of venues. Some venues are very customer focused and appreciate the value of professional services. These venues will offer a choice of service provider and will encourage clients to meet and talk through with them their requirements. A venue which recommends clients select their service providers [all be it from a preferred list] and is prepared to work alongside them is a much better option in my opinion.

Why?

When a venue starts trying to tell brides they must have a particular DJ they need to ask  why. The venue will mention things like insurance, back up, reliability. These are red herrings. A good local Independent Wedding DJ or “Specialist Agent” can match all of these “reasons” and deliver much more. Think about this? Venues don’t say brides must use this Band for live music so why are they being allowed to say which DJ should be used?

Unfortunately there are more DJs out there than brides. Many DJ’s treat a wedding like any other party. In their eyes the reception is no different from a birthday party. They believe it’s all about the music and that whatever was played last night will be more or less the same tonight with one or two requests thrown in. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A wedding reception brings together people of all ages with a huge difference in musical taste. The specialist wedding DJ needs to cater for everyone in the room and focus on the bride and groom’s personal preferences in a way in which they are represented and presented to their guests. The specialist wedding DJ knows that the reception requires more than just great music to interact and entertain all of the guests.

It’s not WHAT a DJ does it’s HOW he does it which gets results.

How are a bride and groom going to be announced into the room?

How will the cake cutting be announced?

How will the first dance be staged, directed and produced?

How will the party finish, with a bang or a whimper?

What will the guests remember weeks, months and years after the event?

Is it worth the risk, the gamble, of hiring a cheap unknown DJ for the most important day of a bride’s life?

Please do the research, don’t accept anything a venue says without checking out the details and do please seek out a professional Wedding DJ and ask the right questions.

Beware of the phrase, “we always do it this way”

Save money

Engaging a DJ / MC directly can often save money too. Very few are VAT registered where as every venue will add VAT to the bill. The extra 20 percent could go a long way to helping make the day “perfect”

Congratulations, good luck and best wishes.

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4 Comments on “Beware UK Hotel Packages which include the DJ”

  1. Well written Derek we wish you every success. We in Eastbourne now have a ninety nine pound disco across the road from us but not all the brides are taken in we are glad to say? All the best John & Sue Music2Party

    • derekpen says:

      Thanks John & Sue
      Educating potential clients and offering choice has to be the way forward.
      Individual mobile DJs and wedding specialists are all different. We are not a commodity, like a tin of beans or a bottle of wine, to be treated as “all the same” by venues who are only interested in food and drink.
      Once again i admit “some venues” are fine and do have an open policy when it comes to DJ services – alas they are few and far between.

  2. I find this article offensive to those DJ’s out there who have worked hard to get regular slots in wedding packages. I personally have spent many years building my reputation as a mobile DJ and the hotel for which I now work recognised this fact and gave me the opportunity to become part of the their wedding package. This offers me a steady stream of work at marginally less price than if the clients booked direct with me. I attend every wedding fayre hosted by the hotel, the clients get my freephone beer and we call each and every client as soon as we get their booking.

    How can this article state that the client is being short changed by having a DJ included in their package.

    Not all mobile DJ’s are equal.

    • derekpen says:

      I don’t see why you should find this article offensive Mike.
      I do say that “Some” hotels and resident DJs do offer a professional service which includes consultations and delivering great value. You fall into this category so the criticism does not apply to you.

      Clients are most definitely being short changed if they are not allowed to meet their Dj or deviate from the MacWedding because “They always do things this way”.


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