Wedding Venues Facing Staff Problems
Wedding venues all over the country are advertising for wedding coordinators over and over again.
I believe this is down to 5 issues within the industry, each of which is relatively easy to fix
The average wage for an entry level position in the industry is £16,000 – £18,000. At some wedding venues, the value of weddings on the books for any given year is over £1m. This doesn’t add up with the salary on offer! One venue that I have seen advertising recently is asking for a minimum of 5 years experience for a salary of £22,000. In what other industry does five years experience equate to over £5,000 less than the average yearly salary (*) for full time employees in the UK? Another highly reverred wedding venue in the local area to me is offering this amazing position for the high wage of “up to £8.50 per hour”. It’s not good enough!
Wedding venues need to offer a salary that means staff will stay for longer than a year. The cost of recruitment, training and loss of sales would mean that the venue has already made up the increase. For stability, wedding venues should offer an irresistible package upon hiring the coordinator. This should then improve and continue throughout the tenure to encourage stability in the team.
Outdated and unatainable, bonus structures frustrate wedding coordinators. For every booking over and above a management target, a fee is payable. Taking into account taxes and sharing throughout the team, the money received is barely noticeable. In fact, one of my bonuses was SO unreachable it became a joke because it involved an overseas trip and the number 200! And that is in the wedding venues that actually have a bonus structure in place – many don’t.
If staff have rewards on the horizon from the get go, they will consistently achieve for their employer. Give them an extra holiday. A voucher. but do it as a thanks for hard work. Not as a “well done” for hitting a goal. Reward them for the love and thank them for doing well.
Wedding venues aren’t able to train their staff cohesively because the likelihood of that staff member staying with the company for a long time is low, so it’s a never ending cycle! And sometimes, in hotels especially, those managing the staff have no wedding experience so how can they train? And there is usually only one person in the venue doing that job, so will have left when the new person starts. How many managers have actually a) done the job and b) taken a keen interest in the ever changing world of weddings? Not that many.
Get a professional in. For what it costs, the return will be huge when the staff stay for longer and maximise revenue for the company. Create a blueprint, meaning training for all new staff members will be consistent.
Badly paid and untrained, these roles also lack progression. Staff members don’t hang around for that to change. For many, it is their first foray into the world of hotel or wedding venue sales, and they have no idea the potential roles that could open up to them.
A staff increase follows success. Reward a job well done by making positions for staff to progress to, be it head of department, sales manager, revenue manager – the possibilities could be endless. Invest in the team and they will stay with the company. Act like no one cares and they will go somewhere that does.
99% of wedding venues aren’t advertising for the right type of candidate. Interestingly, at random last night, I read ten adverts for wedding coordinators based at venues across the country.
Not one advert mentioned the word sales. And as this is a sales based role, it would be natural to assume that someone might have thought that to get the right person in the job they should be decent at sales? “Maximise revnue” and “increase bookings” are favourite terms to use. The wrong advertising coupled with the wrong salary equals absolutely the wrong candidate.
Hiring people who “want to be a wedding planner (**)” will never end well. Customer contact is their main focus, handing out champagne and fluffing veils. But they definitely don’t want to be in operations and have to work all those unsociable hours. What’s this? A chase list? What do you mean, a CRM? The horror!
Go out, and source the best sales person out there. Knowledge of the industry can be learnt. But how to sell ice to eskimos? That’s a very special skill.
I would love to know your thoughts – share share share!
(*)According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2017
(**)Wedding planners don’t do this either and are much more logistical, but the “dream job” of being a wedding planner has manifested itself in the public consciousness as this person thanks to bridal magazines and films starring Jennifer Lopez