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Resorts policies on outside vendors / photogs *** VALUABLE INFO***


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#1 Matt Adcock

Matt Adcock
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    Posted 29 March 2007 - 06:29 PM

    Everybody should pay attention to this. As a mass, the world can and WILL impact the hotel policies on outside vendors...

    I'm new here and have spent a few days digging through this forum and found something that my good friend and neighbor Paul Schrank, of
    I'm an "outside vendor" in the Riviera Maya (video, not photo) and this can be an issue. Some resorts are really good about it and welcome us, others are not. One of the mega-chain AI resorts here charges what they call a "penalty" to bring in outside vendors. You must pay $300 to the photo shop to NOT use their services. Often times the photo shop is contracted to a third party and I imagine that's the case here. They've come up with a deal that insures they get paid for every wedding, regardless. Imagine trying to leave a store without buying something and being told you had to pay a penalty to take your business elsewhere.

    A colleague of mine just got an email from a previously mentioned AI. They demanded a $500 fee be paid for the right to shoot there,. This is a quote from their wedding coordinator's email "This amount should be paid cash to the weddings office the morning of the wedding." I'm surprised she didn't ask for it in a brown paper bag, it's pretty clear what's going on here.

    Buying a day pass is normal for anyone you invite in from outside the resort for your wedding. It's a nice gesture for your vendors as well. It allows us to move about, get food and drinks as needed, and not be questioned or hassled by the staff. The above mentioned fees are in addition to the day pass fees. Americans like myself can get by for a while saying we are friends/guests of the couple but eventually someone begins to recognize us as "outside vendors." This is what happened with the above mentioned colleague.

    I think this has been a closed monopoly for a long time. The concept of free market capitalism is relatively new and they don't know what to do, so they're fighting it. I've realized that it's a mistake to assume that the best quality/price wins. I've seen a resort photographer with a consumer grade, point and shoot camera. I've seen the resort videographers show up at the chapel in shorts and T-shirts with a five year old handheld video camera. It seems to be a gamble to rely on the resort services. I know that many wedding coordinators make more money from vendor commissions and mark-ups than they do with their salary or coordination fees. Many vendors know that by offering higher commissions they will get the work and coordinators will give you all sorts of reasons why you have to use a particular vendor, some are valid, but often it's the higher commission that they will receive from their "preferred" vendor.

    I know this sounds like sour grapes, it can be frustrating. The only way it will change, is if consumers demand a free market. It's a shame to say out loud, but don't assume that your happiness and satisfaction is paramount. The motives are often cash-related. There are many vendors and hotels/resorts here that are sincerely concerned about your happiness and satisfaction and who will insure that you get the finest quality service available. I don't want to burn bridges by omitting anyone from the good list or naming anyone on the bad list on a public forum.

    Julie (itsme7396) has posted here about her wedding. I worked at that wedding and everything was top-notch from start to finish. It was also well-timed and had a great cadence. I was surprised by the fact that both the photographer and I were hired for five hours and we got everything from Pre-Ceremony preparations to all the reception events and some of the general dancing. Normally at an AI a LOT of time is spent waiting or moving from place to place. With five hours of coverage, sacrifices have to be made or the coverage needs to be extended to get everything, this costs more money. It's also very hard to put a value on the frustration of waiting and conforming to the resort's schedule and logistics.

    At a smaller hotel or resort, you get more for your money from your vendors because your not paying them to wait, and you're more likely to get a well-timed event that keeps your guests happy and engaged. A well-timed event, where everything is within walking distance and no one gets bored or annoyed, is something that's hard to consider up-front, but will always end up being valuable in many ways. If you're already booked, or considering booking at an AI, you have a lot of clout to bargain with as the couple bringing them business. Tell them you'll be bringing in photographer(s) and/or videographer(s) as invited guests. Expect them to be treated as all your invited guests from outside the resort and don't tolerate any additional fees or penalties for choosing not to use their services. Nobody wants 40 American/Canadiens complaining on the internet, on message boards like this. You the consumer have a right to demand free market competition. They have the right to expect you to purchase a day pass for outside guests.


    Amen Paul.

    Please spread these words to anybody planning a wedding in the Riviera Maya or elsewhere when being confronted about outside vendors.

    cheers!

    matt

    #2 mexicobride

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      Posted 29 March 2007 - 08:14 PM

      Just to add:

      I am getting married at the Riu Palace Mexico on April 23. I hired Paul for my videography. I was told by the WC it was not a problem to have an outside videographer. So I paid my deposit to Paul. AFTER THAT, the WC told me I will also be charged $100 fee by the resort because it "causes problems" with their on-site regulars. (I am going to pay the fee because it means a lot to me to have Paul as our videographer. His work is amazing and I am really excited to have him capture our wedding!)

      I complained (via several emails) quite vigorously to the WC about the $100 "fee" policy and the fact that she didn't make it clear to me before I hired Paul. My complaints made no difference, probably because I was already committed to having my wedding there. These complaints need to come BEFORE BOOKING wedding/rooms at the resort. The only way it will change is if you threaten to take your business elsewhere. Of course, if I had known this before hand, I would have done it. But the way things work down there you don't have any contact with the WC until two months before the wedding. So I couldn't have any of my questions answered until after we and all our guests were already booked. It was only then I found out about the fee. Too late to do anything about it.

      On a side note: I AM using the resort photog, because I've seen his pics and I think they are wonderful, and because he charges a fraction of what I have seen from outside photogs. NOT because of the fee.

      #3 TammyB

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        Posted 30 March 2007 - 08:03 AM

        Gosh this is really sad that they are doing this. I'm having somewhat of a similar problem at the Sheraton in Cabo, After I booked our wedding their they are now telling me no salon outside service vendors are allowed since they opened their new salon. I'm pretty pissed about this because I had already set up a hair and makeup person to come to my room. This really makes it difficult for people wanting to get married at a specific resort if they have all these stupid rules, kindof makes wanting a DW not as much fun.

        #4 Matt Adcock

        Matt Adcock
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          Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:29 AM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by TAMMYM
          Gosh this is really sad that they are doing this. I'm having somewhat of a similar problem at the Sheraton in Cabo, After I booked our wedding their they are now telling me no salon outside service vendors are allowed since they opened their new salon. I'm pretty pissed about this because I had already set up a hair and makeup person to come to my room. This really makes it difficult for people wanting to get married at a specific resort if they have all these stupid rules, kindof makes wanting a DW not as much fun.
          I'm sorry they are making these changes on you too.

          When you look at the big picture, everything is going to work out..it always does. Your destination wedding will be a positive experience and the goal here is to use hotels that focus on a perfect experience. I don't want to organize a mob here against any specific resort, but I do want to raise awareness. Together as a voice, we can slowly impact their choices with this no outside vendor gestapo stuff.

          Awareness is the key. I think most of us have heard the words "the customer is always right" and I think this can apply...

          Specifically speaking of photography / video, Paul's words are right on:

          Tell them you'll be bringing in photographer(s) and/or videographer(s) as invited guests. Expect them to be treated as all your invited guests from outside the resort and don't tolerate any additional fees or penalties for choosing not to use their services. Nobody wants 40 American/Canadians complaining on the Internet, on message boards like this. You the consumer have a right to demand free market competition. They have the right to expect you to purchase a day pass for outside guests.

          Cheers & prepare to have the best destination wedding experience on the planet!

          Matt

          #5 lambert13

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            Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:40 AM

            Great advice Matt. When we booked with Dreams Tulum, I explicitly stated that I wanted an answer to whether or not we could have an outside photographer without paying a penalty or room fee. It turned out that they allow it and we do not have to pay any fees for a day pass or the 3 night room stay I have heard about with other places.

            Basically, I wanted everything in writing from Dreams before I committed to that resort. In our research for a resort I excluded some possible locations based on their unwillingness to budge on the outside vendor issue. I found it ridiculous to pay the resort money for a service they were not providing.

            #6 JaimeLynne

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              Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:47 AM

              Hmmm... I was planning on bringing in my Uncle who just happens to be a nationally known photographer to do my photos as well as a good friend who is an amazing makeup/hair artist to do that for me. These two people are obviously guests of mine as well and would be invited regardless. Do you think I'll have a problem with this...? I'm planning on having the wedding at one of the Iberostar Resorts.

              ~ Jaime & Martin ~
              "Rain or Swine! 2-0-0-9"

              We had 24 people attend our wedding in Las Caletas, Mexico on May 24th, 2009!

              We all stayed at The Marriott in P.V., and Honeymooned at The Royal Plantation in Ochos Rios, Jamaica!


              #7 MikkiStreak

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                Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:52 AM

                Jaime,
                I'm in the same boat--- A bunch of friends of mine from college are pro photos who plan on coming down and shooting the wedding for us. I'm getting married at Iberostar (Lindo). I had our TA tell the WC at Lindo up front that the bride is a photographer who will have photographer guests taking pics. The WC said they charge $300 for outside photographers, but I'll fight them tooth and nail on that one and get it in writing before we commit to a room block.

                #8 Elizabeth Medina

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                  Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:53 AM

                  Hi Matt, c³mo te va?

                  That was a great post, and really great information for couples to have BEFORE booking the resort, I think too many find out that bit of small print when it is too late to do much about it. I bet that those policies would change quickly if the resorts realize that freedom to choose a photographer is a big factor in choosing a wedding site for many couples.

                  best,

                  Elizabeth

                  #9 Matt Adcock

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                    Posted 30 March 2007 - 11:49 AM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by JaimeLynne
                    Hmmm... I was planning on bringing in my Uncle who just happens to be a nationally known photographer to do my photos as well as a good friend who is an amazing makeup/hair artist to do that for me. These two people are obviously guests of mine as well and would be invited regardless. Do you think I'll have a problem with this...? I'm planning on having the wedding at one of the Iberostar Resorts.
                    This is a perfect example of how insane the rules actually are...

                    if you told them My uncle is coming to photograph my wedding. Seriously, do you think they will lift a finger and say anything? not a chance.

                    you will be fine!


                    Elizabeth, HOLA Amiga, I hope things are going well for you... Glad you like the advice here.. Keep in mind that my friend Paul had the wherewith all to compose it... he is a smart dude! I hope to see you soon!

                    Cheers!
                    matt

                    #10 Chicago80

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                      Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:30 PM

                      Matt thanks for the info.. I'm getting ready to book my resort in the next couple of days. I will now make sure to get an answer on the photography issue before I commit and get it in writting!




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