In the past two to three weeks I’ve heard the following from planners:
- The sales manager out-and-out lied to a colleague about XYZ.
- The sales manager at two of the three venues a colleague contacted about a conference didn’t even get back to them.
- Another planner was misled about the bandwidth required for Wi-Fi and other technology requirements.
- Registrants were told by the reservations department that the block was either full or the deadline had passed – neither of which were true.
And here’s one my husband and I witnessed at a large neighbourhood restaurant. We went in for dinner and the front of the restaurant was full. The hostess didn’t check in the back. We were told there were no tables. The back of this restaurant has floor to ceiling windows. We wandered around the back and lo and behold, there were lots of empty seats! She just couldn’t be bothered! That’s about $75.00 out of the gross revenue for that restaurant and a nice tip to our serving staff.
What’s going on out there? Is there an epidemic of ‘not bothering’? Or is there a lack of training? Whatever it is, it has to stop! Business is being lost; successful partnerships are not being created. There is more frustration on-site than there has to be because not all the details are considered ahead of time.
Let’s look at the lack of bandwidth for a moment. In today’s meetings’ world, this is crucial, especially with more meetings/conferences being streamed to the rest of the world and the proliferation of tablets, smartphones and Twitter – all of which demand lots of bandwidth. Definitely a planner needs to understand all this to a certain degree. And isn’t that why there are specialists? Shouldn’t one of those specialists be a member of the venue team?
For example, the on-site technician says yes we can do everything you ask for – and can prove it the day before – and charge accordingly. However, on-site it doesn’t work, the systems crash and the streaming is awkward. As a planner, I know a lot of ‘stuff’, but I don’t pretend to know all of what’s needed for all my technical needs. That’s why I bring in my audio visual company early. They talk the same language as the venue’s technology team. They can get to the nitty gritty much better than I can. So, let’s say these early discussions are with a planner and the on-site technical team. Not all is revealed perhaps because the planner doesn’t understand everything – I know I don’t. And something goes wrong during the event.
More confusion, more blame, more cost. And the real losers: the event participants.
We can take this with any of the scenarios I mentioned above. Planners are excellent at knowing what they need from a venue with respect to food and beverage, space, etc. But if the venue doesn’t respond, that’s lost business and more work for the planner. Here’s my take: Unless this is the perfect space for the event, why risk things going wrong on-site when the initial partnering can’t get responses required? Move on – this won’t be a good partnership.
As for that restaurant: because they have such an awesome outdoor patio, we will go back, assuming the weather gets better! It’s about being that perfect space. However, we have told others…