This is one of the most honest (and perhaps controversial posts) that I’ve done, but its time to rip the band-aid off and start a dialogue.
Meeting and event planners can be TERRIBLE to work with. Planners, we’re not perfect, and sometimes our meeting planner bad habits can slow down the meetings process or prevent our partners from providing the best possible information needed for us to make educated decisions. Over the years, I’ve been incredibly guilty at some of the habits listed below, but I’m working on improving my partner communications.
Here are some of the worst meeting planner bad habits that I’ve seen over the years:
- Bad at updating and communicating changes – change is inevitable on our events and meetings, but often we can forget to update everyone that will be affected by the changes.
- How to fix: for each event, ensure you have a list of event stakeholders, and ensure those affected by the change are notified as soon as possible.
- Bad at providing timelines – similar to #1, we often fail to provide timelines to our partners which could affect any number of outcomes. Often we are not privy to the timelines ourselves, but then we should communicate that as well.
- How to fix – as soon as timelines are known, ensure all partners are aware as soon as possible. Check out my 2 Minute Tip Tuesday Video about this very topic.
- Fam whores – friends, we’ve all seen these individuals. There are event planners that attend familiarization trips with absolutely no business potential* for the destination. This is one of my biggest pet peeves; I’ve done a post about FAM etiquette that you can check out here.
- *Note – some meeting planners and site selection professionals may not have immediate business for a destination, but they see the trend to requiring a destination in the future. If you fall in this category, do some self-check about your potential for a destination; you’re the best judge of whether or not a fam trip is a good use of your time.
- How to fix – Meeting partners should ensure all potential FAM attendees have potential business and qualify the planners before approving their attendance, meeting partners can check my best practices for hosting a FAM here
- Demanding in short turnaround – yep, I’ve been here several times and I’m guilty as charged – demanding proposals, contracts and other documents from our partners with little notice. Sometimes this is unavoidable but still inconsiderate of our partners’ time.
- How to fix – if your timelines allow, give your partners more time to respond. If your timelines are unknown, see #2 and get clarity on timelines so the partners feel part of the process.
- Long decision making process – yep, been here too – where the end-user can’t make decisions and proposals start to age for several months. This again can be unfair to our partners as they are juggling multiple proposals over your dates. Partners want to be accommodating, but when decisions are not being made, it can be difficult for the partner to meet their goals as well.
- How to fix – as a planner, ensure you have clear timelines from your stakeholders. As a site selection professional, encourage and educate your clients on the advantages for having clear timelines (sometimes financial incentives💰 are in play if decisions are made in a timely manner)
- Vague lead – Some planners can “fish” for proposal information but their RFP can lack information that makes it difficult for the partner to provide an accurate proposal
- How to fix- try to provide as much information from the get-go; this will save you time and money in the long run. If you are unsure about your program; an RFI may be a better tool vs an RFP. Need more info about how an RFI works? Email us for details.
- RFP sent to too many properties – Planners, do we really need to send a lead for 10 guest rooms and a boardroom out to 25+ hotels? This is a massive waste of resources by our partners and can create decisions paralysis for your stakeholders.
- How to fix – limit the number of hotels for your leads and ensure hotels and destinations are included based on the goals and objectives of the program.
- Treating partners like crap – yikes, this one could create a lot of bad blood, but it happens way too often. Some planners consider themselves “above” their suppliers and partners, which creates a hierarchy for the meeting.
- How to fix – moving to a collaborative approach versus a hierarchy will help you achieve and exceed your goals and targets. We’re all in this together 😊
A final note about meeting planner bad habits, friends, don’t forget this is a small industry. People talk. If you’ve been guilty of these habits, own up to them and move towards creating better relationships with your partners. Each day is an opportunity to create better relationships and increase the quality of your meetings. This will be my goal moving forward; care to join me? (send me a “booyah” note, we can keep each other accountable🙂 )
RELATED – Attending a FAM Best Practices