I recently had the opportunity to attend an industry event, in fact
I attend quite a few. This event was for a hotel group that has about
15 upscale properties and was hosted at one of Chicago’s great
nightclubs. Now, I am familiar with this hotel group, we use a number
of their properties on a kind-of regular basis and I have sited just
about all of them. Great places………..every last one of them. This event
was not so great.
We were excited to attend the event
because this hotel group had a property that we were interested in for
a client event and one of our planners really wanted to take 5 minutes
and chat with someone. Nothing in depth, just a “hey, what are your
We walked in up the stairs and into the
club. Nothing. Not one booth, table or even sign stating that the hotel
group was hosting the event. No reps, no announcements, no nothin.
food was awful and the servers were clueless. The question to the
server was “oh, what is this”. Answer (And I really am not kidding)
“Chicken” (and the conversation ended there). No napkin to go with the
“chicken” either. This may have been funny on any other day, but the
person I was with was allergic to nuts. Before I digress………
evening was progressing (Awesome bartenders pouring great drinks and
one of the best local cover bands in Chicago) and I expected to hear an
announcement about the hotel group, new plans, new properties
We left shaking our heads. We never
spoke to anyone from the properties. Had I simply been invited to a
party, COOL….. I like parties, I really like parties. But this was not
just a party, I was invited to an industry event where I wanted to
learn about the host, meet a rep or two. I was totally willing to be
“sold”. This was a complete waste of money (not mine, they even covered
the valet parking).
What were they thinking; it goes directly to one point...... HAVE BETTER EVENTS. This was not a
matter of budget; they threw big cash at this event and spared no
expense on the drinks, venue and “chicken”.
They had an
opportunity to grab me, teach me and basically have me ready to sign a
contract over a cocktail (remember, we were there to specifically ask a
question or two about a particular hotel) and they blew it. Think
before you do this type of thing, being swanky and cool is OK, but be
swanky and cool while pitching your product. You invited me, you are buying, I expect the pitch.
With just the money they spent on the décor, they could have done a few
simple things. Even if they were going for the club feel and wanted to
do nothing more than entertain as a thank you, a slide show of
properties on the wall would have been great, could have even been hip.
Literature could have been placed around the room. Reps could have been
the greeters welcoming me to the event and handing me a business card.
Here are a couple of simple suggestions for how the night could have gone.
--Arrive – greeted at the door by one of the reps who welcomes me and gives me a card.
--Rep directs me as to where to go or introduces me to the rep from the property I wanted to discuss.
--Party and network while a slideshow is showing some of the great properties they have. --Booths (manned or unmanned) around the perimeter with literature and business cards.
--At some point get up on stage and talk about the properties (2 Minutes)
--While on stage introduce the reps so we can all put a face to the name and introduce ourselves later (Another 1 minute)
--Go back to partying and networking and talking to colleagues about the images of the properties being shown on the wall
--Leave feeling like we just had a great time hosted by a company that we want to do business with
came because I like your properties or want to learn more about them
and I am open and ready for the sales pitch. Close the deal! If I want
to simply go to a club, I can do that any night of the week, I live in