3 Telltale Signs You’re Working with a Bad Meeting Planner (You Really Only Need 1)

We’ve all experienced at least one at some point in our careers. Bad meeting planners. I’ve worked with a few meeting planners over the years that I have to say weren’t what you’d call overly qualified for their position. And I can even remember evaluating whether or not the piece of business was going to be worth putting up with the working conditions. Mind you, I think I went for the business in most of those cases.

Truth be told, in hindsight I wished I hadn’t.

You Just Might Be Working with a Bad Meeting Planner If:

  1. The budget is not disclosed. This one is a very common one. Basically if you’re going to work in tandem with a service provider it’s recommended that everything be up front. And that includes disclosing a budget. Now I’m not saying that it has to be down to the penny. But I always try to express that unless I am given a budget range I really have no idea what types of venues/services to propose. I know that many of these planners think that if they disclose the budget then lo and behold the final figure always comes in at that amount. That’s why I’m a proponent of item line costing. I want my potential client, the meeting planner, to understand what makes up the overall cost of a particular function. Then it’s easy to work with the planner, honing in on where savings can occur or what other items can be added if the budget permits. I guess it boils down to trust. My advice, if you don’t trust your supplier then simply do not work with him or her.
  2. Organizational skills leave a lot to be desired. I’ve worked with meeting planners who were not prepared for site visits, didn’t make decisions by the deadline dates (i.e. food selections for the caterer, or whether or not we’re going to use a particular venue by the cutoff date, etc.). Then those same planners would jump down my throat when deadlines were missed and spaces were released because we failed to provide deposits by the due dates. No matter your experience, it’s always recommended to use a checklist. A meeting or event involves decision-making and deciphering a lot of information.
  3. Everything is always last minute. Now don’t get me wrong, I do realize that there are a lot of last minute decisions, unexpected issues etc., that arise with any meeting or event. That is just the nature of the business. However that coupled with some meeting planners inability to make decisions in a timely manner can be a recipe for disaster. I’ve been on many site visits where the meeting planner was busy texting, e-mailing and making phone calls phone when they should have been using that time to evaluate and make decisions about whether or not the venue would fit their group.

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At the end of the day we all make mistakes and meeting planners are no exception. The less than stellar meeting planners often keep their information very close to their chests. I have tried, ever so discreetly, to suggest to these particular meeting planners what might work better to accommodate the situation. However with these personality types quite often these suggestions fell on deaf ears. Oh well lesson learned and perhaps next time I may just not take that piece of business unless I’m confident that it can be executed successfully. Customer service is a two-way street. Yes it’s vital that our guests, delegates etc., are treated with the utmost respect and provided excellent service. However, the same holds true for all of the team members, suppliers etc. The successful execution of a meeting or event is definitely a coordinated team effort. And if you so happen to be one of those planners reading this post, maybe there is hope.

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