Meeting planning is exciting and fraught with details, ideas and moments of amazement. It is a craft reliant on a series of experienced professionals all bringing their A-game, combined with weather, and anything else that may come up to surprise us along the way…
If things don’t go exactly as planned…when “fault” is found, it is important to understand whose perspective is critical to the overall success of an event – is it a key stakeholder(s) or is it the guests? If the guests are either not impacted, or are positively impacted by a change in plans, an unexpected diversion or a shift, then it becomes about the attitude, the perspective brought and the ability to adapt to what is happening that will bring the magic. No matter how much we plan or design, it is ultimately about how a group of human beings execute on the plan and manage the shifts… then your masterpiece comes alive.
Small examples of this may be when a detour has to be made due to road construction, managing lost or late luggage, ensuring dietary restrictions are known and responded to, and choosing suppliers with excellent safety practices and a proven ability to respond to shifts (this of course comes only with experience and is when choosing an excellent DMC becomes absolutely critical).
A recent example included a road closure due to a mudslide – in the middle of the afternoon, leaving approximately 60% of the group at the hotel getting ready for the gala and awards evening, and the other 40% unable to reach the hotel for what was at the beginning of the process an undetermined amount of time. Due to information gathering and quick thinking, the team decided to send the “stuck” 40% back to a nearby hotel and to go ahead with the gala dinner but to hold the awards until they knew more. In the end, the gala dinner went ahead, with the balance of the group arriving around 10pm. At that time, they were able to enjoy cocktails and a late dinner that the hotel made for them. In fact, this group even decided that they needed “We survived the mudslide” t-shirts to commemorate the event. Once this group knew what to expect, they took the delay in stride, especially with the warm welcome received on their return. The hosts decided to hand out the awards the next morning at the business session, a move that was so successful, they determined this is how they will move forward in future years! The key here was keeping everyone informed, updated and in the loop with any changes.
Stay tuned to future blog posts for more stories of successful plans executed when we least expected it!