When Working With Suppliers, I Wish…

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What I Know

“When working with suppliers, I wish they would not try to fit a square peg in a circle. Be upfront and honest about your product offerings and don’t try to make something work that clearly will not. It’s frustrating and would result in a disastrous program and bad PR for [the supplier]. I also wish they would be as responsive AFTER a contract has been signed. For example, I have a supplier who has basically been blowing me off for months when it comes to my commission payment. If a planner brings you business, treat them well.” —Andrea Cannistraci, president and founder of andgreat

“Be upfront and honest about your product offerings and don’t try to make something work that clearly will not.”

“I wish they could see the big picture and know that I have an interest in their success through the event.” —Dianne Devitt, founder of The DND Group Inc.

“I wish that both sides, planners and suppliers, would see the benefit of maintaining a mutually beneficial long-term business relationship. In this industry, there are peaks and valleys in the economic landscape that always affect the meetings and travel business. There will be times where it is a planner’s market and times when it is a supplier’s market. This pendulum swing in how a planner will source and negotiate a meeting compared to how a supplier will pursue and bid on a meeting can have long-term effects on the business relationship. Immediately following the economic crash in 2008/2009, a significant number of events across all industries were cancelled. This led to there being more venues looking for business than there was business to be had. Planners could essentially negotiate anything they wanted and for the meetings that did operate, the savings were abundant. Fast forward to present day, where it is more of a suppliers market and achieving those savings and concessions is infinitely more challenging. The problem lies in that the clients have an expectation of a meeting cost, based on their experience from meetings operated during the recession. In my opinion, that drastic shift can lead to a lose-lose situation. I wish that planners and suppliers were able to offer some consistency during these shifts in market advantage.” —Sabrina Colquitt, CMP, senior meeting & event planner at a large financial services firm

“I wish I could steal their knowledge. Suppliers have the luxury of seeing so many different types of meetings during the year and have access to first-hand experiences on the newest trends. I would love to have the access to see all of these trends and to see what worked to tie into my own meetings for the future.” —Kari Messenger, CMP, meetings manager, Association Management Center

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