Planners Share Their Meeting Planning Disasters

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Meeting planners: Know you are not alone!

I reached out to meeting planners regarding some of their recent meeting planning disasters or mistakes they’ve made.

I know, because I’m a meeting planner: It’s reassuring to realize I’m not alone regarding the mistakes I’ve made or the stressful situations I’ve dealt with. So I asked our Meeting Planner Advisory Board to share some of their most recent meeting planning disasters with you.

“I was with our group attending lunch at a restaurant on the other side of a huge gaming resort when I received a call from my helper (who was watching the meeting space but had taken a bathroom break). ‘Things are completely out of control here, they are moving out all the furniture!” By the time she returned, the sofas had already been carried out, and the tablecloths and florals were in the process of being removed. The hotel had listed the incorrect time for the decor company to break down, as we still had an afternoon of meetings!”

“This just happened last week: Client is ‘Jane,’ supplier is ‘Jane.’ You can guess what happened next: I sent an email to CLIENT intended to supplier with client’s feedback….Yikes!”

“I repeatedly upload the wrong receipt to a line item in our accounting system and it shuts down my company card every time!”

“Our meeting in Las Vegas took place just as they had their first snowstorm in a decade. The National Weather Service reported 0.8 inches at McCarran International Airport; it never even stuck to the asphalt on the Strip, but it threw attendees’ travel into complete disarray on arrival day.”

“My company has been planning breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings for a pharma company. One of my reps requested a lunch meeting that normally would have been a dinner (we have been doing these the same way for years). The day of the meeting, she called me around 10:30 a.m. asking if I was coming and I said, ‘Yes, see you at 5 p.m.’—except that it stared at noon! Thank God I had a great relationship with this client! I had to shower and drive to Philadelphia mid-day, but they started 30 minutes late and I made it!”

Have your own stories to share? Email me at [email protected]

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.