While the country is tied up with the NCAA March Madness, we wanted to explore a little madness of our own. Welcome to the March Meeting Planning Madness Tournament, where planners express what absolutely drives them mad by voting in several rounds. During Rounds One and Two over 2,700 votes have been cast by meeting planners. And if you haven’t been participating, there is still time for you to weigh in during the final tournament rounds.
The Final “Maddening” Four Showdown
So what do planners find most maddening? Our field began with the 16 “Not So Sweet” things that drive planners mad, which were divided in four areas or regions defined as Region 1: On the Job, Region 2: Salespeople, Region 3: Who to Trust and Region 4: The Find. Here is a complete roundup of the competition.
Region 1: On the Job
At the completion of Round Two competition, the most maddening thing that comes with the job clearly has to do with those “Stakeholders Who Think They’re Planners.” In Round One, these planner stakeholders captured two-thirds of votes against “Being Called a Party-Planner.” Maybe this indicates how far we have come with the professionalism of the planners’ role with Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designations, thanks to the Convention Industry Council (CIC) and the advanced education found through Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).
Other aspects of the job in earlier Round One competition indicate planners find “Not Getting Paid Enough” dominate over “Extensive Travel Demands” (80% versus 20% of the votes) which is consistent with my thinking…who gets paid enough? But in Round Two, those stakeholder planners were the most irritating compared to the compensation issues (72% versus 28% of the votes) sending the message that perhaps future education sessions should focus on “5 Tips for Getting Those Stakeholders Out of Your Way.”
Region 2: Salespeople
When it came to working with salespeople, there were very close matches throughout Round One and Two. In Round One competition, “eMails, eMails and More eMails” just edged out “Uninformed Salespeople” (53% versus 47% of the votes) and “Cold Calls” beat the “Sellers Market” (57% versus 43% of the votes) as more maddening. But at the
completion of Round Two, “Cold Calls” entered the Final “Maddening” Four with 60% of the vote. Take note salespeople….its going to be a chilly reception if you don’t figure out how to create a relationship first! But how do you create a relationship if you can’t call and qualify you ask? It’s official, gone are the days when you can expect planners to sit down with each and every one of you to tell you about their meeting. You’re going to have to figure out how to be more resourceful!
Region 3: Who to Trust
I’m sure it perplexing to planners…why any hotel or CVB would want to switch contacts on you just when you were starting to trust this person? In Round One, “Now Who’s My Contact” clobbered “Walking My VIPs” (67% versus 33% of the votes). In a separate match, “Surprises, Surprises, Surprises” outscored “Meeting Room Changes” by 18% of the votes. However, after two rounds of competition, “Now Who’s My Contact” just edged out the more general issue of “Surprises, Surprises, Surprises” (52% versus 48% of the votes). But it makes sense, because surprises are always bound to happen, but what could be more maddening than a switch-a-roo of the exact person who is going to help you through those surprises?
Region 4: The Find
We know from previous research, one of the biggest challenges planners face is finding the right hotel or venue for their meeting. It’s not only time consuming, but often complicated by issues outside of the meeting planner’s control. In Round One match ups “Inadequate Response to my RFP” was more maddening than “Champagne Tastes on a Beer Budget” (54% versus 46% of the votes) and “Waiting on Others to Make Decisions” was a clear winner over “Enough Space for My Ugly Baby Meeting” (66% versus 34% of the votes) perhaps indicating that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it came to Round Two, “Waiting on Others to Make a Decision” cruises to a victory over “Inadequate Response to My RFP” (75% versus 25% of the votes) which may have surprised many of us who have been focused on improving the whole RFP process.
The Final “Maddening” Four
Voting is now open for Round Three where planners will decide which (2) most maddening issues will go head to head in the Championship Round. The match ups have been established. Vote Now.