by Loren G. Edelstein | November 01, 2016

Our November 2016 survey about "The Worst Attendees Ever" asked planners to vent about difficult "types" and the nature of the many complaints they hear on-site. Beyond the choices offered in the multiple-choice poll, many respondents chose to write in about some gripes we missed. 

Other attendee types:

• Anarchist: Gathers a group to go against the planned agenda

• In Your Face: Verbally abusive; threatens physical abuse

• Pants on Fire: Liar

• Motor Mouth: Never shuts up; always has an answer but on a different subject matter than that being discussed

• Penny Pincher: Everything is too expensive. Why is "x" not included in registration for free? The advance program did not mention this was a separate cost, so I am not prepared to pay for it now. You should have been more clear.

• Thin-Skin: Emotionally vulnerable; super sensitive

• Disappearing Act: Brings a "mystery date" and then spends all their time with them, bailing on official event functions

• Extreme Grouch: I put on sports events, and one person will not be happy with anything. The courts are dirty. The courts smell. The food isn't to his liking. There isn't enough space for him to sit. Blah blah. Another is the Toddler; he has temper tantrums when he doesn't win. And he's getting older, so he doesn't always win. I also have Freeloaders: They bring their kids/spouses and expect us to let them eat free, despite the fact that only one person had paid for food.

• Blowhard: Always wrong/incorrect on important issues; a person who hogs the conversation; a know-it-all with limited knowledge and facts

• The Drop-In: Doesn't RSVP and shows up

• Potty Mouth: F-word user!!!

• The Sleeper: Shows up late and/or dozes off in the meeting room

• Know It All -- certainly much more than me

• Militant Vegan

• Know-Nothing: "I did not read your email/website/notice/signage, but how was I supposed to know?!"

• My Rash? Your Fault: Food allergy person who doesn't fill out the pre-survey 

• Debbie Drowner: Intoxicated spouse who falls in the pool

• The Victim: The attendee who always thinks he's been "done wrong," but hasn't.

• Perfect Angels: I feel so fortunate that in the almost four years with my organization, I haven't had to deal with any of these troubles. We have the nicest members! The hotels tell us that, and our exhibit company tells us that about our member attendees as well as our exhibitors (smiley face).

What else do they complain about?

• Hotel/convention center staff; meeting sponsor staff; too much/too little trade show time

• Overcrowded meeting rooms

• Too much walking

• You don't have vegan food. I want vegan food. (One attendee is the only vegan there, and although we do have options, they're never satisfactory.)

• Bell staff

• There's always a handful who comment about the food, but when you have 500 rave about the food, saying it was above average or great, and 5-10 say something negative, you just have to be Teflon.

• No WiFi in meeting rooms. Meeting rooms are too far from sleeping rooms.

• Lack of WiFi in meeting space (when host doesn't want to pay for it)

• Shower is never perfect, always complains about the water pressure

• Dietary restrictions: "Nothing for me to eat" despite the fact we tell them time and time again to let us know if they need something else!

• People can and will complain about literally anything about, involved with, adjacent to, or technically not even related to the meeting. As frustrating as it can be, I try to take them all with good humor -- if they're valid complaints, I'm glad they gave me the opportunity to fix it. If they're not valid, well, they're giving me a great story for later and an opportunity to go above and beyond with my customer service. And in any case, it'll make me a better planner for next year as I remember the frustrations my attendees face (real or imaginary).