In Their Words: Planners Talk About Alcohol and Attendees
by Loren G. EdelsteinApril 1, 2012
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Many planners agree that alcohol at events poses some concerns, as attendees often tend to overindulge (see this month's News Research, "Alcohol on the Agenda").
Among the 149 meeting professionals who responded to the poll, many also shared verbatim their experiences and tactics for keeping consumption under control:
• "We have considered stopping serving alcohol at all events."
• "Sixteen years ago, I had a problem with a man who mixed prescription drugs with alcohol; my participants walked him back to his nearby hotel. Another time, five years ago, we cut off someone and then provided counseling for her."
• "Bartenders are instructed to be wary of anyone consuming too much booze and are advised to contact us if they have a problem drinker."
• "We had an intoxicated attendee act inappropriately to meeting staff."
• "I have had to have hotel security intervene to keep attendees safe."
• "We don't serve any alcohol at our meetings."
• "We always provide a safe ride home, or the event has been held with overnight accommodations."
• "Had an issue with the event's entertainment being extremely intoxicated."
• "Have had attendees not show up for the next day's events after a long night."
• "Escorted an attendee to hotel room."
• "Closed the bar early."
• "Some attendees were overly friendly to staff; our vice president stepped in and handled the situation."
• "Often, attendees have been over-served, and it's not the impression you want at a business meeting."
• "We assist with escorting attendees back to their rooms sometimes because they are intoxicated."
• "We do not always restrict or limit alcohol at events. Most attendees drink in moderation."
• "We make sure food is available."
• "Alcohol is available before, during and after dinner, with the service monitored very carefully."
• "If complimentary drinks are provided, they are limited to two. Then attendees are on their own to purchase drinks. We have found that the majority of people will stop at two, either because they don't want to pay or two is enough."
• "Depends on the client, but we always try to serve nonalcoholic drinks when serving alcohol. We also offer coffee."
• "We partly host beer and wine, then switch to a cash bar."
• "One large meeting of ours serves no alcohol. All others use drink tickets or cash bar only."
• "At all events where alcohol is served, we provide transportation for our guests."
• "When drink tickets are issued, people just give their tickets to the people drinking."
• "Bar staff is specifically instructed not to serve anyone who appears to have overindulged, and management staff is to be notified if there is a ruckus."
• "This is one more media-driven problem that does not really exist at meetings."