De-graded Planners

Industry associations find bad apples in the bunch


If meeting planners were issued report cards on their behavior as attendees at meetings-industry events, too many would be sent to summer school. Indeed, organizers for major industry associations say that while most participants are respectful attendees, others are their worst nightmares. They’re particularly poor at heeding registration deadlines, sources note.
    Part of the problem: Savvy planners know that even after a deadline has passed to book within a hotel block, some rooms usually are still available, says Amy Ledoux, vice president of meetings and exhibitions for ASAE and The Center for Association Leadership, based in Washington, D.C. Thus, some presumptuous (and late-booking) individuals make an irritating habit of demanding leniency.
    “They have a little too much information,” Ledoux notes. “Just enough to be dangerous.”
    An executive at another industry association, who requested anonymity, said planners attending conventions will accept invitations for up to three simultaneous events and then choose which one to attend while on-site. 
    This lack of courtesy is regrettable, the executive notes, but is endemic of the entire “business casual” culture, not just the meetings industry. Her advice: “If planners want to be treated like professionals, they need to act like professionals.”
    However, another source says meeting planners have become, in general, much more professional on the job over the past five years. He’d even place them on the honor roll.