It’s that time of year again…
…AND I’m not referring to Christmas or whatever other festival you may celebrate around this time. Frequently referred to as ‘the silly season’, this year seemed sillier than ever. It’s the time when suppliers dust off age-old mailing lists and decide to tell the world that they have amazing, unbelievable, never-to-be-repeated (except they are, fairly frequently!) offers which are available exclusively - to the recipient of their unwanted and often downright annoying emails or even text messages.
I have suddenly heard from suppliers I have never used before, nor am I likely to, and not only do they thank me for my previous business (which never happened) but they infer that they are fully aware that my clients will need their services in the future. In their dreams!
Hotels and destinations seem to make up the majority of these unwanted communications but they are doing themselves a disservice. Not only do I have a very effective spam filter on my laptop but my ISP also filters out the most blatant rubbish before it even reaches me (I know this because I check this spam filter too). Once on one of these spam databases suppliers’ communications will not reach me and so, even if they suddenly start doing something that may be useful to me or my clients, they are shut out.
That this traffic has increased this year is, I think, reflective of the way the meetings and incentives industries are heading, or to be more precise, the way many of the on-line event management software producers would like us to go. It doesn’t impress me nor does it impress many of my industry colleagues who also resent having their time taken up by dealing with unsolicited communications.
That many incentive companies and meetings/ event managers now rely upon recommendations not from professional colleagues but from event management software companies is not doing our industry any good. It’s not what our clients are paying for… unless yours happens to be one of the ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ companies which are now evident in the marketplace. Low margins (and I mean very low margins) mean that revenue has to come either from illegal hidden commissions or by taking on a large number of client projects at once with the inevitable result that service - real service - suffers.
With the advent of AirBNB and hotel consolidation web sites everyone thinks they can be an incentive practitioner or conference organiser. The reality is, as we all know, that it takes a lot more than buying cheap hotel rooms or airfares to make an event the success our clients demand.