Friday, February 5, 2016

Lessons in Event Management: When Conference Attendees Drop

Event Management Mishaps

What to do when a client can not meet number of attendees at a conference as contracted:

First, I would contact my reservations and front desks departments; I would want to ensure that the drop of attendees was of no negligence of our own.  Upon contacting these departments, I would request all documentation regarding this event.  If at this point I find that the appointed delegate for the U.S. Actuaries Association Conference is at fault due to neglecting to maintain continuous contact in regards to the attendance drop, I would then contact them via e-mail notifying them of the contract stipulations, and the upcoming invoice I will be sending; this document will include original contracts, budgets, and attendance requirements:
Our establishment agreed to accommodate 2,000 attendees for a 1 day event, 2 luncheons, breakfast, and breaks.  At the time of the event only 1,500 attendees were present and the luncheon on Wednesday dropped to 1,280 attendees.  The food budget I previously sent to you stated that you (U.S. Actuaries Association Conference) are liable for the difference between the minimum food amount and the actual amount multiplied by 30%. 
DATE
AGREED BUDGET (2000 ATTENDEES)
ACTUAL AMOUNT
AMOUNT DUE
TUESDAY LUNCH
$86,000
$64,500
$6,450
TUESDAY BREAK
$66,000
$49,500
$4,950
WENSDAY BRK.
$64,000
$48,000
$4,800
WENSDAY LUNCH
$84,000
$53,760
$9,072
BALANCE
$300,000
$215,760
$25,272

Our establishment allows a slippage up to 20 percent (%20) without penalty, and since your associations actual slippage is equal to 25 percent (%25) of expected attendance you are responsible for the amount due equal to $25,272; this amount will be added to the master account.  (If the master account has been satisfied before this billing invoice a 10 percent (%10) discount will be applied to the remaining balance, and the association will then be responsible for the balance of $22,744.80)
After gathering all information needed, and sending available information to the association, I would then return to my own staff.  At this point, I would incorporate a meeting to discuss communication between our staff and potential prospects.  Focusing on communication, and how it is not only the responsibility of the organization to keep in contact with us, but we also have to maintain contact with them.  This situation may have been avoided if our staff had taken the extra initiative to reach out to our clients to ensure all documentation needed is accounted for, going over the budgets, and any increase or decrease of attendees or services.  Stating that this establishment is a team and in order to maintain success and longevity it is crucial to work together and maintain open communication throughout all departments.  During this meeting I would also provide paperwork detailing proper communication between departments, guests, event planners, and potential guests; this reading would be mandatory and discussed during the meeting, and ending with the signature of all employees ensuring their understanding of presented procedures and protocols.
 In regards to the AV equipment, I will first contact the meeting delegate to apologize, once again, for the inconvenience.  I would then review the budget, and reduce the agreed upon amount by 40 percent (40%), and offer complimentary services for future references (an upgraded room, complimentary lunch or dinner, or a free stay for the meeting delegates).  I would also speak with my AV technicians.  There needs to be an open line of communication to ensure that all services provided are in proper working order, and there is someone that can maintain the equipment in the case of a malfunction.  Disciplinary action towards the head of the AV department may also be needed.  They are to ensure they submit an acceptable schedule, and ensure that all employees under them adhere by the provided schedule.  At the time there seems to be no one available, it is upon the AV technician department manager to become available. 

 

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