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| Written by Staci Simmons

Above & Beyond – Stories from Frontline Event Staff

The only thing you can plan for is change. If something can happen at an event—it will. Our experts took some time to share some of their most interesting and outrageous stories from the frontline. From mother-nature to man-made, these onsite challenges allowed our team to stretch their problem-solving muscles to save the situation from escalating, ensuring the event went as smoothly as possible.

Here are their stories:

Flood of Problems

In Barcelona for a meeting, at the end of our last day, after the meeting was done and departures had concluded, our team ventured outside to reflect on the success of the event. Moments later, we received a call from the manager on duty to let us know that there was an incident in one of our attendee’s guestroom. He explained when housekeeping entered the room, it was flooded with at least two inches of water. The description was vivid… from the foul smell to pieces of food floating in the water. Our first concern was our attendee and we were relieved to learn she was at the entire meeting and safely on her travels home. Initially, the hotel threatened to charge for damages. However, after a little digging, they realized they had shut off the water the night before and into the morning. Naturally, the attendee must have turned on and checked every faucet that morning to get ready and accidentally left them on. She went to the meeting, checked out of the hotel and departed home. However, during the day the water had come back on—flooding the entire guestroom. The hotel had not announced there would be a shut-off, so the guest was not charged for damages.

Do Not Disturb

At one of our conferences taking place at large convention center in a downtown area, our staff went to set up the registration table the second day and noticed what appeared to be a “homeless” gentleman sleeping under the skirted table. It totally caught us off guard as we were not expecting an “uninvited visitor” and especially not under the hospitality desk. He woke up, we politely told him we were setting up for a conference and he left.

Didn’t Miss a Beat

The meeting was at the Renaissance Orlando Sea World and it was the last day of the conference. We had an awesome closing keynote speaker who is a former Surgeon General. The board and co-chairs were very excited to hear him speak. About halfway through his presentation, the city of Orlando had a brown out. The hotel had no power at all and all the lights and audio shut down in the general session. Of course, the attendees were a bit alarmed completely in the dark. We propped the doors open quickly to get some light in from the atrium and grabbed flashlights. The speaker was so fantastic – he didn’t miss a beat! He walked off of the stage, into the audience, and just kept going speaking – no microphone, nothing. It actually made his presentation better because it felt more intimate than just him flipping through a power point and being on a stage. He received a well-deserved standing ovation!

Of Course, We Can

One year, for a reoccurring event, an attendee asked for a specific room during the online registration process, describing the room in vivid detail. Shortly after they registered, they emailed us to follow up with the request with an attached photo of the hotel, with an arrow pointing to the specific room, on a specific side of the hotel, overlooking the pool. While the client’s room block was not in that area, we did work with the hotel to put the attendee near their requested room. Since we worked with this hotel annually, they were willing to work with us to accommodate the request.

Morning Person

We were managing a program for a group that was known to have a good time and indulge. The second night of the event after our dinner event had ended, we got everyone back to the hotel and we made my way to our rooms. Our staff got a call about 2 a.m. from the hotel staff saying we needed to come to the hotel lobby immediately. Our hotel contact showed us to the bathroom where our main client was completely passed out. We quietly woke her up and took her safely to her room. The next morning, we were scheduled to meet first thing to review the daily tasks and get started – sure enough our client was there at 6 a.m. and ready to go!

$10,000 Well Spent

We once had a client request to take down a gigantic chandelier because she didn’t like how it looked in the general session. She was willing to pay the $10,000 to have it removed and then re-installed after the event. As for the chandelier, the hotel took it down only for the client to realize she didn’t like how it looked without it either—so their maintenance staff put it back up.

Needy Friends

We had an attendee once request a treadmill and 8-pound weights to be put in her sleeping room for a National Sales Meeting. Oddly enough, this wasn’t even a VIP Request – she was someone who was sharing a room with another person at the meeting.

It’s the Bridge’s Fault

A few years ago, we were standing outside an event venue waiting for the Board of Directors. Someone called me in a panic to let me know the CEO was upset that they were late for breakfast. They told the CEO the bridge was up and the mini coach was waiting for it to go down. Clearly annoyed, he told her to call us to “get that fixed.” Literally, as she finished asking us to “get the bridge down” the lights started blaring and the bridge slowly started to recede. The timing could not have been better. As a solution, we quickly had breakfast moved to the meeting room so they could eat and meet. Problem solved!

Snow in San Antonio

One December, we were onsite in San Antonio, Texas for a routine dinner meeting. As we all know, Texas is located in southern Texas and the temperatures usually range from hot to hotter. This particular night happened to be the first snowfall for the first time in about 20 years. Oddly enough, the hotel’s heat wasn’t working (probably because they haven’t had to turn it on in years), but we had a great idea—to pass out hotel blankets from housekeeping and serve hot cocoa and coffee during dinner. The participants and clients were impressed. Most attendees loved the fact most of them traveled from up north to warmer weather, only to find snow! An evening that could have turned out to be a disaster, ended up being a fun memorable moment for staff and customers, alike.

Every event is an adventure. Our expert team of event managers, coordinators, and onsite team members know how to diligently and professionally manage problems as they arise.

To learn more about event management visit www.meetings-incentives.com or call 1+ 262.835.3553 to speak to one of our pros.