Like most event industry professionals, I accept my fair share of hosted-buyer invitations. I arrive at each program anticipating a day or two spent happily learning, exploring and networking.
Instead, I leave feeling both satisfaction and frustration.
Satisfaction, because I typically depart with some useful information and a few “keeper” business cards.
Frustration, because I’ve sat through yet another round of tedious, old-fashioned sales presentations.
I’m frustrated because many people are selling at me, rather than listening to me. I’m frustrated when yet another salesperson sails right into PowerPoint. Next a map is pushed in front of me, or a glossy brochure. Speaking fast, the seller proclaims the particular destination’s excellence, offers to call me soon, and hands over trinkets and business card.
The big problem with this approach is that it doesn’t usually work. It tells rather than asks. This declaratory approach skips over the reasons I’ll choose one destination over the other. Those reasons stem – always – from the unique needs of the event itself. How do we want to engage attendees? What aspects of the destination’s history and culture will inspire? What mix of activities, entertainment and interactions will motivate? How will this destination encourage collaboration?
If you don’t know why we’re meeting, how can you assure me you’re the right place to meet?
Memo to my friends in Destination Marketing: Ask me about the events I’m planning before you propose your destination. That way we’ll both be more satisfied.