October is the spookiest time of the year, where ghosts and ghouls can roam freely among us. It’s the perfect time to visit a haunted house or haunted corn maze to scare the socks off your friends. However, for meeting planners, every day is the scariest day of the year because of the vast amount of stress placed on them to do their job.
In light of Halloween, I’ve put together a list of the spookiest situations meeting planners encounter. Some of these are straight out of a Stephen King novel, so read at your own risk.
1. Lost WiFi connection
In today’s mobile-first, digital world, nothing is worse than not having WiFi — especially at a conference. At a business conference, a good chunk of the attendees use their laptops to take notes, keep in touch with colleagues back at the office and even get a little work done. Not having WiFi could be detrimental to them and their experience. Plus what’s scarier than having two thousand angry attendees all demanding you fix the WiFi, apocalypse-style?
2. Run out of food
Have you ever heard of being ‘hangry’? It’s when you’re so hungry, you become hangry. Personally, I can be pretty scary when I’m hangry. Now imagine an entire conference full of hangry attendees. Sounds like a total nightmare, right?
Perhaps one of the spookiest situations meeting planners can run into at an event is not having enough food for attendees. I recently attended a conference where this happened to me. I picked up my lunch and brought it with me to my lunch and learn session. I was about three bites into my sandwich when — GASP — I noticed it was mouldy. By time I made my way back down to the lunch area to pick up something different, all the food was gone. To say I was hangry would be an understatement.
3. Last minute venue/room changes
Almost all meeting planners have had this spooky situation happen to them before. For whatever reason, a room or venue needs to be changed extremely last minute and it’s up to them to communicate this change to hundreds of attendees. Maybe the original venue was haunted? Or something more practical, like it flooded. Whatever the reason, you need to set up a brand new room on the fly all while making sure attendees and speakers know about it.
Something this spooky isn’t for the faint of heart; it takes extremely calm, cool and collected meeting planners to pull this off. To help overcome the fear of this happening, use an event app as a security blanket. Meeting planners can quickly push out a notification to all attendees in real-time letting them know the room/venue has been changed.
4. Speaker is missing in action
What’s scarier than vampires, witches and ghouls? A speaker not showing up to their session at a conference. It’s difficult for meeting planners to stay on top of a multi-track schedule even when it goes off without a hitch. Now imagine a speaker doesn’t show up, and you have a room full of attendees waiting expectantly. The longer attendees wait, the angrier they get and that means a meeting planner has to deal with the fallout.
While extremely scary, this situation is very real. A speaker’s flight could be delayed (or even cancelled) coming from another event, causing them to miss your event. It’s a good idea to have a few stand-in speakers that can quickly host a session in the event another speaker doesn’t make it.
5. Attendee’s don’t show up
We’ve all had that nightmare in high school. The one where you host a party, only to find no one shows up to it. Flash forward 10 years, you’re hosting a conference and the attendees don’t show up. This is quite possibly the spookiest situation yet.
There have been cases where extreme weather has essentially shut down an entire city. If attendees are physically unable to get to your event due to weather, or any other extreme unforeseen circumstances, you could be faced with this nightmare. Imagine all that planning and prepping going to waste because nobody can make it to an event. It gives me chills just thinking about it.
Now that you’re sufficiently freaked out, you may want to sleep with the light on tonight. What are some other spooky situations meeting planners have to deal with? Let me know in the comments section below, or tweet us @QuickMobile. I’m looking forward to hearing your meeting planner ghost stories!