The bus was 3 hours late.
I knew this was not a good way to start a retreat….50 entrepreneurs hanging around the airport with nothing but time to kill. Then lunch showed up and it was wrong too.
Now there are 50 hungry people waiting for a bus for a 3+ hour bus ride to the event location.
It didn’t bode well for the event creators.
The attendees were adaptable, but still many were making mental notes already. You could see it in their faces and you could hear the grumblings if you paid close enough attention.
A pit stop at a truck stop to get water, run to the bathroom and pick up snacks was a must since the promise of food and wine on the trip was apparently not happening.
We’re tired, hungry and it’s late when we finally arrive. Instead of feeding us right away since it was after 9pm, they shuttle us to our rooms and then off to a meeting room for a welcome ceremony.
The looks on everyone’s faces spoke volumes. We’re tired and we want to eat. WTF!
Once more, everyone pulls up their boot straps, gets through the welcome ceremony and ritual and they finally feed us. Pizza!
While, pizza was well and good for a few, most of the attendees were gluten free and dairy free, so this was one more frustration added to the list of a frustrating day.
This was not a fictional event. This was real. It was an event that I attended and did not produce. This was the first 6 hours of the event and the following 3 days only got worse.
As an event producer, I could tell the event creators were not only unprepared, but they did not have an expert on the team to help them prevent frustration and angst right from the beginning.
When plans go awry, you must have backup plans and you must take good care of your attendees. Every moment of your event is part of the experience that they will take away and remember forever.
Make that experience amazing and one they will look fondly back on.