• Lauralee Shapiro

Arrrrg! There Are Pirates Out There…..


Arrrrg! There Are Pirates Out There…..

This is geared towards anyone who plans an event that has contracted hotel rooms and exhibitors.  Beware….there are pirates out there!

These “pirates” have one goal and one goal only. To steal away your exhibitors (and sometimes attendees) from your official, contracted hotel room block(s).  How do they do this?  There are many ways thanks to technology and the internet but here are two of the most common.

* If your show has listed who your exhibitors are / were, it’s not hard to do some research online and find a contact.

* They will sometimes attend your show in one city, if open to the public, and gather business cards from the exhibitors, and then solicit them for future years.

So why should the conference planner care if this happens? First and foremost, you may be placed in an attrition situation with your contracted hotel(s) because you did not pick up your full contracted block.  These Pirates can also affect you indirectly, through your attendees’ experience with said Pirates.  Here are just a few things that can happen to your guest:

* They give credit card info over the phone, thinking it is a legit company and they have their identity stolen

* They are booked at an “official” convention hotel, but upon check in, there is no reservation, because it never existed…..but their credit card was charged

* They are actually booked at another hotel and the guest is not told until it is too late and the fees charged are non-refundable.  The fees are collected by the Pirate, not the hotel, so again, guest is out money but with this scenario, they have a room.

In every one of these examples, you can be sure the attendee / exhibitor will come to YOU to complain.

So, as the event organizer, what can you do? There are a couple of things I can suggest. First and foremost (sorry….here is a shameless plug for me…..) you can have a professional like ME work with you from the start.  There are steps that can be taken from the get go to lessen the likelihood of Pirates interfering. I already have a list of many of these known Pirates. Secondly, have a very strongly worded message at the top of your hotel booking page of the event website explaining to your attendees and exhibitors that ALL reservations MUST be made through the official convention housing.  Last suggestion is to have a cease & desist letter already drafted to send to these Pirates when it happens. Know ahead of time what the legal course of action will be so you are prepared and can put a stop to their practices right away.

However you chose to book your events, just be forewarned, there are Pirates out there and they are not going away.

#CMP #GaMPI #Conventions #GOAMPI #education #pcma #Meetings #eventprofs #Conferences #Hotels

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