This post actually has very little to do with jerk chicken, though I did want everyone to know how much I really love jerk chicken. This trip to Jamaica wasn’t for pleasure or with a group. It was for CMITE, a Caribbean meeting of venues, DMC’s and, of course, buyers like me. I don’t think you can put a price on spending four days with your competitors. Once everyone puts their guard down and their swimming suits on it actually becomes productive.
What I Learned
The average company has many options in regards to events and incentives. There is the hotel acquisition company who hands you a block of rooms and wishes you good luck. This one really scares me.
There is the freelance TD that will work any program anywhere with a smile. I have to question how much commitment these people have to a client’s success. After all, there’s a very good chance that this is a one night stand kind of relationship. I mean they were fun when we were younger, but I’m not betting the farm on this type of relationship.
There are of course the veterans of the industry. That guy who knows everyone that walks through the door. He knows everyone because he’s worked with them at one of his many agencies.
Then there’s us–a small group of (as the big boys call us) “boutique” agencies. We are the group huddled on the shady side of the pool watching the “shrimp eaters” talk about their next big deal. There is certainly a place for those other guys. No one can deny that. Someone has to service the Microsofts and Fords of the world.
Why We’re Ok With That
We like our clients. We like our relationships. We like that we grow as our clients grow and hope that our clients remember that. We need to be on the ground when our clients take their best people on an incentive trip. Who prescreens rooms if you bought them from a mammoth company who isn’t even on site? We do that. We check minibars, hair dryers, lights and even flush the toilet before our clients hit the ground. We’ve checked the menu at every restaurant on a property to make sure it’s up to par. It’s the little things.
Keep in mind that when I say “we” I mean the “boutique” agency. We still care. We care about your success and ability to not worry about a thing. It’s what we do.
So, here’s hoping that there are still some clients out there with their eye on successful programs as well as their budget. I raise a glass to long-term relationships, quality of service, personal touch and successful programs.