Dispatch from the front line of the meetings industry:
Potential Client: “We have a great idea and need your help with making it happen”
Destination Management professional: “Great! Tell me more.”
Still Potential Client: “We’ll transport a group of 50 people from the venue to the hotel via local metro. Here’s the good part.. we’d like you to help us find a black guy, dressed poorly, to wander through the train car.. but, instead of asking for money, he’ll give wallets and prizes to people. Great, right!?”
Destination Management professional: “*stunned silence*” .. “(stammers) Wh.. what? You mean, maybe a magician.. like a professional performer who entertains the group with magic tricks. .. something unexpected and fun.. right? Because for a minute there, boy was I confused.”
no longer prospective client: “No. We want a homeless guy, not a performer.. and we want people to think he’ll ask them for money but, instead, he’ll give money. Get it?”
Destination Management professional: “I strongly advise you to re-think this and consider the shocking and horribly insensitive nature of what you’re proposing. In no way would we, or anybody we know, help you with this.”
One that got away? Or one that reinforces why this stuff.. all this discussion and focus and initiative for more socially responsible events matters now more than ever.
For those who feel that the meetings industry should focus on ‘green’ and get that right before confusing people with the complexities of social responsibility, I offer the above shocking actual conversation as example of the need for a meetings industry movement which includes training in social responsibility and in the organization of socially responsible events.
Please share your thoughts, even those that disagree with the above.