Who Has The Check?

In our industry it isn’t unusual for vendors and venues to offer us all kinds of free things as a way to familiarize ourselves with their products or services. We tend to be very careful about accepting those offers as we don’t want to become known as “those girls”. You know who I am talking about. They are the ones that only want the free stuff but actually have no intention of utilizing the services or products that have been offered.

So when an offer comes in for a free tasting, a free tour, free gift baskets etc. we evaluate what is being offered against our own services before deciding yes or no. We want to provide the very best to our clients and sometimes that means saying no to potential vendors that offer something that isn’t what the majority of our client’s are looking for. We understand how expensive marketing can be and we don’t think it is right to take a company’s “free offer” for something if we really don’t feel they have something of value for us to offer our clients.  

That being said, when we do say yes to an offer we have learned over time to clarify what exactly is being offered. For example, one time our entire event planning team had been wooed by a “not to be named” high end restaurant. They wanted us to come and experience their food and tour their restaurant to see the event space they had. We hemmed and hawed for several weeks and finally decided to add it to an already planned facility tour day.

One of the staff confirmed with the contact at the restaurant and off we went. When we arrived for lunch and gave them our name at the hostess counter (like we had been instructed) they looked at us funny which should have been our first clue that things were not as they seemed.

We were led to a cramped little table in a back corner. It wasn’t really the best showcase of their tables but the restaurant was about half full. We asked our waitress if they could let our contact know we were here. Again, we got a funny look from the waitress that we didn’t really pay attention to. Did we just miss clue number 2? A few moments go by and one of the catering sales people joins us but not our contact because they are out for the day. (What? Really?) Clue number three that things are not right. We are told by the catering sales rep to try a couple of the appetizers, which we did. We ordered a lovely full meal and even indulged in decadent desserts to round it all out. The final aha moment…

So, what to do when they bring you the bill for a meal you were told was going to be complimentary? We looked at each other, paid the bill, left the restaurant and frantically called our bookkeeper to explain the huge credit card charge that would be coming through unauthorized. The point is, enjoy the perks of being a planner when it matches what the services of your firm offer and be very sure that the offer is complimentary before you indulge and possible break the bank, or at the very least, the expense account.

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