This fourth installment of Meetings Horror Stories includes a scantily clad singer at a beach event, an inebriated tennis player and a planner that ended up in a Las Vegas police station.
1. Not a Day at the Beach
Jane Riesen, currently the group and incentive travel coordinator for Provident Travel, shared a story of when she was the planner for an insurance company’s incentive trip.
The trip was for owners and their spouses from the company’s top selling agencies—about 300 guests in all. The location was Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and the second night’s event was off-property at a beach, which I planned through a DMC.
When arriving earlier that evening to check on the setup, I walked down the path to the event but stopped dead in my tracks. The bar was set up at the base of the path facing the water so that everyone arriving looked directly into the back of the bar. Equally disturbing were the buffet tables skirted with mauve linens (picture a 1990 hotel ballroom), but the linens I had selected were bright, lively colors.
The worst was the singer for the beach band I hired was dressed completely inappropriately. Luckily, we had just enough time to move the bar, drape the buffet tables in white linens, and best of all, the singer exchanged clothes with one of the DMC staff!
2. Drunk and Disoriented Conduct
Bernie Weiss, a retired insurance meeting planner from Connecticut, remembers an attendee very well.
An attendee at an event I planned returned sweaty and inebriated from the tennis court to “his” room at the hotel. He complained frantically and loudly to the conference staff in the very ornate—and public—hotel lobby that all his belongings were missing.
Well, it ended up that “his” room was an empty, mistakenly unlocked room with a number that to him resembled that of the one he was occupying.
Hotel security escorted him to the correct room, exactly one floor above the scene of the “theft.”
[Read more horror stories: An Event Arrest, a Mad Magician and a Celebrity Mix-Up]
3. What Happens in Vegas…
A corporate meeting planner from Chicago shared theft—and jail—experience in Las Vegas.
I had a group at a large convention hotel in Las Vegas. We were a small group for Vegas, about 50 people, at this huge hotel. I had contracted for a locked storage room/office, but once I arrived onsite the hotel told me that no meeting space was confirmed and they had given away my locked storage room/office.
The hotel ended up giving me the airwall closet in my meeting space, and when I pointed out that it was not able to be locked, they kind of laughed and said that their security system and cameras were the best in Las Vegas, there were cameras everywhere, and that I wouldn’t need to lock anything up.
Most of my things were small electronics like a CD player that plugged into the soundboard for music, about 50 CDs, several jump drives, some first aid kits, extension cords and power strips, all contained in a large gray Rubbermaid tote box.
On the last day of the meeting, I walked into the meeting room and two in-house AV guys whom I had never seen before were seated at the tech area and they wouldn’t look at me. I went into the closet and all my stuff was gone. I told the AV guys and they kind of fake-incredulously said, “Really?! So are the confidence monitors!”
Security tried to blow it off, saying it was probably my own attendees who had stolen the items. I called my company’s legal department to ask for advice.
They told me to tell security to pull the security footage from their “best in Las Vegas security system and cameras.”
The director said that the system is confidential and they couldn’t do that. I replied, “When my company sues the hotel and we ask the hotel to submit the security camera coverage as part of the discovery process, we’re going to see what happened anyway.” (I had been coached by my legal department.)
Without batting an eye, the security director said something like, “Does $4,000 seem about right? Where do we send the check?”
As it turns out, what apparently happened was some hotel employees had loaded the two small-flat screen TVs being used as confidence monitors into my gray Rubbermaid bin, put it on an AV cart, covered it with some draping, and pushed it down the hall to the freight elevator, which led to the dock, and to where one of them had parked their car.
I had to go to the Las Vegas police station to get a report filed for my company’s insurance company. That in itself was a trip—you see a lot of different parts of humanity in the Las Vegas police station!
Read next: Fountain Frolickers, Bento Boxes Gone Bad and Tornado Terror
Do you have any meetings horror stories to share? Contact Kate Cripe. Your story could make it into a future issue of Meetings Today and/or be featured on the website.