At the recent APMP Bid & Proposal Con 2013 we co-hosted, along with SAVO, an “invitation only” reception. The event we planned was fairly straight forward and should have been very easy to arrange. It wasn’t. Fortunately, the many challenges we faced led to our having an event that far exceeded our expectations and confirmed my belief that challenging situations often lead to good things.
Carol immediately obtained the name of the person responsible for such events at the hotel and attempted to contact that individual, sending e-mail and phoning. For several days she received no reply, despite sending additional e-mails and phoning again. Over the next two weeks, Carol persisted in trying to reach this person, only to be put off each time. Ultimately, when we arrived at the hotel on the Monday before the start of the conference, Carol had only had the briefest of conversations with this person and had no information from her. To say Carol was stressed about this is way beyond an understatement. Trying to be supportive, I told her I was confident it would all work out.
We arrived at the hotel Monday evening and Carol met with this on Tuesday morning. This individual was very nice and polite, and apologized for the difficulty in contacting her. She presented a package for Carol’s consideration but what she was able to offer in the way of venue, food and beverage within our budget was completely unacceptable and extremely over-priced. After some discussion, she told Carol she would “see what she could do.”
On Wednesday morning, the day of the event, this individual told Carol the best she could do was to offer a 10% discount “because you’re with APMP”. Carol and I spoke and we agreed that what was being offered was still not close to what we expected and way over-priced, even with the 10% discount. Despite there now being very little time before the event at this point, I suggested Carol check into some of the restaurants nearby and see if they could do something for us.
As Carol was leaving the hotel to check out the restaurants, she encountered the manager of the individual from the hotel with whom she had been trying to work. She explained her dissatisfaction with what was being offered and the pricing. When she told him she was going to check into the local restaurants He insisted he could come up with something that would meet our needs, within our budget, and said he’d have something for her when she came back. She said she was willing to listen but was still going to check out the restaurants nearby. One such restaurant was the Hard Rock Café, immediately across the street from the hotel.
When she came back the manager apologized but said there was nothing he could do and that the package was the best that the hotel could offer and that the price was firm.
With less than two hours to go Carol came to me and explained the situation. She said she had checked out three restaurants, with the Hard Rock being her first choice. Being a big fan of music and of rock and roll in particular, it was my first choice as well. The person Carol met with at the Hard Rock, Mike, had told her to check back in 30 minutes and he would let her know what could be done.
I told Carol to pursue the Hard Rock option. Obviously stressed by all this, Carol went back to the Hard Rock with me assuring her once again it would all work out.
She came back grinning and excited. The Hard Rock told her they had a private room, with a private entrance, normally used by celebrities for major events such as CD release parties. When they told her what the room normally cost to rent her jaw dropped. It was fully four times our budget, for just the room! They told Carol that since the room wasn’t booked for the evening and as it was so last minute, they could work with her. They had put together a package that was just slightly over our budget. This was for a private room, with a private entrance, drinks at reasonable prices and a great selection of food. Carol checked with our friends at SAVO as to whether they were okay with going slightly over budget. They gave their approval and so did I.
In the end, despite all the challenges associated with dealing with the hotel and the stress it caused, we ended up in an amazing venue with a cool vibe, great food and a DJ. Our guests were duly impressed and, as we had to all but push people out the door when it was time to leave, they seemed to have a very good time.
As has often been my experience as a proposal manager, it often happens that when things go wrong, usually things eventually work out… and quite often for the better.