Last week, an article on Yahoo News sparked a firestorm among the Meetings Community listserv (MeCo). The article, “Great Careers with Long Vacations,” describes the job of a convention and tourism planner as “an extended tour in paradise” with “off hours and long weekends” near luxurious accommodations in resorts and spas, where compensation time may be used for “swimming and tanning.” The only downside, the author pointed out, is that it would sometimes be a “juggling act.”
The response from real hotel managers and convention planners on MeCo was intense. Planners chimed in with tales of uncomfortably cold site visits in Minnesota during the winter, being told they had to flush several hundred toilets in a new hotel to ensure water pressure would be sufficient for the 400 guests arriving in less than six hours, and working months without a break or being able to go home to be with family members.
Several MeCo members wrote letters of complaint to the author, Gabby Hyman. “I have been with Hilton Hotels for 10 years, working with meeting planners of every kind,” wrote Timothy Arnold, director of sales, Worldwide Accounts – Hilton Hotels. “While the vast majority love their job, I have yet to meet one that would consider their profession glamorous in any way. … When I have been on-site with these planners, they are up at 5:00 a.m., down in the meeting room three levels underground and rarely go to bed before midnight. They never leave the hotel, and attend to everybody’s needs before their own. … I have had to remind [some planners] to eat lunch. … I have yet to find one planner who takes even half their vacation.”
Why do you think people consider meeting and event planning glamorous? What have been some of your least luxurious on-the-job moments? Let us know by commenting below.