The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover is a relevant quote for describing the life of event planners. It’s easy to think about our lives as a life of luxury when we get to “plan parties for a living”, and you see us posting photos in amazing places with fancy food and drinks. What you most often don’t see are the sacrifices that come with being in those locations enjoying the food and drinks.
In the last month Julia has been on the road and posting photos of those things – amazing places and delicious food and drinks. In January she was in Banff. February you would have seen us posting photos of her at an industry event in Ottawa where she was spoiled with gifts, and delicious food experiences. Followed by palm trees and luxury hotels on the tropical island of Puerto Rico just days later.
What you didn’t see us posting were the photos of her rolling out of bed at 3:45am to catch a flight, her napping on the flight trying to catch a few minutes, her sitting in a hotel lobby with her laptop trying to respond to a few emails or her on a call with a team member helping them problem solve a client issue.
What you may not also realize is that although these industry events and these trips are free for Julia to attend, she is giving up her personal time and time she should be in the office, to create connections and research locations in anticipation of clients needing those specific services or locations for their event. These are most often not connections or locations for a current client we are being paid for, this is in anticipation of what might come through the door. The cost of doing business or going above and beyond to best serve our clients when the time comes?
Travel is stressful
Did you know that Julia is an introvert? Very much an introvert in fact. Attending these events, even in tropical locations, is very mentally draining for her. And for someone who is hyper aware of her mental health, Julia is very in tune with how this work and travel affects her body and her mind.
How stressful can walking through fancy hotels be? You’re right, it’s not, when you are on holiday. But when you are working it is no different than a real estate agent walking through a house in preparation of listing it – looking at all features the house offers, doing calculations in their head, taking notes and thinking about which current or future clients it would be perfect for.
As we walk through these beautiful locations we’re doing the same thing – looking at room sizes, asking questions about audio-visual options, checking the number of bathroom stalls, making sure the spaces are accessible, talking about food selection and making sure allergies can be addressed appropriately. And we’re not just doing one venue per day, we’re being bused around the city looking at multiple in a day. We are up early and run late into the evening, to make sure we get the opportunity to see all there is to see. Remember, for the companies that treat people like us to these trips, this is an expensive sales investment for them. They are flying 10-20 people in from all over the world, they are paying for hotel stays, food, gifts and entertainment. Like us, all in the hopes that they might find the perfect client for their location.
If you are a current client of ours, did you know that we are thinking and talking about you all the time when we are on these trips or at these events. And usually, we’re not just talking about the current event we’re planning for you. We are anticipating what is coming up, we’re thinking about what your needs are and will be. We’re doing all the pre-work and not getting paid for it. When you call us to rebook we already have ideas for the perfect location.
Over the last month Julia has missed family dinners, dog walks, her mental health morning routine and is sleeping uncomfortably on a plane to make sure that we are ready to serve you when it’s time.
Our job is fun, one of the most fun out there. But it doesn’t come without a sacrifice. Although that sacrifice may seem luxurious and worth it, it may not be what it seems to outsiders.