After all that planning and double checking registrations, you are at your meeting and a VP just came up to tell you that he just met Bob at the bar and can’t place him in the company. As you glance over, you realize why. It’s because Bob is a meeting crasher. Heck, he’s even gotten a hold of those official drink vouchers you created.
Maybe it’s because us Mainers feel like we know all our neighbors. Maybe it’s because there just aren’t that many of us in a big state. Maye it’s because at the Meadowmere, we like to keep our meeting service personal and focused. Whatever the reason, meeting crashing thankfully is not too much of a concern when planning an event in Ogunquit Maine at our hotel. However, a whole movie was made about wedding crashing, so event crashing can happen and when it does, the experience is frustrating for you as an event planner.
Just how do the ‘Bobs’ of the world get in anyway? Often enough, event venues are so large that they have multiple companies floating between meeting spaces, multiple entrances into those meeting spaces and well, just too many activities going on at once.
It is easier for a local rep to get wind of a conference and head on over to make a few connections with so many folks wandering around. While occasionally our Ogunquit hotel may have more than one group joining us, the event space is often limited to one corporate event. Meaning there are far less ways to blend in. Also, we have a wonderful reception/entrance to our event space – with large fieldstone fireplace, gorgeous art and host stand. All of which means that a crasher to your meeting in Maine would have to check with the office to figure out where your meeting is. And also means we are close by to help with any unfamiliar faces.
But let’s say you booked that large venue and now are having that dreaded conversation with a company VP about Bob. Now what do you do? Here are a few tips on how to deal with meeting crashers:
- Make them part of the crowd. If the badge isn’t one of the one you created, have the ‘FlexPass’ option you can approach your crasher with. Let them know you are thrilled to see/meet them and since they were not registered, let’s take a second to take care of that with our Limited Access pass. Make this a reduced price point that clearly offers the things – like cocktail hours – that your crasher is there for. Hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, have them join.
- Make your networking parts a premium. Or you could take the opposite approach: Bundle together the events that the crashers come for – mixers, parties, tastings – and make it a premium for access. That way when you approach with the price tag in hand, the crasher gets the point – pay to play or leave the sandbox. Sometimes the price alone deters the Bobs of the world
- Take that Site Visit / FAM. This way you can set up your networking portions in rooms that do not have multiple entrances and have a visual ahead of time on what the layout should be. So if a surprise table or display pops up, you got it covered.
- Communicate with the onsite event team. If such a thing was a concern at our small meetings venue, you can let our team at Jonathan’s know if you have had crashers in the past and how we can help. We are here to assist you and make your event a success. Let us have that awkward conversation for you.
- Security. It’s an obnoxious thought to have to hire security but if you want the hotel and event team to focus just on service and you on the administration of the event, a security person may be your best bet. Just remember if you call them into action, stay a distance away and let them impersonally handle and remove the crasher.
Your event doesn’t have to be a Chris Brown concert to have crashers. But even if one does join in meeting, it can be addressed quickly and easily with a little advance planning.
Finally, to the Bobs of the worlds – as in literally those named Bob – we mean no harm. We love the name Bob.
Happy Meeting Planning!