The Site Inspection

Last month, I was able to participate in my first Familiarization Trip, more commonly referred to as a FAM Trip. Now, I had participated in many FAMs before, but always as a host at a venue. This time around, I was a potential client and was on the receiving end of many meals and amenities.  I think I gained about  pounds during my trip. You’ll be reading more about this FAM trip in a future post.

After having a site visit and lunch with one of the facilities on the the tour, one of the other FAM trip attendees commented that everything seemed flawless and very well done. My reaction was that they are trying to impress us in hopes of doing business with us and that everything should be perfect. If it wasn’t perfect, I would be very worried. Seriously, if a venue can’t get it right during a site visit designed to impress, would you trust them with your event?

On the flight back home, I recalled the following joke and it really drives the point home.  Again, I wish I knew who was the original author of this piece, but it is a classic.

One day, a meeting planner dies. She goes to Heaven and is greeted by St. Peter. St. Peter says, “Things are a bit overcrowded here, so God is letting everyone make up there mind to either stay here or to stay in Hell. Tomorrow you get to visit Hell, and the next day you will visit Heaven. After your visits, you can have a day to make up your mind as to where you wish to spend eternity.”

The meeting planner agreed.

The next day, she was off to visit Hell. She was picked up in Purgatory by a Hummer stretch limo, greeted by a hunk of a man wearing nothing but a tight pair of jeans and whisked away. In the limo, there was every type of alcohol available, chocolates, the finest food, and a place to get a pedicure. She was impressed! Upon arriving in Hell, she had the red carpet rolled out for her, carried into her hotel as if she was Cleopatra, and the room was covered in roses. She thought to herself, this is AMAZING!! That night, she was treated to the finest food, wine and music, and danced with all the hot men in Hell. She was draped in furs, Vera Wang clothing and Ferragamo shoes. She never wanted to leave.

She awoke the next morning in Purgatory, and there was a black Lincoln town car there to pick her up to take her to Heaven. Once there, the door was opened, and an angel showed her around. She thought to herself, “This place is BORING! Who would want to stay here? It’s clean and quiet, but forever being this quiet?” After her tour, St. Peter walked up to her and asked, “We’ll be having dinner at 5PM over at the Angel cafeteria.  What do you think of Heaven so far?”  The meeting planner said, “Can I go ahead and make up my mind now?”  St. Peter replied, “Why, yes.  But I really think you need a night to sleep on it; this is a very big decision.” The meeting planner replied, “Yes, and Heaven is very…heavenly.  But I have decided I would like to go back to Hell.”  St. Peter let out a grunt in disgust and said, “So it shall be.”  And with a blink of his eyes, she was back in Hell.

This time, it was filthy, hot, smelly, and she was in rags. Everyone was crying or screaming.  She was frightened and scared. She walked up to one of the head Spawns there, and said, “What happened? When I was here, it was beautiful, paradise! Now, it stinks, and it’s hot, and I’m wearing rags! What happened?” The Spawn replied, “Yesterday was the site inspection, and today you signed the contract!”

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