I recently joined Lynne Madgin and her team at Travel People for a series of workshops in East London and Port Elizabeth. Lynne, congratulations on a job well done. The workshops were professionally coordinated and organized and well attended – approx. 50 attendees per session. I was representing Jenman African Safaris and our Madagascar Product!
In total, we were 18 presenters ranging from Rovos Rail, to various types of accommodation, tourism associations and tour operators. Each one of us was assigned a table with a number. The attendees had to move from table to table on a rotational basis and we had a total of 8 minutes to strut our stuff, sweat sweat!! Attendees comprised travel agents, tour operators, corporate’s, car hire, government etc.
Let me set the scene for you… what happens is that each presenter is allocated to a table in the room. Then all attendees move from table to table learning about the product/company through a short presentation… So, basically its like speed-dating, you need to capture their attention and retain it so that they remember you as opposed to all the others that presented to them. Very challenging indeed!
Here is an account from both perspectives:
The Presenter: If you think you are losing it, you are!! Just when you think you have a breather, sigh, yet another group arrives at your table, plonking themselves down with blank faces staring out of the window behind you. Trying to get their attention – for the umpteenth time, you ask: “… do you know where Madagascar is? … empty stares … eventually the answer comes … uuuh, Madagascar??? I thought this is Mauritius… you want to scream, but instead, gather yourself patiently, grit your teeth (##5**@!!) and with a huge smile continue – what we put ourselves through for the love of the destination!
The Attendee: We looove the workshops – best excuse to spend time out of the office! The only ‘work’ we have to do is actually walking from table to table, pulling out a chair and sitting down. The rest of the time we get to feed our faces with sweeties, chocolates, biscuits etc., all compliments of the boring presenters, yawn, yawn. To boot, the view out of the window is far more interesting than yet another hotel with 10 rooms all individually furnished, blah blah blah. “Oooh, these workshops are such fun, can’t wait to attend the next one!!!”