In the social age we now live in, it’s hard to agree with the old “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Thanks to the Internet, one could actually argue that “there’s nothing as bad as bad publicity.” That’s why it’s so vital for companies to acknowledge the risks they take and costs involved when partnering with industry suppliers to represent their brands.
Take into account the recent event, 'A Moveable Feast' (AMF), which occurred over the weekend in Sydney that has been slammed as “the worst event ever”. What should have been a successful brand building exercise between a highly respected Australian Chef and a reputable caterer is now a PR nightmare.
Consistent reports across social media highlight three main areas of concern and failure of accountability for the event organisers.
- Long queues for pre-paid drinks
- Pre-ordered and pre-paid food actually ran out
- Guests refused re-entry to event
From the perspective of a paying customer, these three issues are deal breakers and have led to a fall out of the worst kind.
From an operational point of view these challenges could have easily been avoided by effective planning, communication and accountability with all suppliers contracted to this event.
Events are pre-determined in nature. Meaning tickets are sold and then one must cater to these numbers. If you have 3,000+ people arriving at a certain time, then you should expect 3,000 people to want drinks on arrival and by all means necessary, there is absolutley no reason why food, which has been pre-ordered should run out.
Planning surrounding the expectations of the event should take into account these spikes in service.
There is no harm setting up multiple bars, allocated to different areas of an event, that are suitably staffed for arrival drinks to absorb the influx of guests. The beverage lists should be designed with this in mind, and with the casual employment nature of hospitality staff, managers could stagger start times and sign off bar teams as service translates into a manageable state.
Partnering with specific suppliers whether it be caterers or staffing specialists to deliver an exceptional, well organised event should provide relief to organisers - not create further headaches and loss of reputation via a brand damaging disaster such as this.
According to recent reports, customer complaints made on social media have increased 800% since January 2014, with one in four social users found to have complained on a social platform within the last three months and the social fall out from this event will be extremely costly to all involved.
There is a cost associated with negative publicity and in this case, a poorly executed event.
- It is 30-40 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to manage existing ones.
- Negative word of mouth results in an 8.5% decrease of revenues.
- 50% of consumers report having a negative experience in the past six months.
- A negative experience is told to three to eight people.
- It takes 12 positive stories to offset one negative story.
- Most companies lose half their customers every five years.
- When a customer is dissatisfied, 4% will tell management; 96% will just leave, and 91% will never return.
Is your business willing to pay for poor representation of your brand?
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Drawing on 22 years personal experience and over 23,000 professional hours working across Sydney’s hospitality industry, these articles intend to inspire young candidates to join our industry and support aligned operators in building positive employment environments for the aspiring hospitality professional. Please feel free to contact me directly if you feel I could help or if you would like us to cover an important topic or industry matter.