Saturday, March 22, 2008

Conference banquet seating - the bad tables

Seth Godin has great post about being seated at a bad table and made to feel like a second-rate customer. Suggests that something needs to be done so there's some sort of special treatment for those tables - such as chef visiting, different menu, special wine list.

I believe that's a serious problem with conference banquet seating too, especially if there's a program as part of the banquet. The back of the room is absolutely disconnected from the front of the room; a detail that wasn't as clear to me until my group once seated at the worst table at a national conference (banquet had 1200, our seats back row, by the kitchen). As a staff person I absolutely understand the reality that at sold-out banquets some group has to have the bad seats. However, if paid $150 for a ticket and in formal dress it's embarrassing to have to explain how ended up with the worst seats. I know groups at my own conference banquet end up with bad seats more than one year too - as I do the table assignments (for 550).

Seth is right. If there's no way those with the "worst" seats can enjoy the program as much as those with better seats, maybe it is up to us to ensure that we can provide a different experience for them. But I can't think of what that would be ... maybe a specialty drink with a special name? Any ideas?

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