Making Your Guests Unhappy is Easier Than You Think-1

Making Your Guests Unhappy Is Easier Than You Think

By Eric Murphy, Founder & Managing Director

This article originally appeared in BizBash, Dec. 2018. To read the original, click here. 

Sigmund Freud believed that everything people do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great. Now, unless you're offering sex at your events (let's hope not), we'll need to focus on the latter. A very famous American philosopher named John Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.” Think about the world we live in. Social media's popularity and power stems from that very desire. More friends, followers, and likes translates into a feeling of importance.

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With events, it's easy to get hyper-focused on things that don't really impact guests. Usually, a disproportionate amount of time and money goes into the event production and very little thought goes into the overarching guest experience—often resulting in unhappy guests. Our number-one job as event and hospitality professionals is to make people feel important and special. Companies like Zappos, Disney, and Amazon have built their entire brands around this concept. Here's how:

The customer (guest) comes first

When was the last time your event budget included a line item for “customer service” or “guest experience?” Jeff Bezos, C.E.O. of, said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” Amazon invests heavily to improve the customer experience and makes shopping and shipping completely frictionless. Why? Because it knows your time is important!

Software makes things possible, but people make it personal

Zappos, known for its stellar customer service, puts its phone number front and center on its website to encourage customers to call for assistance. Why? Because its customers are its most important asset. In fact, Zappos customer service is weighted sevenfold toward the phone (vs. chat or email). Zappos C.E.O. Tony Hsieh said, “We're actually experimenting with ways to get more people to call because it's such a valuable marketing and brand builder for us.” Pair great tech with great humans and you have a recipe for success.

Train your people

Disney has this down to a science. Each employee (or as it calls them, cast member) must go through extensive training and follow very specific rules of guest engagement. It has even created the Disney Institute to teach anyone how to approach customer service and how to recover from “service failures.” This is no doubt Disney's secret sauce, and despite hosting millions of guests every year in its theme parks, it finds ways to make each individual guest feel important and welcome.

Our mantra at is “Being a V.I.P. is no longer the exception, it's the expectation.” Every one of your event guests should feel important—like a V.I.P.—and that requires thoughtfulness on the event professional's part.

We help our clients create a clear strategy around the guest experience and give them the tech and talent to execute it. Subscribe to the newsletter to learn even more about the ever-changing guest management industry.

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