What We Can Learn From National Lampoon’s Holiday Fiascos 

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holiday fiascos, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold, tech malfunctions, meeting tips, holiday events
Holiday fiascos

This time of year is ripe for holiday event fiascos.

Oddly enough, Clark Griswold, the king of holiday chaos in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” offers a few good examples on what not do do how to muster through it.

Set Boundaries for Local Wildlife at Outdoor Events

Outdoor events can come with a slew of unexpected problems—one of which includes uninvited local wildlife making an appearance. The Griswolds, for instance, get a surprise visit from a rambunctious squirrel hidden in their Christmas tree. To avoid this, research what wildlife you can expect to encounter in the meeting destination your visiting. This is especially key because the local hospitality team may assume that their version of normal wildlife—say, an alligator on a golf course—is an everyday occurrence, while you and your attendees might scream at the sight of one.

Then, ask the management team what kind of preventative measures or guidelines are in place for these types of scenarios. If they have ones, great; but if not, come up with your own. Using specific decorations can deter birds from landing on your luncheon, or adding extra staff to keep an eye out for possible intruders can help avoid a problem. Lastly, make sure to have animal control or some other local service on speed dial to help out if a fiasco develops.

Prepare for Tech Malfunctions

Griswold’s Christmas lights display becomes so over the top that the family faces a power outage. Planners can avoid similar tech malfunctions by hiring the right people and by being over prepared. First, planners should connect with speakers and panelists weeks before an event to get a better understanding of their technology needs. Then, either hire an A/V specialist to test the venue technology or triple check with the event venue’s A/V team to ensure all the appropriate equipment has been tested. Lastly, have an A/V emergency contact sheet for you and your event staff, so that you know exactly who to call if a tech malfunction were to occur.

Stay Steady Before Losing It on the Decorations

Meeting planners not only have to stay on top of schedules, but they also have to take on customer service whenever an attendee is angry. Don’t take lead from Griswold who completely loses it and kicks his front-yard reindeer display in the movie. If faced with a difficult situation, instead, take a deep breath and remember that it’s not personal. Look at the situation from the other person’s perspective, and keep your voice steady in your response. If that doesn’t work, simply walk away from the situation. After all, the decorations deserve better.

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