• Tips & Tricks to Keep Feelings in Check and Everything Under Control

    FROM THE Fall 2017 ISSUE

Are you an event planner who can be both calm and kind under pressure? If not, choose another profession. 

Your clients, however, may not possess those same traits and unfortunately you cannot suggest they move on. We must work as a team to achieve event goals, despite the heat of the moment, occasional personality conflicts, tight deadlines and sometimes even tighter budgets.

And that’s just during the pre-planning!

Our industry is rooted in hospitality, but it’s not always easy to remain hospitable in the face of a challenging event, client or guest. Every seasoned planner has stories about situations when they went over and above to satisfy a request, even when asked to do the unthinkable. For instance, I once had a VIP direct me to fish her cell phone out of a toilet.

So, is the customer always right? Ritz Carlton says so, and I operate under that assumption. As planners, it’s important to manage our emotions and get the job done. At the end of the day, a successful event is our safety net. 

Over the years I’ve been nice, I’ve been bossy (because Tina Fey and Sheryl Sandberg tell me it’s OK), and I’ve been honest with my clients about what is and is not possible. Yes, I’ve even said “no” once or twice. Here are few tips and tricks [colored box] that have served me well:

I believe that all humans are basically good and kind, but under stress we sometimes act out of character. We can’t always foresee these situations, or change them, but we can control our reactions.

Pay attention to internal cues – A racing pulse, dry mouth, aching stomach or tight muscles may indicate that something is amiss in your emotional world. If you sense anger is building, take a breath. 

Pick your battles – Remember Ritz Carlton. In most cases, the customer is right. But if you are asked to do something that is illegal, unethical or you feel will hamper achievement of the event goals, speak up.

Be respectful – Follow the Golden Rule. Just because someone behaves in an unprofessional manner doesn’t mean you should as well. You will feel better in the end. I promise.

Support your team – Good leaders protect their people from being demeaned or abused. There are no excuses for that type of behavior. 

Don’t sweep situations under the rug – Post-event, calmly and objectively review any difficult working relationships. If you must work with the person again, take time to clear up any misunderstandings while the memory of the event is fresh. This should reduce the chance of a repeat situation.

MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.


First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 


A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above.