For some years EDIMAN published “IT”, a magazine with English texts. I collaborated to it with a series of editorial articles entitled "It Seems Easy to Say Ethics". They described real cases of ethics outrageous behavior in relationships between buyers, meeting planners and providers of convention services. I recently collected a series of cases in which deontological ethics is literally gone to hell. Here are some examples.
At the end of a seminar delivered during a trade show in Moscow, a Polish participant complimented me and asked me to work with his agency because he had several clients interested in conducting conferences in Italy. I accepted and began to receive requests from its employees. Twelve requests, only one of which - for a group of 12 people - confirmed. Why? Me and my colleagues were no longer able to produce projects which fit the expectations of the clients? No, just stealing the ideas and shopping of the worst kind.
I had the proof of that when a young collaborator of the Polish agency asked me if I was able to get a lower cost for a hotel room that I had proposed to his colleague who had initially handled the file. They had contacted the hotel directly, without reference to our proposal. And the hotel had given the same rates that was given to us. We had turned the rates exactly as we received by the hotel, because, like every professional should do, we work on the basis of professional fees, and not with mark up on prices received from potential suppliers.
For all the rest they "stolen" the segments of the operational proposal we had made, and managed directly.
More recently an agency in Moscow has asked my Russian partner a "social program" for a group of 70 people invited by a company in Milan to attend the Football Champions League final. They proceeded directly to the purchase of tickets for the stadium (probably 2,500 euros each) and booked a hotel in a small town near Milan. They had no confirmation for transfers from the airport to the hotel, from the hotel to the stadium and back, from the hotel to the city center and vice versa. And there were no more buses available in the area. As usual, the request did not contain any reference to the psychographics of the participants, the areas of their origin (the Russian Federation covers a territory spread in nine time zones!) and the objectives to be achieved.
When we realized that the guests had only two hours to "discover" Milan, we proposed a program to be carried out in groups of 12 people each, as a treasure hunting, to achieve six major points of Milan and take in each of them sympathetic actions to generate emotions and memories. When we realize this type of program, participants must move independently, and meet the guides in the places they need to reach by following the written instructions.
Days went by, and the Russian agency did not give us any response. Then, suddenly, a young employee of the agency, probably unaware that we had done the proposal, asked us if we could provide ... six guides for a special program (our) who wanted to create in Milan.
In the face of Ethics.
I hope that professional associations operating in Italy will resume the project of professional ethics that a committee of experts coordinated by me - which also included the vice president of the Supreme Court - prepared at the time.
And that we can draw up a black book of those who are destroying the meetings & events industry with dishonest behavior.
Published on Meeting & Congressi magazine, May 2016