Last weekend I attended a three-day conference. Now this is a conference that has been going on regularly for quite a number of years. I will not say who it was for or where it was held. Suffice it to say there were little things that irked me because they were things that should have been corrected long ago.
Here's what I mean. First, there were two keynote speeches each day in a packed ballroom of 500 people. They used the house PA, which as would be expected, was completely inadequate. It took about 5 minutes to even get anyone's attention. A simple rented PA with properly placed speakers would have solved this problem.
Second, they used house lighting. Since the crowd was particularly chatty, this was another irritating thing that detracted from the excellent speeches. The house lights remained on full and nothing was focused on the presenters, so they were literally in shadow the complete time. How easy it would have been to rent a followspot and operator and turn the house lights down for the keynotes or at the very least, focused an ellipsoidal light on the lectern.
Third, there was no free coffee at breaks in the morning and afternoon sessions. To me this was just plain cheap.
Lastly - and this is really disgusting - at the final luncheon buffet which was placed in the kitchen hallway, the entire area reeked of body odour. This was a conference hotel with supposedly professional staff, but I know that they were the source. Absolutely unforgivable. I will probably not return because of it. In fact, this one thing would put me off ever recommending that hotel to anyone.
To be fair, the conference content was good with professional and knowledge-packed sessions by well-known presenters. However, the devil is always in the details and I have written before about creature comforts. They were just not there and the organizers should have known better. Again, that would be my message. Don't cheap out!!