I am one of those people (true to my Greek heritage), who have to see and touch fruit & vegetables before I select and buy them.
For me, the ease of online shopping never really stuck for these food items, until lockdown. Necessity then meant that I did all my fruit & veg shopping online, fearful at first, then increasingly confident that I would get the quality I expected and wanted.
It was a huge luxury to have fresh produce delivered to my doorstep, neatly packaged and ready to consume, at a time when I could not afford to venture out of the house more than once every few days. Having a high-risk person at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is, I am sure, a familiar theme to many, so the ease of online shopping became natural and, dare I say, fun.
During this time, I really did believe the ease of it all had created a habit that would stay with me and make my life easier.
Did the habit stick post lockdown?
In a word: no.
Why? Several reasons really: the minimum spend meant that sometimes items ended up spoiling before I could use them; or the producer had not informed me that certain items had run out and had made an executive decision to make up the cost with a larger quantity of another item on my list; roughly 1 times in 3, some of the items were not of top quality.
The main reason, however, is that I had missed the experience of walking into a green grocers’, seeing the colourful display, smelling the aromas of the melons, tomatoes and rocket leaves, touching and selecting what I wanted myself. This freedom to decide what I wanted, how much I wanted, and having everything immediately available instead of waiting for the next delivery window, made this a no-brainer for me.
This shift post lockdown got me thinking about my role as a DMC and whether we, as an industry would still be relevant in a world increasingly going online to meet, train, inform and inspire one another, without having to deal with constricting face masks, constant hand sanitizing and the angst of possible contagion.
I think that, for a while, until everyone feels safe to meet f2f once more, we will have to wait it out. However, it is my firm belief that once people can travel freely and feel confident about f2f meetings, our industry will enjoy a steep recovery.
People across the globe are not that different to one another when it comes to basic needs and motivation, and offline meetings are a basic need.
Similar to my delight at walking into the green grocers’ again, people will relish the feeling of meeting their colleagues, clients, suppliers and friends once again. They will delight in the serendipity of solutions and fresh ideas jumping out of an impromptu meet with a long-lost connection.
So where does the value of a DMC come into all of this, you may ask.
Well, to go back to my fruit & veg story, recently I found myself in a small town I was not familiar with and had to use the few hours I was there for my shopping. There were no fewer than 7 green grocers in the area and I had absolutely no way of telling which was best; which one combined reasonable price with excellent quality; which one would have a good selection where I could find everything I needed under one roof.
What would you have done?
Exactly! I asked a local.
Someone I knew and trusted. Not only did they take me to their favourite greengrocer, but they came into the shop with me, introduced me to the owner and made sure I was looked after.
That is exactly what we pride ourselves in doing for our clients as a DMC: we take them straight to the venue/supplier/hotel that is perfect for their particular event; we act as a liaison & facilitator, to ensure the vendor buys into the client’s objectives, invests in the whole idea and becomes our partner; we are there every step of the way, doing our due diligence and ensuring our client shines and delivers an exceptional experience to her/his stakeholders.
That’s what it’s all about. And that’s why using a professional DMC will create value for the client, every time.
3rd June 2020