Gifting for the meeting planner in your life can be tough. They are notoriously organized, thorough and prepared for every situation, so what to give them for the holidays that they haven’t already thought of? That’s on you. But, we will tell you what not to get them. Here are 12 ideas to avoid.
1. High heels
Are you kidding? Planners are on their feet all day! Whether they’re on a site visit, trucking through an airport or walking the convention center floor, meeting pros love a pair of comfy-slash-stylish shoes. (Think Tieks and Oka-B wedges.) If you must get something with a heel, Cole Haan’s Grand Ambition line features cushioning designed by a biomechanics laboratory.
2. Tiny purse
A meeting planner needs a tote or large crossbody purse to carry anything they may need at a moment’s notice. Event profs are the most prepared bunch in the biz, so to have a tiny purse that only fits lipstick and a phone usually won’t cut it. Go big, or go home.
3. A book or magazine about “party planning.”
Do not insult an event prof with a nod to party planning, unless you know this is an outside hobby that they enjoy. Many a CMP-certified planner has had the conversation that they do more than plan parties.
4. A regular watch
If the time piece you’re gifting the meeting planner in your life doesn’t have email capabilities or a fitness tracker, takes phone calls or is at a minimum water-resistant, then go back to the store counter.
Most meeting profs we know need their fingers free to type, text, write down notes, or flip their tablet to BEOs all day. Even if their digits are freezing, they need to keep their fingers moving fast. If you must, purchase open finger mittens or the flip-top version. They will know that you “get” them.
6. A pair of pants with no pockets
Don’t do it. Those in the events and meetings industry need as many pockets, pouches and places to put things on their person as they can get.
7. A hotel stay where WiFi isn’t free
Before you book a romantic, fun-filled or relaxing getaway for that planner in your life, check to see if the hotel has free WiFi. Otherwise, you will hear about it. Planners are usually on call at all times and need a lifeline to WiFi or they feel cut off from the world.
8. A duffel bag that doesn’t roll
If you’re going the luggage route this year for a present, stick to what airline staff call “rollerboards.” A duffel bag or carry-on may look cute on the rack, but if it doesn’t roll, then it can make a meeting prof’s life harder.
9. A heavy laptop
A newly minted, feather-light laptop is probably on the minds of every planner this holiday. The weightier laptops are usually promoted as being “rugged” or “drop-proof,” and while that may sound good for a planner’s line of work, the weight of hauling it around for site visits, in carry-on bags and more can get tiresome. Stick to those with “lightweight,” “surface” and “ultraportable” in the description.
10. Regular-sized products
If you’re buying shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face wash, perfume or anything in the beauty category, buy it in travel size. Planners love a petite travel kit of any kind. Everyone knows large bottles can’t be transported on that site visit to Vegas or Cabo.
11. Subscription to a meal service
Gifting Home Chef, Blue Apron, Freshly or any of the popular meal services out there is sweet if you’re someone who never travels for work. But people in the meetings industry are rarely home. Travel is life. If you do decide to send them an at-home meal service, plan for a week when you know they’ll be in town, like the week after their biggest annual conference. They’ll appreciate it as they decompress.
12. A contract with attrition
Had to. If you’re a hotel sales rep trying to gift the conference planners in your industry, you know better. (Smile.)