A classic example of bad management theory is defaulting to the pure benefits of internal efficiency over customer value.
For example, the beautiful, California-waterfront, 1600-room, marble-encrusted, massively lobbied, and nicely appointed hotel that I’m staying in doesn’t have room service. Well, technically, they will bring you a bag with plastic utensils and a salad in a box, or a reheated frozen pizza for dinner.
When I called the front desk and asked for breakfast options, he directed me to what is essentially a 7–Eleven in the lobby.
This is a $300-a-night hotel, mind you.
I asked the front desk agent if people who stayed in this expensive hotel liked these dining options, and he said he hadn’t talked to anyone who did, and he personally didn’t like it when he traveled.
He did say that management told him they’d have to find something easier for them because as many as 800 people on a given morning would all want breakfast at 6:00 a.m., and that this option was just easier to administer.
Eight hundred people over 365 days is almost 300,000 people, and if just 10% of these “room-service customers” are like me and won’t stay here again, that’s a pretty high cost for doing what’s easier.
Imagine Amazon saying to its customers, “we have too much demand for toothpaste at 7:00 on Tuesdays; could you please place your order at a time more convenient for us?”
Unfortunately, we approach our events in the same way. Rooms are set in rows of chairs because it’s easier for the venue to execute and easier for the planner to manage. We have buffets full of brown food because that’s the simplest and cheapest way to feed a lot of people at once. But if you want to create something that really stands out, you need to plan for what will delight your attendees and not just for logistical simplicity.
Making decisions that are easier for management, more efficient, and more effective happen every day in business. The question is, of course, at what cost?