I’ve made the joke often since I’ve specialized in government business for almost my entire hospitality career, “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the government’s going out of business.” And I make this joke with nervous truthfulness – it’s been a hard year for those of us who have made our livelihood by placing government meetings in and around the country. Approval processes have gotten so out of hand that meetings are being canceled mostly because approvals aren’t coming in time. I secretly wonder if these processes have been designed with that sinister side effect in mind – and government meetings will naturally decrease not because they’re no longer needed, not because they’re being mandated to be cut, but because approval processes are so cumbersome, there’s no way for these meetings to even take place. I had a group hold space at a hotel for nearly two months waiting on approvals – up until the day before Thanksgiving when, one week away from check-in, the group still didn’t have its requisite approvals. The meeting wasn’t outright cancelled by any official measure, but because the hotel wouldn’t have time to adequately detail and service the group, and because the group has not yet gained the go ahead, the group was cancelled out of necessity. That is, until the day after Thanksgiving, late in the day, when the approval emerged. By then it was too late to contact the hotel and reinstate it!
The hotel had smartly never released the space and by Monday (today), that group is still moving forward and checking in in 48 hours. Take that approval process.
I had thought, possibly incorrectly or possibly prematurely, that we simply need to wait for the election to transpire, and regardless of the outcome, conditions for meetings would improve. I’d often be asked whose victory would be better for my industry? And I remarked that so long as the election didn’t end in a tie, the election itself would benefit my industry because public servants would no long have to worry so much about their jobs and could get on with the business at hand. Three weeks after the election, I’m not sure if that was a correct assessment because conditions are yet to improve very dramatically. I’m still optimistic that they will – perhaps it will take until the first of the year. But the necessity to meet has not yet gone away. Let’s just hurry up and fast forward to the point where that’s simply understood.