CONFERENCES: Alarms and Excursions

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

Our plans when traveling to conferences are usually simple: Attend sessions, meet colleagues, send copy back to New York and sleep.

At the Canadian Direct Marketing Conference last month in Toronto at the Westin Harbour Castle, it wasn’t that easy.

Just as we were about to retire Tuesday evening, the fire alarms rang. The P.A. system then announced: “This is the assistant manager. There is a fire alarm situation on the 15th floor of the south tower. Please stand by for further instructions.”

Despite being on the 27th floor of the north tower, I made my way downstairs-the elevators were shut off. The alarms and the P.A. system alternated announcements for about 45 minutes before we were told everything was secure. The bar, we noticed, did very good business that night.

The next morning we attended a rather good presentation of loyalty marketing. Just as the speaker was about to reach his conclusion, the P.A. system announced: “This is the assistant manager. We are about to test the fire alarms on the 15th floor of the south tower.”

>From the looks on people’s faces you could tell who was staying at the Westin.

The rest of Wednesday passed without further ado. Thursday afternoon, just as we sat down to write up the day’s sessions for our newsline (www.directnewsline. com), the alarms went off again. The P.A. system announced: “There is a fire alarm situation of the 15th floor of the south tower…” And we made our way down 27 flights of stairs to a bar. Whatever the fire alarm situation was, it was resolved in about 15 minutes.

When I rang for the elevator to take me down to breakfast the next morning, I noticed a graffito on the doors. This was surprising, as we had been in Toronto for several days without seeing any graffiti. We leaned forward to read, “I love home.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.-JB

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