Think About It: Industry Ethics | When a Resort Cuts Out Its Entire Preferred Vendor List with No Notice | Event Industry Leader Kate Patay Responds

In our continued series, Think About It: Special Event Industry Ethics and Conundrums, we bring up a particularly sensitive issue on which we have received countless emails and phone calls.

When local and national wedding event supply partners were suddenly noticing they were no longer receiving inquiries or bookings from a leading world-class resort, they began to wonder what was going on.  Turns out, the resort brought in a new Director of Catering from outside the area who had his/her own Preferred Vendor List and completely did away with the resort's current Preferred Vendor List, which contained vendors who have worked hard for years maintaining an impeccable reputation, sending the resort business and being active members of the events community.  In fact, many of the vendors who were on the original list and had serviced high -end celebrity events were also removed.  In an attempt to understand what was going on, multiple reach-outs to the Director of Catering and Executive Team at the resort took place. To date, not one courtesy response has been given to any of the inquiring vendors.  

We asked Kate Patay, CPCE, Executive Director of Creative Coverings Linen Rental and
Kate Patay, CPCE
Secretary/Treasurer of NACE National (and long time Catering Professional)'s take on this scenario.  Here are her thoughts:


The first thing that jumps out to me in this situation is the lack of communication. I recall changes to vendors lists from my days in catering, and I now work on the flip side of that as one of the people on those lists. The lack of notice or response is quite disappointing and shocking. Even if there is good reason to make these changes a simple courtesy call or even a form letter explaining that would be the professional and ethical thing to do.

I can also say that we're only hearing one side here, so I'm never quick to make snap judgments when not seeing the big picture. There may have been things that happened behind the scenes that we are unaware of to cause a falling out. I'm not saying this is always the case, but I do recall a vendor calling me about a month after I changed my name because I got married. He obviously did not do his homework to know this is the same catering manager her has been dealing with for the past 3 years, but I chuckled and took the call. He let me know without any time to even say hello that he was the #1 XYZ company in the area and that the last managers in the department had not been using him enough and it was a huge mistake. My response to that was "oh really?" to which he let me know why he was better than all of the other XYZ providers (not true, IMHO) and that his pricing was best (it wasn't) and -get this - that he'd be happy to put whatever price I wanted on his invoices so that I "could make some money when I booked him." Guess who did not work in that property again....( *cough*unethical*cough*  )  Can you say price integrity?

I think that if upper management truly has not replied or given any notice then it's poor training or poor communication on how to handle sticky situations (have you read Fierce Conversations? Great book about this topic). Not every person has had training on the ethics of business or how to build and keep relationships. They may not realize that strategic partnerships are one of the keys to success. I encourage everyone in our industry, regardless of position, to learn the skills of networking and relationship building so they can overcome these types of situations. I've worked with managers who may manage themselves great, but may not manage a team well. It happens, so if the jilted vendors truly can not get in touch with them and they really have sent that much business, then perhaps the lack of business coming in 12-18 months down the road will show them where their bread and butter really was and the conversation can be addressed again then.


What are your thoughts?  You can post your responses here on our BLOG,  Tweet Us, or  join the conversation on Facebook.

Have a question you would like to be featured anonymously and answered in future Think About It columns for Engaging Inspiration?  Drop us a line.  

Engaging Inspiration provides sparkling marketing, training, social media and event solutions to the luxury hospitality and wedding business designed to inspire and engage. 


  1. We encourage everyone to respectfully comment - no matter what your take on this is . It is our hope that after the dozens of emails requesting us to address this topic that individuals have the courage to speak up. Staying silent does not create awareness and we are striving for a "shift" and progress in awareness on this issue. Please join the conversation boldly and bravely.


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