The road show hit Milan yesterday and Riccardo and team had done a great job in organising what must have looked to the guests an extremely professional set up with simultaneous translation and a compelling melange of internal and external competent speakers (not including myself here and yes I did keep to time!).
The whole event was chaired very ably by Riccardo with the panache of a Raiuno anchorman and about 35 people attended; these were predominantly from the hospitality industry and included a couple of big Italian chains whose names I carelessly forgot to note for this missive. Interestingly a major transport company also attended as they have been experiencing severe problems on their transport system.
Mike Potter worked his magic and then Christian and one of the service supervisors did a great job on showing the Rentokil system and a real war story in which a hotel had an issue and then one of their guests took our little friends home with similar consequences. We lost a little bit of momentum with an external presentation from a supplier (but I suspect Riccardo got the event paid for by having them sponsor this) and for future events I think it is important that we do not let outsiders dilute what is a great message which builds to a crescendo.
Mike Potter rescued the day with some well placed questions to the audience which stimulated some interesting questions including does freezing work, can disease be transmitted, and one guest admitted to having had a severe problem in his hotel and had tried to deal with it himself by starving them out (i.e. restricting access to guests); one of Riccardo’s sales managers had a very animated cup of coffee with this individual afterwards. What was clear was that this is still an immature market for us and once guests relaxed it became clear that this is a real problem Italy though people prefer not to talk about it.
An event like this which seeks to educate and inform really builds our credibility as the Experts in Pest Control and because we do not do the hard sell, people are more inclined to talk to us and the leads and opportunities come as a matter of course. After two events – I am becoming convinced this is a model framework which we might be able to use elsewhere. Today we embark on a workshop with the sales and service guys which should be interesting.
As our PR gets out there, I am receiving some interesting calls and getting no end of additional information being sent to me. Perhaps the most interesting two are:
- In Florida, dogs are being trained to be able to detect bed bugs. It is claimed that these animals can distinguish between live and dead bugs and (allegedly) can detect a few eggs in a theatre. Expensive to train and maintain but this is something that does appear to be gathering momentum.
- I had a call from a group in Silicon Valley who make portable analytical equipment for detecting drugs and munitions at border controls; they have seen some of the PR and believe that they could produce an electronic nose that would effectively do the same as a dog. Whilst I am a little sceptical on how this might work out commercially – its good to talk and we will be organising a video link once this event is over.