Tolkien, artist

Hotels and Shows

 My schedule is always a bit bizarre. I live a year in advance - my calendar is filled for 2011 and within a few months, it will be scheduled for 2012. I attend the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin every June for several days. The number of days depends on the classes that I have interest in and my funds. This year I am spending monies with a much heavier hand than I have for several years because of classes that I want to take. So I'll be spending a longer time at the show this year, and hotels keep getting more and more expensive.

Hilton Hotel Milwaukee

Although I prefer the Hyatt, I'll be staying at the Hilton this year.

I usually stay at the Hyatt - the host hotel. I love it there, I know the staff and they know me. The bartenders are almost personal friends by now. But their customer service fell flat when I tried to make reservations yesterday. I needed a room with two beds for the show rate and there were conflicts with two days where the show rate rooms were already fully booked. I could have spent $5 more for one day and $30 more for the second day, but I decided to try a different hotel instead. I know that the hotel still had rooms available, just not at the show rate, and they were unwilling to bend at all on their rates. The Hilton hotel, my second choice, ran into the same problem - not having a room with two beds available for the time frame that I needed. But instead of telling me that I would have to pay one rate for one day, one rate for another day, and the show rate for the remaining days, they worked on it for me. They checked their availability, and they gave me a room at the show rate even though the block of rooms for the show had already had all of their 2-bed rooms booked. They came through for me. Guess who got my reservation this year - duh! So great customer service pulled me into a new place and got my dollar. I guess that's a lesson for all of us in retail. Customer service CAN make a difference. I just have to keep remembering that and keep working on it in my own store so that I am the place that is chosen, not the store that is left behind.
The show is always worth attending. I've been attending it annually since 1995, so many years. There are many friends who I see only once a year at this show, so attendance is mandatory in my life. The difficulty comes with what classes I want to take. This year I want some intensive classes to aid my personal visions and those are early in the 8-day schedule. That necessitates a long hotel stay since the actual sale part is only the last three days.

As for organization - I have no choice. But I am, basically, a very organized person when it comes to scheduling and my art. I, however, am a horrible scheduler when it comes to making time for housekeeping (other than laundry and dishes) and general clean-up. So there is the proof that I can be a balanced person :-)

- Erulisse (one L)