Yesterday was the first day that we could make our hotel reservations for the AWP conference in March. I know that in the past, the hotels get full very quickly, so I wasn't going to wait. By 8:30 a.m.--on the VERY FIRST DAY that we could make reservations--I couldn't get a reservation for the night before the conference starts, March 7, at the conference hotel. I made reservations for the 2 nights that were available.
I thought about making a reservation for March 7 at a different hotel. I thought about driving up very early in the morning on March 8, but the thought exhausted me, even though I'm an early riser. It is a 5-6 hour drive to Tampa from my house, after all.
By 11:30 or so, the conference hotel was completely sold out--on the VERY FIRST DAY that we could make reservations. I made an alternate set of reservations at the overflow hotel that has a skywalk to the convention center where the conference is being held. That hotel has breakfast made to order as part of the cost of the room, along with drinks and snacks at the end of the day. That hotel has suites, not just a room. I'll likely keep that reservation and cancel the conference hotel.
I decided not to make any further decisions yesterday, as it was all vaguely overwhelming and exhausting.
Don't get me wrong: I'm thrilled that I'll be able to attend the AWP. But the fact that the conference hotel sells out before noon on the first day that we can make reservations does give me pause about going to an event in the future that will require much more in the way of travel coordination.
I do wonder if this event is quickly outgrowing the capacity of most U.S. cities to host it. Many of us assume that any large city can handle this kind of event, but if we want everyone to have a hotel room near the event, that assumption is simply not true.
But for this year, my travel arrangements are set--and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be going--and driving!--watch out book fair last day sales! I have an entire car to load up with great deals.