Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Business Travel -- Day 1 of 10

Today was a travel day for a long trip to Florida of two trade shows back to back. Took a flight this afternoon which was totally uneventful, other than its arriving 30 minutes early. I had taken this same flight in February -- gets to Orlando at 5:30 which I thought was a good arrival in order to have dinner and a relaxing evening before work, and in February my flight was five hours late.

Well, today I was lucky and I don't think it struck me until I was getting in a cab to go to my hotel that I am on time, I will have a nice dinner, I will relax in my room tonight -- just as planned.

This first convention is an association for companies that manufacture navigation and communication electronics for airplanes -- also a relatively new componenent of Internet, passenger entertainment systems, etc. One segment is the manufacturers and the other segment is the technicians and shops that install and repair the equipment. This is for everything from airliners down to little airplanes.

I write for this association's magazine and since I know most of the aviation media who will be there, my job here is to work the press room. I call myself "press room matron." At conventions like this, the media get their own room to work with computers, refreshments, places to interview people and I make sure it all runs smoothly.

Luckily I just have to show up, not set up, so I start bright and early at 7:30 tomorrow morning. At least there will be coffee ready.

This hotel/convention center is called the Gaylord Palms, in Kissimmee, and it's one of those -- oh heck, what was that name of that self-contained world.. the Biosphere? So it's all enclosed around this atrium where everything is fake -- fake waterfalls, fake foliage (well most of it), fake flowers, fake little village with real little stores, fake rocks, etc. The photo is the view from my balcony overlooking this atrium.

I have been in literally hundreds of hotel rooms in my business travel, and I've often looked around wondering at the sameness of it and what I would do differently. Today, I experienced one amenity which I loved, and didn't even know it was possible. I passed the Coke machine ... oh excuse me, the "vending room" and you could use your room key (like a credit card) to get a Coke.

I arrived parched and was able to swipe my room key for a nice big bottle of water and then a bottle of Diet Coke. Very convenient.

I must say that I arrived in a pissy mood, just on general principals, but the service, the food, my room are all quite good. Since my room is provided by the association who is hosting this convention, I was told when I checked in that I was in the best part of the hotel. So I am feeling like quite the VIP.

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