Wanted: Your Thoughts on Conventions (past & future)
Chicago here we come!!! You have a challenge ahead of you, but being so close to the last one an ability to have experienced help who can guide you if needed or desired.
Some various assorted convention miscellaneous thoughts. I note that most of the repondees so far have been those that have driven to the convention with the exception of Arno. Before someone gets the wrong idea on two fronts, even when Pat and I attended Alfa Conventions we always flew and did not drive, with the exception of the two Southern California Conventions. Eric and the Detroit Chapter deserve kudos for their excellent job in putting on the best convention that I've attended since the 2004 one in New Hampshire that Brian Shorey chaired even though they had "significant" computer problems that they had to recover from that made registration less than easy and very time consuming.
I only remember a couple of things about the Mid-Ohio convention many years ago...a perfect example of POOR planning on the convention host chapter's part: 1) that the Cincinnati airport where you landed was in Kentucky, 2) that the cab fare from the airport to the hotel was $165. one-way, 3) that the weather was over 100 degrees and very humid; the cab was not air-conditioned nor was the hotel, 4) that I had two children and one very unhappy husband that "I" had not figured all this out in advance.
In short, make sure the hotel has an airport shuttle and that the airport is within the shuttle range of the hotel. Detroit failed on this one....Michigan does not have Super Shuttle like many other states, only private taxis; it is actually, cheaper to rent a car than to pay the taxi fare. Getting a ride in and back to the airport can be a problem.
I know that Portland has already picked a hotel that has a shuttle and is within the airports range which runs 24 hours a day.
Make sure that the various venues are within close range of the hotel and that the driving directions are clear so that anyone can follow them, even the directionless, kind of like "Directions for Dummies;" getting somewhere should not be a road rally challenge puzzle. Detroit gets 5 stars on their convention book by day with directions to each site. I will say that they have a little different idea of a "t" intersection than I do -- regarding the Waterford Hills directions.
I hate having to cater to the hotel restaurant solely, so another thing that Detriot was able to offer this year was other eateries, and not just fast food, but quality food, within walking distance. Do families with kids really want to pay $50 to $100 a meal for a family in the restaurant hotel?
A huge hotel parking lot is always a must for the cars and comaraderie as well as a back up hotel for overflow. Detroit had it nailed here also, the Marriott was the main hotel and overflow stayed right across the street at the Marriott Courtyard so it was not a drive to join the others. Free Internet in our room would have been nice but I survived hauling my laptop down to the lobby.
I know that there are those who enjoyed the quilting this year. It was my understanding that there are those who expect it next year and that there are also those willing to do the workshop as leaders. A real plus for non-diehard Alfa wives who are giving up their preferred vacation to spend with their husband's or families. I only heard two objectionable comments about the quilting, one from a good friend, who was doing his best to unnerve me, and the other from someone who I really didn't know, it basically boiled down to "It was a sissy thing to do." Need I mention, they were both male? I'd like to see the return of the jewelry workshop, especially Alfa oriented as well.
On the concours, and I am not a concours person, Alfas are made to be driven daily and loved. However, as long as Pat was associated with the concours judging for more years than I care to count, there were always problems. I repeat there were always problems, whether someone felt the judging was not fair, or it took too long, or someone was judging or tallying that had no business doing it etc. I think having the concours other than Sunday morning is an excellent idea to work out the tallying difficulties. I also think that it should be broken into parts where everything is not left until the last minute or the morning of. Kind of like the tech inspection before you are allowed to participate in the time trials. Do some of the preliminary checks of equipment that is not going to change prior to the actual event. Have the car categories set up based on entries where alike cars are judged by the same criteria. One of the biggest problems Pat had was that at the last minute they lumped the old Alfa categories together and you were supposed to come up with some equitable point evaluation where there was not one because the lumped cars were not equipped the same or were different in some way. Judges got grey hair over this and those that didn't have hair to grey were pulling out what hair they had left. I heard a lot about the difficulties judging in Detroit: too many cars, too few judges, not enough time. Finding competent judges to volunteer is also an issue.
On name badges, I have no objection to how they are produced since I never wear mine where it can be seen. If those who are willing, want their chapter affiliation, bb avatar, etc. in addition to what they've paid for that's fine with me as long as you're given an option of declining certain information you do not want put on the name tag. An off the wall thought, for those of us who do not carry Id with us, yeah, I'm guilty of that when a purse is more than I want to contend with....a section of the name tag that could be voluntarilly filled out upon arrival for emergency medical information where it would not have to be disclosed as part of the registration process in the event it should be needed.
Extending the convention is not problematic for me. It was actually kind of nice not having the board meeting take a day away from the convention. I hope the board members had the same feeling, that you weren't giving up a day to attend the meeting. The pre-Lake Huron drive and the Detroit Tour were also nice additions. It's always nice to explore and know something about the city you're in rather than just the hotel that you're staying out. I think Detroit did admirably well on this.
Brian if you've read this far will you send me the link to your attendance figures that Gordy indicates you have maintained so that I don't have to search the site for it. I've asked for them from various people to add them to the cumulative convention chart along with location, speaker, weather, and anything else that stood out about the convention looking for trends of why some were better attended than others.
Just a few miscellaneous thoughts.
Aren't you sorry you asked.