Posts Tagged ‘retreats’


Writing Workshop: Scrapbooking Weekend

March 22, 2012

5.) What was the occasion? Write about the last time you stayed in a hotel.

One of the reasons I have been MIA is that it was that time of year for my annual scrapbooking weekend. I believe this is my 7th year at this particular hotel. Nothing big, just a Comfort Inn. But they take care of me and my customers.

            I’ve been asked why we go away and why to this particular city.

            Scrapbookers want time away. We want a weekend of uninterrupted scrapping time. Honestly we’d do this every month if we could but schedules and finances prevent it. So if we are going to go away, to get the feeling of “going away” the distance needs to be more than an hour’s drive but less than two. You know, just in case the husband cannot survive without you for 48 hours.

            Initially I held my scrapbooking weekends in one historical town a little under two hours away to the east. I was so new to this (only going on my third year as a consultant) so I followed my upline’s lead and just got a contract with the hotel she was using for her crops. It was a small room but we were a small group. Breakfast was not included with this hotel chain so we had to provide a continental breakfast for our customers (I had a downline in on the gig with me). But it was a clean hotel and the location was great.

            Year 2: one month prior to our scheduled crop, both my upline and myself got a call from the hotel saying because they made no money off of us, they needed to bump us for “paying events” (i.e., weddings or some such). They actually sent our contract to a dilapidated sister hotel in another part of the city.

            I will give this hotel props for attempting to make this as painless as possible but the facility was awful. Poor lighting, not handicapped accessible, cockroaches, broken hot tub (that we were all looking forward to), and not enough value for our money. I left them a huge list of suggested improvements if we were to return. The most important was handicap access—not only for my customer who needed it, but have you seen what a consultant has to haul to an event like this? I easily bring twice what my average customer brings. When the elevator is five steps below the conference room level and you have to haul everything up those 5 steps (and down again) because the lift is not working is unacceptable.

            Needless to say I was stunned both the lift and the hot tub were still not working the following year. AND the hotel was being commandeered by a branch of the military for an out-processing center before deployment.

            In Year 3 we also had the problem of different consulting style and different clientele. In order not to say anything disrespectful or rude about my downline, I’ll just say I prefer “No Frills Crops”. Please, I just wanted to provide a table, a catalog, and some music! And her customers? Her customers arrived when the consultants did and they took over twice as many tables with one to a table, circled them up, and left my customers and my other downlines with having to double up. Her customers wanted everything neat and pretty and therefore she had taken two tables to “display” all her inventory. I leave my boxes on the floor and my customers look when they want to.

            Needless to say even though we were in agreement not to ever grace the threshold of that establishment again we could not agree on what type of venue or where to hold the event in Year 4. I toyed with BnBs or retreats. I toyed with several locations within that magical “distance”. When I floated the idea of an all-inclusive retreat like my downline was organizing, my customers baulked at the price tag. I think the thought of that lump sum even though all meals, the room and the crop fee were included just intimidated my customers. Additionally, they liked the freedom of doing a Taco Bell Run at 1 a.m.

            I’m really not sure how I found the website. I just double checked to see if it was even still active but it currently says “under construction.” Who knows how long that message has been up. So in my search I found “Bid My Event . Com” and I thought I’d give it a shot. I picked another historical town about an hour and half to the west. I got two responses with my requirements. One was a fancy hotel that just couldn’t come down in price and the other was a Comfort Inn.

            We’ve been there ever since. My contract has changed as has the event. No longer do we officially start on Friday night but we can use the room if it is available and we stay longer on Sunday. We also go out as a group to a restaurant on Friday night that a local recommended. Comfort Inns have great continental breakfasts (yeah waffles!) included in the room price so I don’t have to include that as a business expense or in the crop fee. I’ve only had to raise my crop fee once last year.

            I don’t like sharing hotel rooms, especially beds, so I am usually on my own. I had the room to myself this year. It was nice and quiet.

            I go to scrapbook. I was pretty productive this year, getting September and October of 2009 completed and November started. Having substituted the two days prior to the event left me drained (Note to self: never do this again even if the teacher is begging you!) so I did not stay up till the wee hours of the morning like I usually do. I have customers who will stay late but they usually take two or three-hour naps in the afternoon. One year I had one customer who really just slept the whole time. I guess catching up on sleep was what she really needed and who am I to argue with that as long as she pays her crop fee?

            So we will return next year. I will leave notes though that their trainees looked at me like I had two heads when I tried to explain the coffee service I have in my contract. They need to be better prepped to handle that.

We usually go my birthday weekend but this year it was booked. It was actually kind of nice to go after the time change—arriving late while there was still light, going to the restaurant while it was still light, and leaving in daylight made a huge difference. I will have to look at the calendar and pick early this year.

Writing Prompts:

1.) Describe an outfit you LOVED wearing.
2.) Share your idea of the perfect Spring Break family vacation.
3.) A lie you told.
4.) Pinterest Challenge, find something you’ve pinned, TRY it and share it. Was it worth pinning?
5.) What was the occasion? Write about the last time you stayed in a hotel.

For more information on Mama Kat’s world-famous Writing Workshop, click on that trophy over there….

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