I've been talking with sales folks from several hotels lately, working on plans for an upcoming conference we'll be hosting here. One hotel gave me a nice folder full of advertising goodies that I just now had time to look through. It included the usual information about the hotel itself, local activities, and their proposal for me. There was also a small, slightly thick white envelope with a little gold ribbon around it, some mysterious little gift. Perplexed, I opened it up, and found a cream-colored... thing... about 3 inches by 4, with a little seal, and a paragraph description of an Important Historical Event (though not a very happy one) that happened in the hotel many years ago. Well, as an important event, I can see how they'd want to include information about it, but what the heck was this thing? A slim note pad? No, there were no pages... A coaster? Then I noticed it had a long crack, and in fact it was a little bit soft. It couldn't be... I sniffed, and nibbled a corner of it, and in fact it was white chocolate.
Now, I'm all for chocolate in all its forms, but a little chocolate slab (that otherwise doesn't look remotely like anything edible) to advertise an unhappy but significant event that took place at your hotel? It just struck me as odd.
(Although now that I'm writing about it, it strikes me as tempting. I think I'll go eat it, and meditate on the vagaries of history and the wonderful meeting areas and banquet facilities of the hotel in question.)
Actually, this leads me to a question about conferences. Several of you have been through the spring conference routine, and to the extent that that's fresh on your mind, I'd like to ask what things you like best and what you would have changed. (My conference will be about 100 people, to give you a sense of scale.) Things like: if we have the reception & banquet & meetings all in the same hotel, is that good because it's convenient, or bad because it's claustrophobic? (The hotel at least is in a very attractive downtown area with lots of great restaurants and bars within walking distance, so people will be able to go out and have fun.) To fit in all the panels, would you rather have panels that run from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm all day Friday and Saturday with Sunday free, or panels that run more from 9-5 and then one session on Sunday morning? (This location is reasonably accessible, so people shouldn't have a hard time scheduling afternoon flights, though I don't know if they'll want to.)
Any other things you would recommend to do or avoid? I'd love your suggestions!