Dealing with hotel reservations has been the #1 pain in the butt with regard to regional chairmanship. We've never had an event at this site before, so it's a brand new relationship with the host hotel, which makes everything a little more complicated. We kept having to expand our block of rooms because people were calling in and not getting the bridge rate, until finally we'd blocked off every room in the hotel -- and sold them all, too!
(**If you got a reservation at the host hotel and did not get the bridge rate, please let me know and I will change it for you!)
As of this weekend, every room in the entire hotel is sold, including the executive suites and deluxe rooms. Thankfully, the cutoff date for the guaranteed special rate was the 21st, so the phone calls have finally stopped. We were getting several calls a day from folks who were having trouble getting reservations, some of whom got very angry when we told them the hotel is sold out. They couldn't understand why we couldn't just get the hotel to release more rooms. Because three weeks is not enough time to build and furnish new accommodations...
But we did secure a bridge rate at the Cavalier Inn, which is our usual playing site for sectionals. Our first block there filled up, too, but we've blocked more and those rooms are still available at the bridge rate if you're looking for a place to stay. (Call 888 882 2129 for reservations.)
Dealing with the hotels and the last-minute reservations has been stressful, for sure, but it's got me excited about our turnout -- it sure seems like we're going to have a big tournament. (And, lesson learned: get your rooms EARLY whenever you plan to stay at the host hotel.) The last of our registration gifts and prizes have all been delivered, and boxes of tournament swag are stacked floor to ceiling in our living room.
Hospitality plans are going well, we've got a recycling project manager, lecturers are lined up -- everything is falling into place nicely. Finally.
Would anyone like to take guesses as to our final table count? The MABC is projecting 1700, but the last off-regional like this one (Roanoke in 2003) only mustered about 1300 tables. So, what do we think? I'm not putting all my hopes on 1700, but I certainly expect we'll get there, based on hotel reservations. I know bad weather could change a lot of plans...I'd love to beat the estimate, though. Here's hoping for 1800 tables! (Any more than that and we might be in over our heads...)