Afterglow and Headache
This first part of the President’s Message is written as the Jim Seeck Auction of Carlton Tarkington’s collection is being sold at the 2017 ICGA Annual Convention in St. Louis. The crowd at the auction is immense (after a vast number of registered attendees for our convention), and all morning and last night, people have come by to thank me for another convention that they feel was a resounding success and great fun. My heart is filled with joy about the large number of wonderful people here, the fantastic seminars by Roger and Roberta Macauley (whose presentation was filled with beautiful glass, fun stories, and a ton of emotion), Roger and Cathy Dunham (who mixed a beautiful room display of mugs, loving cups, emotional memories, and knowledge into a presentation that had a member tell me last night opened his eyes forever to the power of carnival glass mugs), and Cale Wilcox who brought a bunch of beautiful glass that represented the intense yellows you can find in carnival glass iridescence. Lane Booker, who has this desire to make everyone he knows happy and satisfied (an impossible feat, of course), worked for days and days planning and executing a fantastic hospitality room (with a group of very helpful assistants) that kept people fed and happy.
The heart of ICGA was in full swing here as well. The heart (in my thoughts) are the officers of ICGA. Roger Dunham, Cathy Dunham, Becky Cronin, and Barb Chamberlain are amazing people, amazing friends whom I love, and the kind of people who truly love ICGA. These people give time, effort and “heart” to the club because they love it (even when it isn’t so lovable), and they want it to succeed very much. And like any family, we argue from time to time and we don’t always get along, but I guarantee you that this family would come together in the drop of a pin and do anything to help ICGA and its members have an amazing time, make sure that no one feels slighted, and that the club would continue moving forward in its efforts to educate and provide a wonderful vehicle for carnival glass enthusiasts to communicate, meet, enjoy, and share.
It’s always a great feeling, leaving a convention with a giant smile, thinking about how well it went and how so many people are happy with this years’ experience. Hopefully this afterglow will last all the way until next year’s convention, which we need to establish in the next few weeks…
One Month Later
Wow, what a headache! We left the convention last month confident we would have a hotel chosen within a week and announcements ready to roll. Unfortunately, the hotels haven’t been so considerate. LOL! We know this: our convention next year will be in Indiana (either Indianapolis or across the river from Louisville, or possibly up in Shipshewana), and we know it will be July 18-21st (unless the hotel we choose makes us go the week before). But so far, we haven’t signed with a hotel. Why?
Our process is simple. We send out a request for proposal (RFP in meeting planning lingo) to all the various hotels we think could be a great place to hold a convention. We knew we wanted to go to Indiana (preferably Indianapolis, where we haven’t been in several years), and several of the officers and directors had suggestions for hotels, so we emailed them all out and waited for all the proposals to come back. They usually do very quickly. Once the proposals come in, we weed out the ones that just won’t work immediately (the ones that charge $150/night or more, the ones that want to charge $40/night for parking, the ones that want us to spend $10,000 for the banquet dinner, the ones that want to charge us $5,000 for the auction room, etc). Then we take the others that are usually decent to begin with and start negotiating better terms to get more of the things we want for the lowest price possible.
For the first time in memory, every proposal we got back had things that weren’t generally acceptable – all of them want us to pay for the display room, banquet room, and auction room; some wanted way too much money for food/beverage; none of them gave us a hospitality room; and all of them want to scatter us across the hotel with no grouping for room sales. And yes, some of them won’t allow room sales at all, a growing problem we are seeing of late. What compounds the problem is that some of these hotels are places we have held carnival glass conventions before, but their management/ownership changed, which changes most of their policies as well.
But don’t fear, this is indeed a headache, but it is one we will figure out. Once we have the dates and hotel chosen, we will email it out to our members, post it on Facebook, put it on other things like the Hooked on Carnival mailing list, put it on our website, etc. And of course, it will be in the December issue of the Pump. But know that, while it will be awesome (as usual!), it is definitely giving us a headache right now (but that’s why the Board gets paid the big money! Uh, yeah…..).