With the horrific flooding in Nashville, Tennessee, our RWA annual conference found itself displaced this week. The Opryland Hotel was in an even worse situation with ten feet of water flooding out the hotel conference rooms and restaurants. It was so sad to watch that on the news and to think of the tragedies happening in the state, and of the deaths and injuries and loss of homes. My heart goes out to all of those people who have suffered, and I hope and pray they can restore their city as quickly as possible.
But I do have to be honest, I was personally disappointed. I so wanted to go to Nashville. I'd hoped we could find another venue as I really wanted us as an organization to feed our tourist dollars back into that city, or if not, at least the state. But, it couldn't be done. Three months out is not enough time to book a hotel for a huge conference that accomodates 2,500 people, a black tie dinner, and numerous daytime conference or workshop rooms, plus have the room numbers to accomodate everyone. I know that, I understand that, but in a tiny corner of my heart I'm still sad. Maybe we'll make it to Tennessee in future years.
So we've had our hotel reservation deposits credited, our registration for conference still stands, but now we wrestle with the airlines. Ouch! I don't know if they'll honor my flight changes yet. I've put in a call but now it has to go to the reservations desk and they'll see what they can do. I used American Airlines advantage mileage, so it might just cost me a few more miles.
I worry about friends though. Some bought tickets that are unable to be changed, and they don't have travel insurance. Some from the East Coast intended to drive and now have to include the cost of a flight into their budget. I wonder how this will all play out? It must be an awful time for the organization, trying to hustle around and rearrange everything. A lot of our revenue comes from the annual conference, and I know they are doing the best they can do under these unexpected circumstances.
So, we have to go to hot, sticky, middle of Florida at the end of July, in the middle of summer vacation, to a theme park (you can tell I'm not a theme park goer) where there will be far too many kids. I'm still intending to go. I love this organization, and I'll do whatever I have to do to be loyal and show my support.
Orlando, here I come. Sigh.