Thursday, November 30, 2006

What I Learned in San Antonio

I spent the last 4 days in San Antonio, TX participating as a trainer/presenter at a conference. Althought I used to travel as many as 14 times a year for work my travel schedule has been cut back to usually 3-5 trips for the last couple of years. I know there are a lot of frequent travellers out there with suggestions about how to beat long ticket lines, score the best rooms or speed through airport security, but I learned a couple of interesting lessons on this trip:

Lesson 1 - Where the heck am I?
Clearly, you should know what city you are visiting, what hotel you are staying in and major landmarks near your destination, but there is one more thing you might want to investigate. What county are you visiting?

"What county?" you ask, "Why would I need to know that?"

Here's why. One evening during my trip a very strong cold front moved through the area, triggering tornado warnings and watches from the National Weather Service. Now, I appreciate highly the work done by NWS and the Emergency Broadcast System. However, I have no earthly idea what county San Antonio is part of, or which counties it sits next to. So when the warning came on listing several counties, I didn't know whether to sit in the bathtub and cover my head, just keep watching the non-stop stream of Law and Order reruns on cable, or go out to the Itallian restaurant I had a hankering for.

Lesson 2 - Check The Weather At Home, Too
I checked for San Antonio before I left Salt Lake. Ahhhhhhhh! Temps in the mid 80's until late Wednesday or Thursday when I return. Excelent! I will wear a light fleece vest to the airport, pack it to San Antonio and I'll be great.


I got of the plane in Salt Lake today and was met with temps in the low 20's. I had a long walk in the economy parking lot to my truck, in which I had no scrapper to remove the 4 inches of snow and ice. Gotta check that hometown weather for the return date next time.

Lesson 3 - Frequent Stay Programs are Great!
When I checked into the Westin Riverwalk (and excellent hotel) I was greated by Marissa. I asked for a non-smoking room and when she said the entire hotel was non-smoking I joking said, "Well, I'll take a big room then." At that point she asked me if I was a member of Starwood Rewards, looked up my number and told me that on my last stay I became a "gold" member of the program. She then became my favorite hotel employee of the year when she said "I have a suite available for you at no additional charge".

Suite? Sweeeeet!

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