Conclusions of Following My Bliss: One Last Post Regarding Blissdom

Opryland hotel 1 Friday Fiasco

On the last night of Blissdom, I had to vacate my beautifully appointed, fabulously comfortable room, equipped with its own tiny private balcony at the Opryland Hotel and go a short distance to the Radisson due to the Opryland overbooking for that night. I was repeatedly told that this was no problem because there was a free shuttle that ran back and forth between these two hotels. In fact, I was told this upon making my reservations at the Opryland; when making reservations at the Radisson; upon checking in at the Opryland; when checking out of the Opryland; when dropping off my bags at the bell hop station; and when picking up my bags just prior to trying to make my way over to the Radisson.

It turns out that there is no longer a shuttle that runs between the two hotels. No one could quite tell me when this service ceased to exist though. There is a sedan service that makes that run, but apparently there is only one. And apparently the one sedan driver takes his dinner break around 6 pm {which is the time I was ready to make the switch}.

Thankfully, there was a kind bell hop who told me he would get it all worked out. And he did, after 45 minutes of scurrying between the valet office and the concierge and back and forth to me to give me a report. And each time I told him "No, that won't do," he would tell me, "OK, I'll be back," and scurry off again. He finally worked out a very simple solution of calling a cab and giving me a voucher for paying for the service considering I had repeatedly been given incorrect information from the Opryland.

About that time my new friend, Kristina L., showed up and rode with me. And it's a good thing too. Once I got to the Radisson, where there was a "Woodturners Association Convention" being held and half of the rooms under construction, it was clear I had dropped many levels in the hotel ratings chart. As Kristina and I followed the instructions for locating my room we ended up outside. Yes, outside. It turns out there were rooms with exterior doors and windows. I took one look at this situation and my paranoid mind went to work. I didn't even bother going inside the room. We went right back to Rod at the front desk and said, "No thanks." Of course, with the Woodturners staying there and the Opryland being overbooked, they were "quite full," but Rod was able to get another exterior room, but this one was on the 3rd floor with access from the inside of the hotel only; acceptable, but just barely.

Then, I found out that there was actually a shuttle that would pick us up at the Radisson and take us back to the Opryland for the evening festivities. To clarify, this shuttle would not be making a return trip from the Opryland to the Radisson though. In fact, this shuttle was the airport shuttle, but at night it turned into the "Wild Horse Saloon" shuttle. Not to worry at daybreak "Poof" it was the airport shuttle again.

The lively old driver was made of stuff found only in the South. He was a mixture of both of my grandfathers. His southern accent was thick, and he was full of sass. He was concerned about me getting back later since we weren't actually going to the "Wild Horse Saloon." When I asked him if he would be driving the airport shuttle in the morning, he told me, "Nah, I'll be sobered up by then." He said I should've kept the 1st floor, exterior room so that I could sneak in my boyfriend later. I told him, "Sir, I'm a married woman." His reply: "That why I said 'sneak in your BOYFRIEND.'" He had us laughing and forgetting the past hour of complications.

Despite the lacking accommodations, loud traffic and trains all night and an over-active imagination conjuring up visions of a serial hotel killer laying in wait for me, I made it through the night, to the airport and home. I did leave my coat and gloves in the overhead compartment on the flight from Nashville to Chicago and as of last night, now have two sick boys. Even still, it's good to be home.

Win or Lose?

I have been thinking about what I gained from going to Blissdom: Was it worth it? Do I want to go again? What did learn? What information do I have to pass along to others thinking of going to a social media conference? Here's what I have come up with so far:

  1. Bring a Buddy! After two big conferences, I now know this is the most important part to a successful conference.
  2. Don't expect to get much from the sessions. You might luck out and gain some new knowledge or at the very least get some affirmation that you are going about things the right way.
  3. Talk to the people around you in each session, at each meal and in line even if they don't speak to you first. You WILL make friends. You WILL find Your People! Don't worry about the ones who blow you off, ignore you or quickly put away their business cards when you try to speak to them or give them a card. Clearly, they are not Your People.
  4. Don't worry about meeting the bloggers that "are kind of a big deal on twitter" and elsewhere. Most don't care about meeting you or hearing about your "little" blog, but they do like to hear how much you LOVE their blogs and what a big deal you think they are to the world.
  5. Do bring chocolate or other desired snack to substitute for a {sponsored} meal or keep you going for the next 12 hours. {And if going to Blissdom, bring water. It's hard to find, unless you want to pay $3 per bottle}
  6. Great keynote speakers can make up for the disappointing sessions. Great keynote speakers can make the whole trip worth it. {Thumbs up to Brene' Brown and Scott Stratten}
  7. Make hotel reservations as soon as you possibly can. You do not want to have to change hotels or stay in a location other than where the conference is being held.
  8. Not every blog has a niche {as in specialized market} that includes other blogs. Some, like Motherly Law, are in a niche by themselves.
  9. Not every blogger cares about forming relationships with brands. {I'm talking about me here.}
  10. Lounging alone in a quiet, clean, toy-free and comfortable hotel room, reading Us Weekly and eating chocolate is heaven for this tired, busy, loud-mouth mom.

The Scoop

So, yes, the trip was worth it. And maybe I'll go back next year or maybe I'll try another conference and become an "expert" at being a 1st time attendee at social media conferences. And now I'm finished talking about Blissdom. Over and out..


You might also like:

 I Am an Onion....

#BlissdomDay 1: What I Learned Today ...

TheTop 13 Things I Learned in NY While Attending the BlogHerConference


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