I have just completed a most complicated business trip. Complicated because I was to be in three different cities (Calgary, Edmonton and Superior, WI) in 3 days, giving a one hour key note in each of those cities. As if that wasn’t enough, while in Calgary, I was also to conduct 2-90 minute webinars for another client. In theory, all of this was doable, and for the first two thirds of this trip, it worked very well.
I’m going to share some insights, experiences and adventures; because I think they are just too good not to share.
I left home on Monday, June 11, driving to LAX to get the first flight, from LAX to Calgary. I was very deliberate about packing light, thinking it would be easier to carry on than check in (and also more fiscally responsible). However, what I didn’t take into account is that the airlines are flying smaller and smaller planes. So, what was once considered ‘carry on’ luggage will no longer fit in the overhead compartments, and must be checked in (cha ching). So, for the Calgary leg of the journey, I got away with it and carried my luggage all the way to the gate. It was at the gate that I was nabbed (my carry on was 2” larger than permitted); they tagged my suitcase and sent it off to the bowels of the plane.
As I got on the plane, the flight attendants were greeting all at the bottom of the gate. I wore my newest, favorite style statement (my black straw fedora). One of the flight attendants was most appreciative of my look, and complimented me. Then, she put her hand up, and said “Wait.” She said it with such authority that I obeyed. She went into the washroom, brought out a tissue, and whispered to me, “You have a booger hanging out of your left nostril.” What? Really? First, sheer embarrassment, then grateful for her….what an auspicious way to start this trip, wouldn’t you say?
Arrive Calgary, Monday June 11th. All is well. Nice hotel (I’d been there before). Great meeting rooms. Really good food. VERY expensive (a little above average sleeping rooms are $399 (US) a night!). And, I’m always astounded just how late it stays light (because it’s so far north). I had dinner outdoors, and read without any ambient light, until 9PM!
Tuesday was my really anxious day. Working with a Vancouver based client, delivering two webinars in one day. One at 8:30AM (ending at 10AM), and the other at 3:30PM (ending at 5PM). New technology for me; thankfully a topic I’ve taught many times. Well, technology was my friend that day. It all worked well, with one exception. In preparation for this webinar, I contacted the hotel and reserved/ rented their ‘executive boardroom’ which was nothing more than a meeting room, within the business center, with a small table, and internet access. Just as I’m beginning my morning webinar, a family comes into the business center: mom, dad, a six year old boy and his 3 year old younger brother. About 15 minutes into my webinar, the younger boy decides he doesn’t want to be there anymore and begins to wail! Loudly! The doors to the boardroom didn’t close all the way; it was quite the challenge. Mom didn’t pay attention to the screaming little boy. Eventually they left, although none too soon.
Fast forward to Edmonton. Arrive at the hotel at about 11PM. I had confirmed reservations. At check in, the clerk tells me there are no rooms and they’d be happy to make a reservation for me at another hotel. What? I have a confirmed, guaranteed reservation with a reservation number. ‘Yes, Mrs. Edwards, we know that. However, several large parties that were to check out today decided to stay and I’m afraid we don’t have any rooms left.’ I relied heavily on my Franklin Covey teachings, and worked to maintain my calm. ‘Sorry, that’s not acceptable,’ I say and ask this very nervous clerk to find me a room. Round and round we went for what seemed an eternity until finally he said, ‘Yes, we have a room!’ ‘Good.’ ‘It’s a meeting room, and we’ll roll in a cot for you.’ Really? ‘No, that’s not acceptable.’ ‘Sorry, Mrs. Edwards, that’s the best we can do. There are rooms at other hotels; we’d arrange for transportation for your class tomorrow and everything.’ ‘No, that’s not acceptable.’ Now, it’s getting late and I’m really starting to get cranky, tired, irritable and generally unpleasant. ‘Could you please let me talk to your manager?’ ‘Certainly,’ said the anxious clerk. He goes into the sales office, and a few minutes later comes out, without his manger. ‘ My manager has offered to give up his sleeping room so that you may have it.’ Come again? Your manager has a room reserved for himself and you were going to send me to another hotel instead? Finally, I get into my room at about 12:30.
Class the next day was fine, and I head off to the airport for the most complicated portion of this trip. I’m flying to Denver this evening, connecting the next day at 6AM through Minneapolis St. Paul to Duluth MN. I am teaching in a very small town, Superior WI, and Duluth is the closest airport.
Stay tuned for Part 2….
Author: Andrea Edwards
Andrea Edwards is a Senior Consultant and Director of Client Results for FranklinCovey’s Western Region. She is passionate about helping clients achieve their wildly important goals.
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