Monday, May 2, 2011

The Suite Life

I'm the representative for a chapter of an organization that has twice-yearly statewide assemblies. Each chapter sends a representative to the meeting to learn what's going on in the organization and bring the information back to their group. A couple of weeks ago during a gathering of my area's representatives, the leader mentioned that they didn't have anyone to host the Hospitality Room for the upcoming assembly. I thought the job didn't sound too difficult, so a friend and I volunteered to be in charge of the project.

After we volunteered, we found out that there were some perks of the job. Instead of having to pay for our hotel room, the organization provided one. But not just any room. The Hospitality people got a suite right next to the Hospitality Room, and across the hall from the main meeting room.

The meeting took place this past weekend.  It was a busy, but satisfying, couple of days.

I left Friday after lunch, stopping to pick up my friend and two other women who were also attending. It took a bit over three hours to make the drive to the Lake of the Ozarks, where the assembly was being held. We checked in, then rendezvoused back at the car to go to the grocery store.

The hardest part of my job was figuring out how much food to buy for the 120 people that were expected to attend. I had emailed the person who'd done the job before and had some information, but it was still a bit of guesswork. (We ended up buying too many baby carrots and not enough cookies).When we arrived at the grocery store I pulled out my shopping list and everyone else got a cart. Fortunately, the store wasn't busy, because our parade of three grocery carts took up a lot of room when we stopped to get something.  The checkout process was interesting. Each cart went through, and I was at the end to pay for everything. I think the cashier was glad to be finished with us!

We joined several other people for dinner at a nearby restaurant, then went back to the hotel to set up the Hospitality Room for the next day. We arranged baskets of fruit, bowls of vegetables and chips, and platters of cookies. My friend set up the coffee station with two large coffee pots and a smaller pot for hot water, all ready to plug in. Satisfied that we'd done all we could, we called it a night and went to our room.

The suite was connected to the Hospitality Room by a door that could be locked and had two rooms, one with a bed and the other with chairs and a pull-out couch. My friend offered me the bedroom, and set up shop in the "living" area. Both areas had a bathroom, but my part also had a jacuzzi tub, which I didn't have time to use. (However, it came in handy when I washed produce for more than 100 people.)

Saturday morning I had time to relax before the meeting started, because The Hospitality Room didn't open until noon. In the middle of the first meeting session my friend and I stepped across the hall to give the room a final once-over and start the coffee pots. It wasn't supposed to take more than a couple of minutes, but when we found out the electrical outlet we'd plugged the coffee into wasn't working my friend called the Front Desk. They sent someone who solved the problem by running an extension cord to another outlet.

When the meeting broke for lunch I hurried across the hall and opened the Hospitality Room. There were a steady stream of people who stopped by for a snack, or to eat their lunch at one of the tables in the room. Right before the afternoon session started we closed up the room, but for the rest of the day the room got opened each time there was a break.

I ate dinner in the hotel's restaurant, then went back to check on things. After the dinner break there was more meeting activity. When the official business was over for the day my friend and I set things up for Sunday's breakfast--fruit, bagels, donuts, toast, and instant oatmeal, coffee, and juice. After my long day, my bed felt really good.

We had more coffee pot issues Sunday morning, but managed to make it through breakfast without running out. However, I was glad when the meeting room opened, because the hotel had drinks there, too. There were several items on the morning's agenda. When the meeting was over my friend and I packed things up in the Hospitality Room, found the other women coming home with us, and got ready to leave.

Doing all the extra work definitely made for a busy weekend.  I really earned that free room, but figuring the job would be easier a second time, my friend and I signed up to do it again in the fall.


  1. WOW! a great description of our weekend. you definitely earned that bed all to yourself! didn't we have fun??? i'll happily take orders from you next time!!

  2. That's awesome that you got a "free" stay at the hotel and it sounds as though things went smoothly for you. Fantastic job! The second time will be much easier, you know what to expect more or less. I find this with catering for large groups of people or having the family over for a BBQ like I'm planning at the end of May. I love the rush and the excitement that goes along with feeding people, there's something about it that's so rewarding! Way to go!

  3. There are NEVER enough cookies....that's been my experience. People love sweets.....especially at meetings....smiles.

  4. too many carrots and not enough cookies. lol....