Wednesday, March 9, 2016

To Marriott or Not to Marriot

By: J.T. Evans

… that is the question.

Or something like that, right?

Before every Pikes Peak Writers Conference, we often receive questions about the advantages of staying at the Marriott. Obviously, if you're from out of town, staying at the Marriott is a no-brainer.

However, for the Colorado Springs (and surrounding area) folks, it's a matter of balancing the budget against the pros of staying at the Marriott.

My first conference was in 2010, and I made the 45-minute drive between my home outside Monument to the Marriott each day and night. I didn't feel like I had missed out on much because I got to attend a full day of classes, hang out with writerly types at the meals, and generally made a good day of things.

However, each evening I dragged my full brain and tired body to the car to head home and noticed my fellow writers headed to the bar area to hang out for drinks and relaxed fun.
I didn't know what I was missing out on!

I did know that I was missing out on roughly 90 minutes of sleep each day while I did my drive back and forth. Those 90 minutes of sleep are vitally important, especially during a conference.
Colorado Springs Marriott

When 2011 rolled around, I barely made it to the Marriott for the conference on Thursday morning. One of those not-too-unusual April snow storms hit the day before and continued on through Friday. Living at high altitude like I do meant we landed a good amount of snow. My wife was generous enough to loan me her SUV (my sedan couldn't handle the snow), and I managed to creep my way through drifts and icy conditions to the Marriott.
At the afternoon break, I called my wife for a weather report, and she said there was no way for me to get home, not even in her SUV.

I'd been snowed out of my house!

I had to find a room somewhere. Racing to the Marriott's front desk, I asked with deep concern, "Are there any rooms left available for Pikes Peak Writers?"
The wonderful staff at the Marriott immediately got me into a room, and I settled in for the rest of the weekend. I did have to bounce to the nearest superstore to buy emergency changes of clothes, toiletries, and other miscellaneous supplies, but I managed to get through the weekend.

By having a room in 2011, I learned the value of what every conference and convention calls "BarCon." It’s not just about downing the drinks.

BarCon is all about relaxing after a long day of intense learning. It's about hanging out with your tribe. It's about networking, making connections on a personal and professional level. You get to swap stories of great success and receive immense comfort for the stories of abject failure. Yes, there are drinks involved, which is a whole other reason to get a room at the Marriott: no driving required.

The "official activities" of Pikes Peak Writers Conference are amazing, wonderful, educational, and insightful.

However, hanging out with friends, old and new alike, until well after midnight soothes the soul, energizes the mind, and fills the heart.

By staying at the Marriott, you can take advantage of all of this without missing out on (even more) sleep, and without worrying about something keeping you away from PPWC each day.

I can't, in good faith, let you go without knowing about the downside of staying at the Marriott.

It's not free.

It's not horribly expensive either. The rate for PPWC attendees at the Marriott is $107 per night. This is a fantastic rate for such a high quality hotel.

If you're ready to attend our conference and want to get a room, head over to our Marriott page, and get all of the details. Look for the link to reserve your room with the discount already applied. 

PS: You never know when you might run into an agent and two editors talking shop in the closed down bar at two in the morning. Yeah. That happened to me in 2012. What a great night! If I'd driven home, I would have never had that experience.

About the Author: J.T. Evans writes fantasy novels. He also dabbles with science fiction and horror short stories. He is the president of Pikes Peak Writers. When not writing, he keeps computers secure at the Day Job, homebrews great beers, spends time with his family, and plays way too many card/board/role-playing games.