Chicago- Day 1

I’m blogging offline tonight as the hotel charges $10 for internet access — ridiculous. Sure, it’s 90% profit for them, but it’s a really poor customer satisfaction move. I can guarantee I won’t be coming back to this hotel (I will look for free WiFi next time). If I was a businessman needing to do work from my room, I guess I’d pay it, but $10 to check email and blog? No thanks. I’ll have WiFi at the workshop tomorrow so I’ll post this from there.

The drive (about 7 hours) felt quick- an iPod on shuffle can do wonders. I listened to a bunch of Venture Voice podcasts to start the entrepreneurial juices flowing today.

I also was able to play with my newest toy more- it’s a Garmin GPS 60. After telling it where I was headed it quickly figured out distance, ETA, and began tracking my journey. I had to add some major cities along the route to get an accurate measurement (94 doesn’t go in a straight line). It was nice to have a constant update on where I was and how far I had to go.

I arrived in downtown Chicago around 8pm and found the hotel. After a bit of down time I headed out to find dinner. I almost went to the hotel restaurant, not wanting to get lost, but I’m glad I didn’t. I stumbled upon Emilio’s Tapas and knew it was the place.

Tapas is Spanish . I had a macaroni dish with ground lamb, peppers and mozzarella and a chicken kabob thing. I also ordered a cabernet which was delicious. A triple layer mousse desert topped things off. The atmosphere and music were top notch. Two thumbs up.

While I was at the restaurant Bob called to see if I was at Nye’s Polonaise Room in Minneapolis hanging out with Eric (I obviously wasn’t at Nye’s). Then Jen (Bob’s wife) called to see if I was at Nye’s (again, I wasn’t). I love irony.

On the surreality of hotels
I seem to forget the alternate reality hotels exist. Somehow I’m always surprised by the $4 (or $10) bottle of water, the $3 candy bars, and ridiculously priced room service (don;t even get me started on parking prices around here!). I wonder when we’ll have a Jet Blue style hotel chain (excellent and cheap) or if we’ll see Japanese style mini-hotels arriving in metro areas anytime soon.

Time for bed- I have to be up early tomorrow. The geekery begins at 9am!

3 Responses to “Chicago- Day 1”

  • Amy Says:

    Charging for wireless was one of our most frequent complaints at the hotel. With the Hilton corporation, each brand has a signature feature. The Embassy Suites is known for their free cocktail reception and cooked-to-order breakfast. At any other brand, you may get a free breakfast, but it’s more than likely going to be a continental breakfast. They have to bring in revenue to help cover the expense of these two features, and unfortunately charging for WiFi is one of those ways (and for the record, we only made a 50% profit from our WiFi sales). Now if you would have stayed at the Hampton Inn, you would be able to get free WiFi, but the hotel is not as nice.

    I can just about imagine the cost for parking. Being that I worked at a downtown location, we charged for parking also. Keep in mind, that there really is no such thing as “free parking” in any downtown setting. I can’t speak for the hotel you’re staying at, but the parking ramp at the hotel I worked at is owned by the city. They charge us, therefore we have to charge the customer.

    Okay, I’m done with my defense of the hotel industry.

  • Nick Says:

    The breakfast sucked.

    Parking: $8 for 30 minutes, $32 for 12-24 hours.

    Looks like I’m a Hampton Inn kind of guy 😉

  • Tommy Says:

    Thanks for blogging about the conference. Good stuff. I need to get off my butt and drive from St. Louis to Chicago and attend one of their sessions …

    I just had to comment about Internet access in hotels. I am the VP of marketing for an online, virtual company. Last year we had our first annual user conference outside of DC. The hotel was booked by one of the owners and they actually wanted to charge us $14.95 for each user, per day. I think I said something along the lines of “we’re spending $40,000 with you and your going to nickel and dime me for Internet access. I mean you’re Hilton. Give me a break.”

    For me Internet access is like having water or a clean sheets. It should just be a given. But most, if not all hotels charge me for it. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

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