Hi! My name is Holly Nelson. In early October 2017, I saw the opening for an innkeeper, and I jumped at it! I met with my Division Head, Emily, got onboarded, and started organizing all the data. I started meeting people online and getting the work done.
Four weeks after I’d started my position, we found out that three floors of the hotel would be unavailable. I was horrified! I was sure that my very first “big” role at Arisia was going to go down in flames as I became the Innkeeper who had to kick people out of the hotel.
We spent a week discussing what to do and how to handle it. We scheduled a phone meeting to finalize the timeline, announcements, and FAQs. The meeting included me, the conchair, and a few assistant con chairs. This type of situation with the hotel was a first! What stuck out to me the most that night, was everyone’s positive energy and optimism.
Over the following two weeks, I was amazed as I received at least a couple transfer volunteers every single day. Our communications team pulled out all the stops and got the word out in as many channels as possible. Some members were able to spend part of the weekend at the Aloft, and Sunday night at the Westin. Others told me that the shuttle and the savings were great reasons to switch. Still others liked the feeling that they were helping someone for whom a move would have been exceptionally difficult. The hotel division and the communications division were instrumental in their support and assistance.
Exactly two weeks after our telephone meeting, I received the final volunteer we needed. I was sitting at dinner with our con chair and a few others, and we toasted our volunteers! Before the announcement, I was so worried about upsetting people, and being the bearer of bad news. It was like this enormous weight magically lifted.
It was so rewarding to work with our members and staff to solve this enormous problem. I am continually amazed at how well the staff works together and how passionate everyone is about Arisia. While being Innkeeper during the biggest room shortage in Arisia history may not have been the ideal way to join the staff, it worked for me. I witnessed the staff work through what could have been a disaster, and we had a great Arisia!
One positive outcome that occurred: suites weren’t sold out, so guest rooms used for function space (like the Quiet Room) were moved into suite parlors! Each room that was moved into a parlor opened up an extra sleeping room, and allowed a little more space for those functions.
It takes many dedicated people to make Arisia happen, and I encourage anyone to volunteer. Whatever your talents or interests, we will find a way for you to help. The staff is supportive and welcoming to newcomers. I had a rewarding experience and I can’t wait to help again for Arisia 2019! Please join us!