Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Notes from off the road

I feel like Clark W. Griswold, having just come off the road and 4600 miles of driving.  It was fun but tiring and I am paying the price for my trip with a wonderful summer cold. So if you will all indulge me, here are my thoughts about the last two weeks.

ICSC's RECon meeting in Las Vegas was great.  It was so good to put a few faces and voices together, some of whom I have known only by the latter for ten years.  We also had a great tweetup at the meeting; my only regret was that I could not stay the whole hour.  As to my sense of the show, the smaller size meant the floors were crowded. Not the Eisenhower Expressway at rush hour, but crowded enough.  Tenants were telling landlords that they wanted and needed to be in certain locations, but on terms that may have been a little less favorable to landlords -- perhaps shorter terms and more options, rent concessions, etc.  There may not have been the urgency of a few years ago (remember I was a first timer) but these meetings were, in my humble opinion, more than mere meet and greets.

If you want to drive traffic to your blog, say something about prominent politicians.  I had unbelievable traffic here after giving my candid views on the keynote speech.  But this is an industry blog, not a political blog.  And the carried interest tax did pass the House last week.

Hotels were, by and large, more crowded than I expected, but rooms were always available and often at reasonable prices.  I actually tried Hotwire two nights and would not repeat the experience.  I want a guarantee of the room type and the ability to make special requests (even if they cannot be granted); I also for whatever reason felt like a second class citizen.

I am shocked that a major hotel chain allows its franchisees to still have second floor walk-up units in their mid to high range flags.  When you travel with an 81 year old that is somewhat problematic, especially when the flag refuses to (or cannot) give you another room.

Kudos to Marriott, by the way.  They have a stringent book but it shows in property quality; even 30 year old properties (with periodic PIPs were still nice).  Ditto to Hilton.

The house we rented in Las Vegas was a great way to be in the city.  I am not much of a gambler and the Strip is just so crowded.  It was nice to have our own pool and jacuzzi, a kitchen and plenty of room to spread out. I would do that again in a heartbeat.

A 65 mph speed limit in rural Illinois is ludicrous.  The 70-75 mph (even 80 for one small experimental stretch) limits we encountered to our west were more reasonable. 

Everyone should take a long car trip at least once in his or her life. Yes, planes are convenient, but you miss the beauty of this country and its people when you travel by air.

Of course, post-vacation and post-ICSC traffic are keeping me busy, so let me stop here.  Back to work!

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