I hadn't posted much after the Salesforce.com International Conference - being a small biz owner myself, I came back to lots of work and items to do. There were so many conference topics and experiences to talk about, and I will do that over time - but first this:
It turned out that on the night I was to leave, I got into some conversations that basically caused me to miss my flight. Yikes. A quick call to Alaska Air proved no other flight to Seattle that night (unbelievable) - so the last-minute limo taking me in a hurry to SFO had to turn around and I needed one more nights' lodging.
Since I do run a small business, I did not book at the host hotel, the Marriott, because the "special" conference rate was over $200 per night. Instead, I was at the Bates Motel.... ok, it was really called the Mark Twain - a potentially delightful old place, except that the bed was so soft I woke up hunched over for half a day (not to mention, the televisions are placed even with the bed in the next room, so it sounded like my neighbors were in my room all night.
Not wanting to hassle with walking with luggage or taking a cab, I was content at the Marriott, where we had a vendor-provided open bar (need I say more?) and I begrudgingly asked the front desk about any available rooms. It turned out that the SF Marriott was full, BUT, the friendly desk clerk told me to hang on a minute. Once she returned, she said, "I found you a little room up on the 27th floor." I thanked her and proceeded there - to find a very large suite. Once I lay on the bed, I realized why it was worth it to pay the higher rate. In Seth Godin's blog, he discussed the mattresses at the Marriott. Wow. I think after my two other nights of tossing and turning, I might have paid double.
Translated to small biz owners, including myself - don't worry about a price gap between you and your industry counterparts - as long as you can justify it. My touting the wonderful experience at the hotel will certainly justify their upgrading me - and I re-learned the valuable lesson of value.