Saturday, October 22, 2005

Rooms Blanketed

In Thursday’s post, I threw out a joke about Houston’s handling the 2005 World Series and the International Quilt Festival at the same time. I spoke with the same Chicago cousin, quilt enthusiast Miriam Eisenberg, that same evening. She built on the joke, stating that there might not be any hotel rooms available for the baseball fans, since 50,000 quilters from all over the world will be in town and filling up the hotels.

I laughed a lot – influenced no doubt by that third gin-and-a-whisper-of-vermouth at our regular Thursday Martini Night outing.

Turns out this is no laughing matter. This morning’s Chronicle Business Section features an article headlined “Quilters covering most hotel rooms.” According to reporter John C. Roper, hoteliers say that if people haven’t booked their rooms for the World Series by now, they could be staying 40 miles or more from Minute Maid Park.

Stan Skadal, senior director of sales for the Hyatt Regency Downtown here, was quoted in an earlier Chronicle article: “Unfortunately for Major League Baseball, we can’t accommodate them, which we are quite sad about. But contracts are contracts.” The Hyatt is sold out for next week and has a contract through 2010 with the quilters.

Houston’s hotel situation is complicated by the large number of evacuees who are also staying in our hotel rooms, courtesy of FEMA.

Just like the Super Bowl, Houston home-owners are cashing in. For householders near our downtown stadium, nightly rates are going in the $900 range. (I told Barbara we should have moved inside the Loop once the kids left home.)

Hurricanes. World Series. Quilt Shows. This is what happens when marketing meets the synchronicity of events.

Photo from Star of East, unknown maker. Hand appliquéd, pieced, and quilted. Embellished with embroidered chain stitch. (77" x 95").

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