Well folks, it's just a few weeks until the Insider meetup at the Downtown JW Marriott in Houston. Most of you know it better as TIPPLE. Some may be wondering what wonderful things are planned for the weekend, so here is a detailed schedule of everything happening.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
7pm - 9pm (19:00 - 21:00 for those who prefer using the 24-hour time format)
Cocktail reception hosted by Marriott courtesy our very own community manager, NathalieF. Food will be served because Nathalie said she doesn't want anyone to go hungry.
In case you missed all the previous announcements, brightlybob and I made it clear that over-planning would never be an issue for this gathering. We've stuck by that from the very beginning. The rest of the weekend is wide open to do whatever you wish.
We will have around the clock access to the Griffin Lounge and while there is no official event planned for Friday night, we will be gathering there to share travel stories and insights (sort of an in-person version of this site). The majority of attendees plan to be in Houston both Friday and Saturday night, though several people will not be arriving until Saturday.
We'll still add people to the "guest list," but hotel accommodations are up to you, as our special rate at the JW needed to booked last week. If the JW won't work for you, a SHS, CY, ResInn and an Autograph property are all within a few blocks. For a current list of planned attendees see THE TIPPLE REGISTER IS HERE... and the Saturday @3pm sneak-peak. I know some on the list are still unsure if they will actually be there. That's fine. I've given Marriott a count of 29. If we end up with a slightly smaller number, it just means brightlybob will need to drink any excess beer.
I'm looking forward to meeting many friends I made on this site as well as seeing again those few I've been fortunate enough to visit with before.
With over two dozen of us, I imagine there will at least that many different versions of the event posted on MRI in mid to late September. Those not in attendance will have to do their best to sort out which of those stories come closest to the truth.
Jeans? You might be overdressed. Seems to me that IAHFLYR said somewhere he'd be wearing, t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. I'm not sure I can pull off that level of casual, but I have decided not to pack my tuxedo.
bejacob, and fellow TIPPLERs, anything goes in Houston! I like IAHFLYR's shorts and t-shirt plan, but you will see a little bit of everything. Casual is the call - it will still be warm (aka hot everywhere else). You will see people dining in nice restaurants still in jeans and a nice shirt. Pack whatever is casually comfortable for you, and all ya'll will fit right in!
Oh it'll be flip flops, shorts and if not a t-shirt something very close it it.
As nationwide mentioned in his downtown intel, you'll see everything and very casual will get you into almost every venue you can imagine. Although there are a few spots you may feel kinda of out of place dressed as I will be if people pointing at you bothers you.
This is so great bejacob!! A special thanks to all that have helped make sure this event is as great as it can be and to all of the Insiders who are embarking on this wonderful trip/event!! Totally looking forward to the pictures and stories that come out of this event!
Welcome back SeaTexan! Good to see you posting again! Hope the vacation was great!
And we're excited that you're excited.
It does promise to be a fun weekend. I'm sure brightlybob will be assigning tasks (much like he did after nationwide was named a Featured Insider) so maybe it's a good idea to curb your enthusiasm until you know what will be expected of you.
In all seriousness, with all the folks planning on being there, I can't imagine not having a great time.
Well. SeaTexan it has to do with dog-leashes and nickel-a-throw psychiatry...
Oh, no, thats MrB
Just 2 weeks on Friday bejacob, its a long time since we first raised this idea in snowy January...
And anyone can still join us... Come one, come all!
The walking distance SHS and CY are still available at around $90 and the standard advance purchase for the JW has slightly reduced to $204...
And the Downtown Houston Hotels | Residence Inn Houston Downtown which is co-located in the old Humble Oil Building with the CY is available currently at $104 while the Hotels in Houston | Autograph Collection | Hotel ICON Houston is currently available at $128 and is also within walking distance to the JW.
Everyone is welcome as brightlybob says. All we ask is that you let us know that you'll be joining us so we can get an approximate count. That will help Marriott make sure they have enough food and beverages available for the size of our group.
Just add a comment to this topic or here (THE TIPPLE REGISTER IS HERE... and the Saturday @3pm sneak-peak). We'll include you on the official/unofficial guest list. This late in the process, we don't really expect any more changes, though we don't mind added a few more folks.
For those of you already planning on being Houston. See you there!
Alas, my MRI friends, I will not make the first annual TIPPLE gathering. I have had my room booked since the beginning of the planning stages and was intent on going but was waiting to purchase the airline ticket. After returning late last night from again visiting my parents (they live 3 hours away), I finally admitted to myself that I cannot travel to Houston that weekend. You see, they are "on their way out" and there is just a lot going on at this point for me to be too far away. Plus there are my other family responsibilities and two jobs pulling me in many directions. You know that gut feeling we get sometimes? I can't ignore this one. I had let brightlybob know a few weeks ago that I was on the fence and I'm still trying to see how I can do it all, but I'm going to have to let you guys have all the fun! I am incredibly sad that I'm going to miss meeting each of you in person. Lately I've been lurking more than participating so don't think I have fallen off the face of the earth; I've just been occupied with more personal matters. I know you will have a wonderful time, so please imbibe the medicinals responsibly and then take a group photo of you rockstars so we can see the outrageous shirts and custom name tags. I really, really want to be there, but it will have to be in spirit only. -Sledchick
Very sorry to learn of your concerns and wish you and your family the best in these very very difficult times. I know from when my Parent's were in a similar situation I was spending it seemed more time on airplanes traveling to see them than I was at home. Take care of them and yourself first and we will be sure to hoist a medicinal in your honor for being with them.
Sorry that you won't make it, but from someone who has been in that situation you made the right decision and will be missed by us all.
Take care and bless you.
Thank you for your kind words, my friend IAHFLYR. As you well know, it's just my turn at this point of life. Most people have to go through this if they're lucky enough to have parents still alive/around. And I will certainly be hoisting a medicinal that weekend and toasting all of you!!!
Sledchick We will miss you! Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. From my own experience, I know you are making the right call, and won't regret it for a second. Take care.
Sending you lots of well wishes to you and yours during this difficult time, Sledchick.
Sledchick, sorry to read about your parents issues and sorry you won't be able to attend the gathering (this time ). I was looking forward to meeting you. I'm glad that you're tuned in to making the best choices for your family. I did a lot of traveling back and forth for a couple of years when my Dad was ill, and it was the best decision ever. I'll always treasure the extra time I got to spend with him, even though it was difficult. We will be thinking of you and will raise our glasses fondly to our one and only Sledchick. And hey, we'll photoshop you in!
There is no next one. At least not yet.
Some folks have suggested doing something like this yearly. I would be surprised if it happened that often. We could well do something like this again, but that remains to be seen. I'm not saying there will not be a future gathering, nor am I saying there will be. It's just not time to talk about that yet.
Right now the focus is on making this one a success.
Well, 702rugbyref, I know that the very professional sounding TIPPLE name indicates that this meetup is some kind of official event organised annually by Marriott, but I'm afraid it's not! I invented the very-professional-sounding TIPPLE name (The Insiders Points & Palliative Liquor Event) and with more than a little help from my friends, bejacob, IAHFLYR, and the much-missed (by me anyway) Misterchk raised awareness. After a while we approached NathalieF from Marriott who helped negotiate a special rate and encouraged corporate to put up a Saturday reception. More recently our featured Insider nationwide stepped in to assist. This is the first ever large-scale Insiders meetup and if there are to be any future ones, Marriott corporates involvement may or may not occur, and of course someone, or someones, will have to organise and co-ordinate it. Though I've enjoyed the part I've played in TIPPLEs promotion and organisation, it has taken a lot of my time and I'm certainly not offering to repeat it next year. I know a few people mentioned trying to run a TIPPLE next year in Mexico, which sounds wonderful but may struggle to get the numbers, to my mind if someone is to pick up the baton for next year they'd be well advised to stick to a US hub city to maximise ease of economic transport. But what happens after TIPPLE and who runs it is a matter for another day, preferably one after September 17th.
See you at the one (and to date only) TIPPLE, folks...
Thanks for the reply. I suspect tons of work to get 20+ folks together. iwill nto attend if in Mexico. I was planning on this one but I need to go see and possibly put my mother in an assisted living home in New Brunswick Canada. I had booked and even 'obtained permission' from the wifey...in vain as it turns out. Cheers Phil
Fair warning gang. brightlybob has now arrived on US soil and if the rumour is true, his suitcase is filled with colourful Hawaiian shirts. It might be a wise precaution to bring sunglasses or other eye protection.
No word on whether other attendees will be wearing "outrageous" shirts.
In a handful of days, many of the most active contributors to this site will be gathering in Houston.
The last time something like this happened was ... well never. Though in November 2014, there was a small gathering in Washington. D.C. Insiders Get Together - Mayflower Hotel. Only a few Insiders were present, erc, pluto77, and bejacob. NathalieF was there too. She had just become the Community Manager (officially she is the Senior Manager of the Digital Loyalty Community) a few months earlier and was gracious enough to arrange for a behind the scenes tour of the hotel and a little something to eat and drink.
Well, she's outdone herself this time. She's got us set up with food and drink again for our Saturday evening reception. This time she is also bringing along the Director of Digital and Social Loyalty Community (whew, that's a mouthful), Jasmine Huffman and the head honcho of Marriott Rewards, Thom Kozik (his full title is Vice President of Global Loyalty). What an opportunity! I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm looking forward to talking all three of our Marriott representatives.
I will admit to prodding Nathalie a little, telling her it would be a good opportunity for Marriott interact with some of its most loyal guests.
At this point I'm a little nervous as I hope brightlybob doesn't have a few too many "medicinals" and forget at which chain he is earning bonus points. Be that as it may, I do think those of us in attendance will benefit from interacting with folks who have a real impact on Marriott Rewards. I suspect we will learn something, and I hope, Thom and company learn something equally valuable from us.
Well, enough of that. See you in Houston in a few days. Let's have some fun!
Reasonable request, that Jsucool76 - I can well see why you'd want to discuss it
bejacob, brightlybob, and IAHFLYR thanks to each of you for the work you each invested to make next week happen! I know we are all looking forward to sharing our experiences and truly getting to know one another better. My hope is to leave next weekend with friendships that have been further cemented and having shared perspesctives with our partners at Marriott that provide them some valuable insights. Here's to TIPPLE and all that will benefit from this gathering of friends!
Got some good intel a few minutes ago when I called the JW asking about the parking situation. I talked with the Director of Rooms (his name was either Chris or Kevin or something else like that ) and asked about self-parking if anyone wished to not use the JW Valet. I told him of our experience last month when we arrived on a Friday afternoon around 3ish and he told me they have been working very hard to reduce wait times for the small Valet area in front of the hotel on Main St, so hopefully that will help.
Self-parking is available however; it is not through Marriott and they do not have in/out privileges so you will have to pay each time you exit and re-enter the garage. The garage is located on Walker St. which is the next street after you pass the JW on Main St.
Looking forward to Friday/Saturday and all that brings with it!!
Part 1 of my travel prep has commenced. I just completed what I call my "Wallet Swap Out."
My carry wallet only holds about 6 cards, so I had to dump a few that won't serve a purpose on this trip to make room for some that will (Priority Pass, my american airlines card, etc). I'll be packing a few extra priority pass cards in case we find an agent that doesn't check IDs....sneak some people in. haha.
I will however be bringing my full compliment of cards (however not in my carry wallet) so that I can make it rain credit cards in the Griffin Lounge.
Gotchya. My Son has (or maybe now had) a similar type issue when attempting to use his phone to scan his boarding pass a few months back.....nope, it no worky! Proper planning prevents poor performance so you've done well Jsucool76.
I suppose anything is possible. This is really more of a social event than anything else. I have no doubt we will discuss things about Marriott and the Rewards program. After all, we have the head of Marriott Rewards joining us. I'd be a little surprised if the subject of timeshares comes up. More likely, folks will be discussing their latest travel, upcoming plans, and favorite properties.
Just to make sure everyone is clear, the Insider gathering in Houston (sometimes referred to as TIPPLE) is a social gathering. A group of about 20 of us (many of the folks who post here on a regular basis) are meeting at the JW Houston downtown this coming weekend. I use the word meeting in the sense of people getting together in the same room, not in the sense of conducting business.
We are fortunate that Marriott is sending some important folks to visit with us. I'm sure we'll take the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. It is, however, an informal affair. More important than any discussions will be the chance for us to meet in person. Most of only know each other from what is posted on this forum.
So whatever discussions may take place, the important aspects well be the food, fun, and friendships.
One reason why I gave TIPPLE the TIPPLE acronym was to ensure that it was easy to detect the main purpose of our shindig was leisure and not business. The fact that Marriott are turning up with their big guns, the manager here, the director of digital loyalty and the director of Marriott Rewards is a testament to the importance Marriott places on this community, but it won't be turning our TIPPLE into some dry business meeting. If someone there has a timeshare and they want to raise timeshare issues then I'm sure they will...
I am going to the tipple to have fun and enjoy everyone's company. I didn't sign up for a business meeting . It's the weekend! PARTY!