First: I deeply appreciate everyone who reads my blog. I mean that.
Most especially I thank those whom I've never met who take time to get to know me through my writing prior to a date. This almost always leads to a better-than-average first meeting, which can be nerve-wracking for us both. So please know your time spent here is not wasted! xoxoxo
Every now and again I like to take stock of how things are going business-wise to see if anything I'm doing can be tweaked to better suit both myself and my friends.
**EDIT: Since I began writing this blog entry, unexpected events have caused me to delay or alter some plans for 2019. What follows is a bit different from what I'd shared privately with friends and also from the hints I'd dropped on Twitter.
Please disregard any and all previously-shared information, as what is written here is the current and correct version. You know... for now. ;-)
Since the summer, my Chicago availability has been infrequent and limited. In the new year, I plan to be available for a couple days, here and there, each month. It won't be a super-regular schedule as which week of the month will vary, as will the number of days.
I miss my friends here and I know you miss me too, so I WILL be making the effort.
What else will be new for Chicago?
I will be hosting in areas such as Oak Brook, Lombard, and Downers Grove just as often as Schaumburg, but my hours may be shortened.
Why? Because when I'm home, I like to be at home in the evenings, not stuck in rush-hour traffic lol.
In fairness to my touring-destination friends, my Chicago Area Advance Notice rate deadline will no longer be just one day before the day you wish to meet. Beginning in January 2019, that deadline will be the same as in all other cities: 2 days prior to the first day of my availability.
My Cancellation Policy in Chicago will also now be the same as for my touring destinations.
I'll be honest: this also makes things easier and less stressful for me lol.
Moving right along.....
Central Illinois is another area which has seen little of me this past year.
Why? Well, because my last couple visits weren't very financially successful. Plus the percentage of dates where I felt the gentleman and I didn't click had increased since I first toured there. I'm unsure why (it could very well be me) but this is an important factor.
So after my Spring visits I removed those cities from my touring rotation for the remainder of the year.
Now, I've recently been receiving inquiries/requests from BOTH Peoria and Bloomington-Normal so I'm planning to give those another chance in 2019.
If those problems persist, I will likely stop touring the area altogether, with little chance of trying again anytime soon.
Other destination changes....
Atlanta? Although I've only visited twice, I've enjoyed the city immensely. Good sightseeing, great food, fun people!
Unfortunately, due to the high advertising costs there, my ROI isn't in line with my other cites. So unless I can find better (lower-cost) advertising options, it's unlikely I'll tour there again.
Louisville, KY: Another city of which I've grown quite fond; unfortunately it has a slight logistical issue for me.
You see, I switched to flying in rather than driving down to Kentucky earlier this year, but there are few direct flights at times which are convenient for my schedule.
So I'll be keeping an eye on various airlines' flight schedules there but will also consider reverting to road-tripping it.
Either way, though, the frequency of my visits will be decreased in 2019.
Indiana Cities currently on my usual circuit include South Bend, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Evansville.
Indianapolis will still have the pleasure of seeing me visit semi-regularly throughout 2019. (woohoo!)
Please forgive me for my bluntness but Fort Wayne and Evansville are both on the chopping block.
After my first Indiana tour in the coming year, I will have to drop at least one of them. Which one remains to be seen. ;-)
South Bend? I'll be going back to one-day stops rather than two full days, but the frequency of my visits will remain roughly the same.
Kansas City: Over the past few years, this destination has been hit-or-miss for me so I've only been available here when personal plans brought me to town. That has previously been just once or twice per year, but this has recently changed.
Family matters will now have me there more often, so you can expect to see me in the area every few months or so. ;-)
Minneapolis: Unless things improve, this is another city which will likely only see me once or twice per year. The issues here are overhead and a high percentage of cancelations.
To be specific: people reserve far in advance, then they start canceling or requesting to change their time/day within a week of my dates.
On my most recent visit I was fully booked at one point, only to wind up barely making a profit once all was said & done. (Mainly due to short notice cancellations of multi-hour dates.)
It's quite stressful for me so, given I am fortunate enough to have a good number of tour cities where that ISN'T an issue, I must sadly make the logical decision here.
All other Touring Destinations: Iowa (Cedar Rapids & Des Moines), Michigan, Wisconsin, St.Louis, MO and Omaha, NE will remain on my regular schedule.
Thank you very much to everyone who has made tour requests!
I'm always genuinely flattered and DO give each location consideration.
I visited the Phoenix, Arizona area a couple times in 2017 but not at all in 2018 so I'm very pleased to announce I'll be returning in the New Year, yay! It won't be a part of my "regular" tour rotation, but you can expect to see me a few times in 2019.
A completely new city for me in 2019 will be Orlando, Florida.
I plan to visit in May and August, with possibly one more date next year as well.
I do have another area in mind but it's still very tentative so that is all for the moment. (For all those who've inquired, I'm sorry but Sioux Falls, the Carolinas, Texas & East Coast cities currently aren't viable options)
New Offerings: I'd intended to start publicly offering Overnights, Extended Date options and possibly Fly Me To You packages.
Unfortunately, this no longer works for me. I am also removing my Dinner Date options. Extended daytime dates and lunch dates will still remain available for the time-being.
Now what you've all been waiting for.....
There will be no changes right now. Yes, I'd planned to give myself a raise beginning January 1st, 2019. However, I am under doctor's orders to lower my stress so in that endeavor, I cannot make such a change.
The above alterations are necessary but still cause me some anxiety, so I've decided to hold off on the rates hike until at least the 2nd quarter of the new year.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the above! Thank you and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!