Thanks very much for returning your questionnaires. They provide us with very useful information we can use to help improve future trips. And they tell us what you thought about this tour.
To repeat the winners of the Prediction Contest, it was Joan Boothe with most medalists ($300), Krish Kartha was runner-up ($175) and Donna Nowicki third ($100). Gregg Larson got $100 for most winners. (Krish actually had most winners, but one monetary prize to a customer! Note that this is Gregg's third straight Most Winners victories--Eugene '11, Daegu '11, and Eugene '12. We are truly you in awe of, Gregg.) The checks are enclosed with this mailing, as are the checks for the promised Franklin Village refund.
The team selected in Eugene went on to great things, for the most part, in London. The men did pretty well, but the women were outstanding. How about those women's relay teams, and gold medalists Felix, Richards-Ross, Reese and Suhr!
Here are the questionnaire tabulations.
OVERALL TOUR RATING. 40.2% rated the Trials tour as Excellent, 49.6% Very Good. The combination of Excellent and Very Good is what we consider our approval rating, and this one came to 89.8%, a bit down from other Trials tours--but not unexpected due to the real housing problem at Franklin Village. Good--6.8%, Fair--3.4%. Some comments:
- This was our 7th T&FN tour in 28 years. We hope to make some more tours, God willing.
- I think I'm spoiled by the international tours which I have always rated excellent (Olympics and World Champs).
- All in all, a very nice experience (aside from the rain). Thank you for all your work and efforts.
- We (the track fanatic and his spouse) had a fabulous time at our first U.S. Olympic Trials and first visit to Eugene! Thank you TAFNOT!
- Great time. Looking forward to Eugene 2014 (World Junior Championships).
- Overall, great trip. Seats were in a good location. T&FN provides a great service for "old track lovers."
- Had a great time! Thanks for all your work putting the tour together.
- Hayward Field is great. The stands are abominable.
- No complaints here! Great competition. Eugene is a great track town. Even was able to keep allergies under control--the rain helped!
- I'm glad I chose your tour. Housing was fine and I liked the location of the tickets…I love track & field, so the meet was the thing. You supplied good tickets and housing, so, to me, you don't have to emphasize other things.
- Great meet, had a wonderful time. Nothing to complain about. Great seeing everyone.
- Always enjoyable. Always a bargain.
- Thank you--a great ten days in Eugene!!
- A great experience…It was cool to see Eugene. Looking forward to 2016 OT, wherever the venue.
- I always enjoy these tours.
- We had a great time! And we look forward to planning our next TAFNOT trip (#10).
- Best Olympic Trials tour yet!
- You guys always do a stellar job. I hope the USATF's venues move about to all sections of the country though.
- This is our last trip to Eugene. Stadium seats and steps just too much! Not overly impressed with "Tracktown". Let's seriously consider some other venues--mid-continent? East coast?
- Another enjoyable tour. Hope to be on more. I don't think there is another tour group as good as yours.
TICKETS AND SEAT LOCATIONS
Excellent--49.2%, Very Good--32.8%, Good--13.9%, Fair--2.5%, Poor--1.6%.
The backstretch opposite the finish is the best we can hope for with an event in as much demand as the Olympic Trials, in a hotbed of track & field like Eugene. Seats on the finish side are reserved for U. of Oregon season ticket holders--unless you'd like to sit at the start of the 100m--and we'd rather not.
- I would have much preferred the home straight. We were 100 yards or more from every sprint. Most field event finals are on the home straight side and officials and cameramen made it difficult to see. Finally, it appears there are many seats on the home straight that don't have post-obstructed views.
- Thought the tickets should have been "closer to the action." Would suggest two blocks--close to action vs. higher seats where you can see the whole field.
- Tickets--no view of discus ring, blocked view of scoreboards. [That's Hayward Field and its wooden posts. We did work with the ticket office to get as few obstructions as possible, but obviously perfection for every seat isn't possible.]
- Seat locations good, but we're too crowded in! Seat numbers need to be enlarged--people continue to step on others as they attempt to reach their seats.
- Do you think Nike could replace the old no-back seating with more comfortable seating? [Well, now that you mention it, there are rumors afoot about upgrading all the seats in the stadium to make sitting in the stands for eight days endurable. If anyone can pull off this miracle, it's Vin Lannana--he is well aware of the problem.]
Excellent--18.1%, Very Good--30.6%, Good--28.9%, Fair--13.3%, Poor--9.1%.
The "poor" ratings came, deservedly, from the Franklin Village Extended Stay, which wouldn't have happened if the Days Inn had honored its contract with us. We've apologized before and do so again. As mentioned, those who stayed at Franklin Village will find their $150 refund enclosed with this mailing.
Eugene, in general, is not a great hotel/motel town, particularly if you're interested in accommodation within walking distance to the stadium. That will always be our priority in Eugene, as it avoids busing costs, and is just more convenient in every way. We could try for "better" motels, closer to the stadium, but then you're that much farther from downtown and good eating options.
- The breakfast at the Sleep Inn was meager and unappetizing. The lobby had a total of 8 seats… One great thing about the hotels was their proximity to running trails, downtown and the university.
- Although the room at the Sleep Inn was all I could want (large, nice bed, drawer space, relatively quiet), there were not enough seats for breakfast. It is nice when T&FN tour members can sit around in the morning and discuss track & field--after all, this is a group with a very focused common interest. [The Sleep Inn had eight seats for breakfast; that's eight more than any of our other motels had--they had no seats! It would be nice to have a choice of better motels, with better breakfasts and more seating. The reality is that accommodation within walking distance is really at a premium for an Olympic Trials, and we were lucky to get the ones we had. That being said, there are a few possible better choices, and if Eugene gets the nod for 2016, we'll be hoping to get our dibs in soonest for those.]
- Travelers Inn was awful. Thanks for switching us.
- Campus Inn--cleaning was cursory and inconsistent (but we know Eugene has limited choices).
- We never saw or met many at our motel until we went to the dinner party. Would help newcomers to meet the other tour members [via an earlier group meeting].
- It appears to me that either the hotels are charging an exorbitant rate and/or the tour operator is charging a lot… We were at the Travelers Inn. While it seemed somewhat "run down" the owner and staff were very nice and accommodating.
- Continue to get accommodations within walking distance.
- Eugene needs more and better motels, i.e. Hampton Inn, Oxford Suites, etc.
- Franklin Village was a major disaster.
- Really appreciated the proximity to downtown and jogging/walking trails. The Broadway Inn wasn't up to normal T&FN standards; new owners showed weakness in cleanliness…and other items (breakfast and coffee quality).
- The accommodations (Franklin) were very poor and hotel service was terrible.
- Campus Inn--ants in room, black particles in sink and bath water, lobby too small, poor internet and TV. Great location, however. We had great accommodations [in '08] in Cottage Grove, but the travel was a little difficult. Eugene seems to have a paucity of hotels/motels (near the stadium). [So, that's the trade-off--do you prefer staying in Cottage Grove and spending an hour or more each way on commuting/walking to your seat--or being in Eugene and have the ability to come and go when you please, in the center of things?]
- The lodging location was better than in 2008 (Cottage Grove). Everything was within walking distance this time. That was good!
- Campus Inn--Location, location, location (to downtown). Only reason we chose the Campus Inn (for 2nd time).
- I know there were some problems and legit gripes about amenities at the Campus Inn, but for me that location more than overrides the negatives. Easy walking distance to everything, worth the inflated prices and minor inconveniences.
- Though Campus Inn's staff was uniformly helpful, the room [bottom level] behind the ice machine was inadequate in most all regards, including the air conditioning.
- Franklin Village--housekeeping did try, but circumstances were against us.
Excellent--33.0%, Very Good--36.8%, Good--24.6%, Fair--5.6%.
- My wife needs a gluten-free diet. We called ahead to the Valley River Inn and they were most accommodating. They had a G-F meal ready for her and even a separate dessert. They deserve an extra pat on the back.
- Probably tough to do, but more athletes at the dinner party. Once we were charmed by Jill Camarena-Williams, it was easy to cheer for her.
- Meal below average. Our chicken was dry, wine bottles slow in arriving. Upstairs cocktail area too crowded--couldn't circulate. Sought refuge in the hallway. Decathlon man [Frank Zarnowski] fantastic!
- Food is always problematic at large affairs. Maybe drinks and heavy snacks easier. Content was great, as usual.
- Cocktail party was terrible. Space too small.
- The dinner per se was good, but the pre-dinner time was not. Far too crowded a space to mingle and chat.
- The disappointing dinner party was the only downer. The food was marginal at best and the program lacked the excitement of having numerous athletes. The speakers were good, but… Is the reason there were fewer athletes due to the competition schedule? Should the dinner be later in the schedule? [Whatever day we decide upon, athletes will have left town, have other commitments, or have upcoming competition. The Trials are always tough to find available athletes--but we're happy with the guests we did get and do not apologize for them.]
- The dinner at the Valley River Inn was excellent. I liked the change in location from four years ago--upstairs with a view and plenty of room while having drinks before dinner (four years ago it was downstairs and very crowded). [We thought so, too. Those who thought it was crowded this year should have been there four years ago when it was really crowded. As to getting another space in town--maybe. The Hilton ballroom is a possibility if we're back to Eugene in 2016.]
Excellent--51.2%, Very Good--34.8%, Good--11.6%, Fair--0.8%, Poor--1.6%.
- The paper and the daily newsletter were pluses. I looked forward to your daily comments and critiques.
Excellent--28.3%, Very Good--36.7%, Good--24.8%, Fair--8.5%, Poor--1.7%.
- T-shirt should be tech type (dry-fit type); bags are shaky at best.
- If souvenir is needed (I'm not sure it is), I'd say dispose of the t-shirts. [Would rather have] seat cushion, water bottle, or maybe a rain poncho.
- Something better for shirt. T-shirt? No! Pen. No! Bag. Maybe. Let the people pick what they want.
Elma Siemon sandwiched between Reese Hoffa
and Ryan Whiting out on the town.
At the stadium
- Why no airport pickup and dropoff? It must be easier in Eugene than Paris, Athens, Beijing, etc. [Just too few people arriving at too many different times to make bus pickups practicable.]
- Suggest that the hotel tour contact person "host" the free continental breakfast at the hotel the first morning from 8am to 10am to introduce themselves and maybe give us a contact room number… I never found out who she was till the night of the dinner. [You are right--a welcome party should have been arranged.]
- Staff should have a short optional meeting with all tour members at each motel to get to know staff and others on the tour. Staff should wear T&FN shirts for a few days.
- I'd emphasize a little more on public transportation schedules, such as bus sites and how often buses stop on week days vs. weekend days. Never did figure out the bus schedule. [The entire EmX schedule--week day and weekend--was posted at the bus stop at 10th St.]
- Can Garry Hill do anything about the weather? [Is the Pope Catholic? Garry is omnipotent, but he thought you liked the moist weather… Guess he's not omniscient.]
- More info on things to do in Eugene (bookstores, movie theaters, etc.) Breakfast get-togethers were great.
- How about giving people more info on things to do on days beyond Eugene if they don't take the tours? [Yep, can do. Eugene is not quite New York City, but there are things to do--if you look hard. There was the Bach Festival, and some folks found a jazz club downtown. And there's a great used book store on 15th St. You can even sign up for rafting trips.]
- Find younger fans--average age made us feel like kids. [Don't think we're not looking.]
- So great to find out there are more track & field nuts in the USA out there. I was welcomed like a prince.
- I miss the hospitality suite where you can meet tour members to gab about track & field.
- Wonderful coverage by the Register-Guard. [Yes, and we were happy to provide tour members with a complimentary copy of the Eugene Register-Guard, the best paper in the country for track & field coverage, every day.]
- Kudos to T&FN staff for bringing to our attention the Oregon Bach Festival (in a pre-Trials bulletin). We scored two tickets to see the June 29 concert at Hult Center and saw [violinist] Joshua Bell--a memorable sidelight.
- We enjoyed the down time to view Eugene and surrounding area.
- The meet was my absolute favorite. The professional handling of video screens was superior. Also the video and personal recognition of all the old T&F greats!
The overall ratings were Excellent--34.1%, Very Good, 53.7%, Good--12.2%. Not everyone (including T&FN) was completely happy with the day trips, but Eugene--being pretty far from everywhere--presents certain difficulties in this regard.
- More of a wine visit than a tour, other than the first stop, but we didn't mind as we've done other wine/vineyard tours!
- How about a scenic tour into the mountains next time? [Trips need to have not much more than an hour travel time each way--that's a very limiting factor as to what can be done with day trips out of Eugene. Crater Lake, for instance, is at least a two-hour drive each way.]
- Didn't want to leave King Estate--grand food, service, views. Third winery visit unnecessary. [Couldn't agree more. We should have stayed at King Estate longer and eliminated Sweet Cheeks.]
- Lavelle was a good addition. King Estate is always A-1 (more time here would have been great). Sweet Cheeks was OK, but less time would have been better.
- Come up with a better plan for the two days off. [Could do something with a track-oriented theme, like a panel of coaches and media people--but hiring a hall and paying participants would add to the tour cost. Is this something you want?]
COST OF TOUR
A bargain--7.4%, Reasonable--85.2%, Too high--7.4%.
TOUR LEADERSHIP AND PLANNING
Overall rating of tour staff: Excellent--64.2%, Very Good--21.2%, Good--12.8%, Fair--1.8%.
Overall planning and arrangements: Excellent--65.5%, Very Good--25.9%, Good--8.6%.
We know the staff has to make itself more visible; it was difficult in Eugene, with six scattered accommodations. It would be great if we could all be housed in the same location, as we did in Sacramento in 2004--in one large modern hotel. For those who mentioned they had no access to tour staff, Bulletin #8 listed the staff for each motel, along with Ed Fox's cell phone.
So, thanks again for your comments and for joining us in Eugene. The Trials is one of our favorite tour vehicles and we want to make your Trials experience as enjoyable as possible. We don't know where they will be in 2016, but we hope you'll consider going with us again.
And of course there are other touring possibilities with TAFNOT, from the World Championships in Moscow and the U.S. Nationals in 2013 to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. We'll also be back in Eugene again in 2014 for the World Junior Championships--a meet that seems to gain in importance and interest every edition.
We hope to see you again soon.