NOTE TO ANTHROCON 2016 WESTIN GUESTS

From our partners at the Westin, with their apologies:

Due to a programming error, some credit/debit cards were charged  $312.00 instead of $208.62 for the required 1st night's deposit for bookings at the Westin. While the hotel sincerely regrets the overcharge of $103.38, you may prefer to keep this additional payment on your reservation. If so, you do not need to contact the hotel or Anthrocon/VisitPITTSBURGH Housing regarding this error. The additional funds will remain on your reservation and apply to your full payment due at check out.

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Charity Auction/Raffle Donations Needed!

As you may have heard, Anthrocon's selected charity this year is The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, which strives to foster positive, lifelong connections between animals and people through exhibits, educational programs, and their many conservation projects. While cash donations made at the convention are great, the plurality of funds are raised via donations of artwork and merchandise to our Charity Auction and Raffle. We're looking for popular items and unique craftwork that will make people say, "I want that!"

While we must distribute items between the Raffle and Auction based on available space, time, and perceived and past value, here are some examples of donations that went big in past years...

Great examples from prior raffles: Crafts based on hot trends ("Toothless" Build-A-Bear plus - $381); Popular media (Sherlock Hound DVD set - $147); Art bought at prior convention art shows ("Wrath" art by Terrie Smith - $83); Giant, brand new plush of popular animals or characters (Border collie plush - $129); Merchandise based on popular fiction (Dr. Who's sonic screwdriver - $158)

Great examples from prior auctions: Fursuit costumes and commissions (Griffon fursuit head - $460); Rare convention memorabilia (Full set of all AC t-shirts since 1997 - $200); Professional sculpture (Softsculp poseable gryphon - $350); Unique opportunities (A speaking part in audio version of Diane Duane's "The Last Meow" - $500); Dorsai fursuit tags (Tag #1000 - $1600)

If you have an item you believe would be appropriate and would like to donate, please contact charity(at)anthrocon.org!

Helpful links:

Charity Auction/Raffle FAQ - anthrocon.org/charity

Charity Auction/Raffle Rules - anthrocon.org/rules-charity

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Announcing Tracy Butler as an Anthrocon 2016 Guest of Honor!

Originally from Massachusetts, illustrator and graphic designer Tracy Butler found herself living in a century-old house in St. Louis. Its history fascinated her, and as she delved into the stories that the old house had to tell, the world of Lackadaisy Cats began to grow in her imagination. Since 2006 she has been telling - and drawing - riveting tales of felines living and working (not always honestly) in the USA in the era of Prohibition. Her characters are masterfully developed: strong yet vulnerable, always endearing but sometimes downright scary. We hope that she will feel very much at home as Anthrocon itself takes a step back in time to celebrate "The Roaring Twenty."

Please join us in welcome Tracy Butler to Anthrocon 2016!

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Anthrocon 2016 Hotel Opening Wrapup

As expected, there was a big rush for the hotels at 11 AM, and the Courtyard sold out immediately with the Westin following just minutes later. As of this writing, The Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel is full on Sunday night (but we're working on adding rooms), and the Hampton Inn is almost full. All other hotels are open.

If you successfully reserved a hotel room, we'd appreciate it if you took 2 minutes to fill out our Anthrocon 2016 Hotel Reservation Experience Survey. I will read each response that is submitted.

If you didn't get the arrival or departure date you wanted, Don't Panic. Please email [email protected] and ask for assistance. They are working with our partner hotels to add more rooms on arrival and departure days.

Things are presently calming down, so feel free to hit us with any questions you might have.

-- Giza

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What Happens When Anthrocon 2016 Hotels Open on Tuesday?


"Say.. that's a nice webserver you have there..."

Hi everyone, this is your friendly webmaster leopard here!

I'm sure there are lots of questions about what will happen when hotels open on Tuesday morning, and I'd like to cover some of them in this post.

10 AM EST, Tuesday

Around this time, I will place the website into read-only mode. Any attempt to load a page from our website will instead show our hotel countdown page. The purpose behind the countdown page is to keep the website from falling over under the insane crush of traffic which is expected to hit at 11 AM. This level of traffic is greater than even during the convention itself.

11 AM EST, Tuesday

The hotel page goes live.

This is an automated process handled by PHP code on the server side and requires no manual intervention on my part. This is important because with thousands of inbound connections, my SSH connection may not be very responsive. Smiling In theory, this means everyone should be able to visit the website with no issues. In practice, a huge spike in traffic may make the site unresponsive for a few seconds.

That is why, instead of posting the hotel reservation link on only this website, we are also posting it on our major social media channels also at 11 AM EST on Tuesday:

I would strongly recommend bookmarking these links now, and checking them on Tuesday morning as an alternative to this website.

11:05 AM EST, Tuesday

If you plan on staying in The Westin, Doubles sell out within a few minutes, and all other rooms sell out of the Westin within the first 30 minutes of hotels opening.

If you plan on staying in The Courtyard, there are very few rooms available there, and they are in high demand; thus, they can be expected to sell out almost immediately. We must apologize in advance for this, but there is very little that we can do about it. The Courtyard has been extremely gracious with us and has allocated as many rooms to us as they are allowed to under their corporate policies. Having learned from previous years, we limited the number of rooms available to Supersponsors for their advance reservations, so we can assure you that there are as many rooms available at the Courtyard as is practical for us.

In short, if you do not see your preferred hotel listed, it means that it has probably sold out. The first thing you should do is try shortening your stay. Sometimes the hotels will sell out on the earlier or later days, but still have plenty of rooms available for the peak nights. If you shorten your stay to just Friday and Saturday, the hotel may re-appear. Book your room, then, and contact housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com to see about extending your stay afterward.

If you experience any issues or have questions or concerns about your reservation, please contact VisitPittsburgh Housing Services at housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com. Do not contact Anthrocon! This system is operated entirely by a third party and we have no access to it, and we will be able unable to help.

11:30 AM EST, Tuesday

Things usually calm down within 30 minutes. When that happens, I'll restore the regular version of the website and things will be back to normal here.

Now that I got a room, what do I do with it?

First, please visit our Anthrocon 2016 Hotel Reservation Experience Survey and let us know your thoughts on the reservation experience.

Next, make travel plans!

Finally, if you need roommates, we have room share forums for that.

You got questions? We got answers!

If this post didn't cover any outstanding questions, please let us know in the comments below or via email!

Best of luck to everyone on Tuesday, I hope you get the hotel room you want!

-- Giza

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Important: Supersponsor Early Hotel Reservation Deadline

With the opening of hotel registrations fast approaching time is getting short to be able to get in on the early reservations for supersponsors. Remember, supersponsors get early reservations at the Westin and for a limited number of rooms at the Courtyard.

In order to ensure that you get in on the this nice little perk you must register as a supersponsor by Wednesday, January 27th, at 6:00 PM EST.

I will be sending out an email to Supersponsors on Monday, January 25th  and again on Wednesday, January 27th with an exact date and time that the reservation will start and what they can expect.

Go supersponsor and beat the hotel reservation rush!!!

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Requests for Westin suites now being taken

Anthrocon's hotel rooms are not yet available for reservations! On Tuesday, February 2, 2016*, at 11:00 AM EST, we will throw open the doors for people to make reservations at the Westin Convention Center (our flagship hotel), as well as our all-within-easy-walking-distance satellite hotels, the Doubletree, Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn, Marriott City Center, Omni William Penn, the Wyndham Grand, and the Renaissance. And yes, we will be providing a shuttle for all hotels other than the Westin and Hampton.

Requests for Westin Hotel suites (and ONLY SUITES) are now being taken. Suites are deluxe rooms as described below and are more expensive than regular hotel rooms, which this year will be about $178 ($202 with tax) per night. We make suites available early because of the high demand. Remember, only suite requests for the Westin are being accepted at this time. Regular room reservations begin on February 2.

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Anthrocon 2016 Charity: Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Anthrocon has selected the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium to be our beneficiary for 2016. The Pittsburgh Zoo strives to foster positive, lifelong connections between animals and people through exhibits, educational programs, and their many conservation projects.  Their goal is to make certain the Earth remains a suitable home for all life by fostering discovery of the interconnectedness of the natural world. They will be at the Charity Auction and will have a table in the Dealers' Room where you can meet them and peruse information about their organization.

More information about the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium can be found at their website, pittsburghzoo.org. If you have any questions regarding the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, they can be reached through their representative to us, Jaime Szoszorek, via jszoszorek[at]pittsburghzoo.org or by the Zoo's main line, 412-665-3640.

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When to begin reserving your 2016 Anthrocon hotel rooms

General hotel reservations will begin on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2016, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.  All hotel rooms must be reserved through VisitPittsburgh Housing Services if you want to get the special convention rate (usually 20% to 50% cheaper than the standard rack rate).  If you want to reserve a room outside of Anthrocon's room block, you may do so (if any are available), but be advised that we cannot convert a non-convention reservation to a convention reservation.  You will be stuck paying full price.  A link to the VisitPittsburgh site will be posted on this web page at that time, and simultaneously on our various social media outlets.

A pre-payment of one night's room and tax will be required at the time of the reservation.  This pre-payment will not be refundable if you decide to cancel your reservation later.  Prices are still being hammered out, but will be universally within a few dollars of last year's rates.  We will have a full rundown of room rates prior to January 15.  It may take up to three weeks for payments to the Westin, and up to eight weeks for payments to the other hotels, to show up on your credit card statement, so be certain to budget for them.

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Panel and Programming Submissions Are Now Open!

Pretty much what the title says. Smiling

We are now accepting Panel and Programming submissions for Anthrocon 2016. Have an idea for something that you would like to present a panel about? Or perhaps an event that you would like to host? Please, fill out this form and we'll follow up with you:

 

Thanks!

-- Giza

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