Hotel information: now that the dust has settled...

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52 replies [Last post]
Unclekage's picture
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Location: RTP, North Carolina
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First off, we apologize to the few folks who did not know that we were using the Passkey system this year and that they could not call the hotels directly in order to book rooms.  We really thought that we had gotten the word out through enough channels, but apparently we still missed a few people.

Secondly, please watch our hotel page for updates on the status of the hotels as they fill.  As expected, the Westin and the Courtyard went very quickly.  The Hampton is full on the middle nights but we're trying to see if we can expand the block there, since we only have a fraction of their room inventory. 

Thirdly, we as well as the folks at VisitPittsburgh Housing Services are anxious to know how folks felt about the Passkey system we used this year.  We'd like to know if we should continue to use it, and what needs fine-tuning to make things run more smoothly in the future.  It's all part of Anthrocon's attempts at continuous improvement year after year.  We've put together a survey that you can find by clicking here if you have not already seen it.

Fourthly (and we have added this to our FAQ), the system for charging the first night's pre-payment is not automated.  It is done by the individual hotels once they get the list from the Housing Service, and we pity the poor person who is going to be handed the task.  For this reason the charge will not show up immediately on your credit card statement, and in fact it may take several weeks for it appear.  Please keep that in mind and make sure not to overspend yourself.  If the hotel cannot process your pre-payment they will try to contact you, and that only slows the process down further.  We ask patience.

Fifthly, the hotels do not have the rooming lists yet.  Do not try to call a hotel in order to make changes to a reservation.  They won't know what you are talking about.  Any reservation changes should be made through the VisitPittsburgh Housing Office; requests should be sent by email to housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com

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HixbiFox's picture
"Furs For Life"
Posts: 9

Didn't see a issue, I was able to get my room but even when I was told available rooms may not be shown, if I picked a day that wasn't in the block, I think that the calender in the passkey should reflect that, (shadowed spots showing the blocks) as I did try the 3rd to the 8th and I didnt see a room available. After that derp moment, I got 4-7 and I got my room. :3

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I like pies. ^w^ my favorite flavor is banana cream with real bananas, If you do not like pies then I'm sorry we just can't be friends ._.

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Kitsune Hazard's picture
"Drunk as a sku..er um fox."
Posts: 16

We were able to get rooms pretty easily, though things did get a bit weird due to Friday and Saturday nights being booked and not allowing for rooms to be booked Thurs-Sun at the Westin for some reason (despite a few tries)...which is a bit weird. Either way, the system worked pretty well on our end and none of my group had much issues with the PassKey system itself aside from that. We wanted to be a bit closer, but hey...the Omni ain't a bad second prize ~.^

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Noir's picture
Location: Punxsutawney, PA, USA
"( I'm sorry, the party you are attempting to read about has exceeded his funny for the day. )"
Posts: 50

By the time I registered, which was around 11:25 PM EST on wed, Sunday was full at the Courtyard. However, seeing as I was only staying Thurs/Fri/Sat with a Sunday checkout, I wasn't bothered by it.

The system worked great for me, it was fast and easy. Thank You, Anthrocon Staff! 

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RhapsodyTherefore's picture
Posts: 59

No problems at all on our end. My boyfriend was able to get our room at the Westin as soon as it opened. 

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TheWolfIsSilver's picture
Location: NY
Posts: 44

I had no problems at all, glad i went in the extra money for SS. 

But since i've never in my life before, reserved a hotel room, i dont really have a post for comparison.

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Torid's picture
Location: Erlanger, KY, USA
"Married to Panterro Cat"
Posts: 41

I thought it went smoothly.  Also I know that for some of the furs on a budget that there are places outside of the 5 hotels for cheaper if they want to commute 12miles.  I found  a cool b&b for $85 a night (which includes tax and she does not charge the hotel tax)  Panterro Kat and I will be checking into the b&b Sunday Evening.   Monday we are going to Kennywood     Hit me up if anyone is interested in this quaint little b&b

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Mutt's picture
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Posts: 73

It went a lot smoother than last year and it's nice to not have to go to each individual hotel page to see availability. It would be cool if you could put additional people on the reservation without all their info being required (maybe just first & last name because I think that's all that is required to add them on at the front desk).

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Myr's picture
Location: Annapolis, MD
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Posts: 3

Any news on the Hampton Inn? I stayed there last time and would like to stay there again. It filled up before I could reserve a room though. I've been waiting to see if it opens back up.

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charlieg's picture
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The Hampton is not marked as full on the Hotels page.  It may be that the hotel is fullon one of the days you're trying to reserve.  Try a different arrival or departure date and see if that works.

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Myr's picture
Location: Annapolis, MD
"Rawr!"
Posts: 3

Looks to me like it's only available Sunday the 7th and onward. That's not really open given that you can't even check in prior to closing ceremonies Sunday. If they will increase capacity I will happily wait for an opening. That's what I'm trying to find out.

My target dates at the moment are the 4th through 8th. I will go for the Omni soon if nothing changes, but I really like that breakfast and parking at the Hampton.

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Unclekage's picture
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Location: RTP, North Carolina
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We are trying to see if they will give us more rooms.

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Torid's picture
Location: Erlanger, KY, USA
"Married to Panterro Cat"
Posts: 41

sounded cool but I wanted to be at the Westin  and stay out of the elements      but  we are checking in the 4th and checking out the 7th  then moving to a cute bed and breakfast 12 mile out   so we can go to Kennywood on Monday     and the bed and breakfast ist only $85 which includes tax

 

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Ron Bauerle's picture
Location: Erie, PA
Posts: 1025

Can you answer this question about the Hampton's parking? Do we have to leave when we check out (in my case, Sunday AM), or can we leave our cars there for a few more hours (e.g., till after Closing Ceremonies)? If the former, I suppose it's NBD to go park at the Greyhound Terminal and shell out another $5, and maybe I'll want to do so anyway...

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Myr's picture
Location: Annapolis, MD
"Rawr!"
Posts: 3

You need a room key to get your vehicle into the Hampton's parking lot. They share parking with what appears to be a city lot across from the sports museum. I don't recall needing a room key to get out, but I did get to keep mine from last year. I doubt they would notice if your vehicle was still there until after closing ceremonies. They would notice if you tried to leave it overnight. You're probably safe, but the only sure way to know is to check with convention staff. Calling the Hampton yourself might result in a different answer based on who is working.

I am mostly interested in the breakfast. Really easy way to make sure I'm out of bed in the morning at a decent time! 8)

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Ron Bauerle's picture
Location: Erie, PA
Posts: 1025

So I need to check in first before I can access the lot; I was afraid of that. I assume I can't check in at 10:30 AM when I get to Pittsburgh (plus I'll be in a hurry to get to Opening Ceremonies).

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Icewerewolf's picture
Location: Somewhere, NC, USA
Posts: 29

You would actually be surprised.  My mate and I arrived at the Westin around 10am ourselves Wednesday morning so that we could be there for volunteer needs and such, and were able to get our room then and there.  My suggestion to you would be to call the hotel, or even stop into the front desk, to find out if they might let you check-in early.  If they have an open room, and not TOO many people asking to check in early, they might be nice and give you your room =3

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BlackJack's picture
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Don't COUNT on it, but feel free to ask, nicely. The hotels all have to service all their rooms once someone checks out, and before someone else checks in. That's why there's a gap in time. The Westin says to be out by 11am (IIRC) and the standard check-in time is 3pm. (Both are pretty
standard in the US.) If it's before 11am, it's not likely-although it is possible- that the room
is already cleaned, inspected, and ready for use. Also, forget any special requests you had, getting an early room trumps all other requests, so you're not getting the room they prepared
for you.

If you arrive before 3pm and they don't have a room ready (the earlier, the more likely that's true),
then they will accept holding your luggage, and you can go wash your face, use the bathroom,
get a meal, check in with ConOps or AC Registration if it's open, and so on. You can't unpack,
shower, or nap, but that's life.

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MOST AC ATTENDEES DO NOT WEAR A FURSUIT OR ANY FORM OF COSTUME.

Ron Bauerle's picture
Location: Erie, PA
Posts: 1025

I wouldn't need access to the room till after 3 (more like 10 PM when I'm done for the day), I'd just want to drop my car in the lot and hike to the DLCC for OC. But I suspect I'll be running late as usual, and end up parking in the Greyhound terminal all day, which'll defeat the purpose of the free parking in the Hampton - oh well...

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MeowthRocket's picture
Posts: 87

Thanks to the SS, I was able to secure a room at the Westin. Yayness for that!

The passkey system's pretty unique... but once you figure it out, it's relatively easy to use!

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Oasus's picture
Location: North Bay, NY
Posts: 53

I hope you guys didn't have to make any inquiries regarding non-Supersponsors registering before they were allowed

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Unclekage's picture
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Furries are a very honest lot.  We did not find a single room that did not have a supersponsor's name on it.

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TheWolfIsSilver's picture
Location: NY
Posts: 44

Cuz people who paid $150 extra, dont want to get the best perk every take away.

So, since you guys have seen how it worked, will this be a recurring perk for SS?

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Oasus's picture
Location: North Bay, NY
Posts: 53

well, maybe not best ever, but it certainly was a nice one to take advantage of.

 

I know I don't want it to go away. xD

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Chiaroscuro's picture
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The board will discuss the continuation of the perk; we'll have a number of factors to take into consideration, some of which may happen at the convention.. and we'll assuredly be getting attendee feedback at the convention itself. So we can't answer 'yes' or 'no' just yet.

That said, so far it seems to be good; Supersponsors certainly seem to be enjoying having the option and feel it is a reasonable value.

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Oasus's picture
Location: North Bay, NY
Posts: 53

I could see a small criticism of the idea.  Some might feel that its a steep price to pay for 2 days advance availability.

I'm not saying this HAS to be done, but perhaps allowing this perk to be open for sponsors as well COULD be an option.

Ultimately, the call is your guys's to make. I like the perk and would think it would be satisfactory as either a Sponsor or a SS level bonus.

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Eric's picture
Posts: 80

The easy answer is that if being a supersponsor is outside of your budget, then don't become a supersponsor.


 


One problem with opening up this perk to sponsors is that it will just put the big hotel rush two days ealier as more people say "well, being a sponsor is just a little more so I'll go for it."

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charlieg's picture
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"If only stupidity were painful..."
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Bias information: I am a Supersponsor.

Eric's answer is correct. The number of Supersponsors has always been in the 150-200 range IIRC and that was before this perk was offered. We are paying that extra for our own reasons, whatever they may be. Also, note that this perk doesn't reduce the hotel bill by a single cent: it doesn't save me any money at all. It just allows me a much better chance to get the hotel I want. And getting the specific hotel you want is still not guaranteed. Since the Courtyard only offers Anthrocon 50 rooms, even a Supersponsor who wants that hotel had better be quick!

Offering this perk to Sponsors will probably not happen. Eric nailed it again: paying an additional $50 (IIRC) would be too attractive. I can see where this could cause the number of Sponsors to drop after the first year: "I Sponsored to get the Courtyard and it was already full! Bleep that!"

Bluntly, no matter what the Anthrocon Board does, there's no way they can ever guarantee that everyone will get the hotel they want or the room type. Just too many people trying to get into too few rooms.

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Chiaroscuro's picture
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It's something to consider, but as mentioned.. opening it to Sponsors may be a bit too wide of distribution. For recent numbers (2013 obviously still ongoing)

Year/Level 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Sponsor 423 455 453 475 139
Supersponsor 210 172 191 227

246

You can see that Supersponsor memberships are already up this year, and we're still quite a bit away from the convention. I expect Sponsor numbers will be about 500 given the overall historical pace, and no price increases for 2013.

 

 

 

           
           
           
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Oasus's picture
Location: North Bay, NY
Posts: 53

fair point to all of you.  it was just an idea, and I'm sure there'll be some better ones floated around. :3

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Unclekage's picture
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475 + 227 = 702 people.


We have 515 rooms at the Westin and 70 at the Courtyard, a total of 585 high-demand rooms.

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Oasus's picture
Location: North Bay, NY
Posts: 53

point taken!

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yurex's picture
Location: New York
Posts: 11

I really liked the Hampton and did not expect it to sell out so quickly; I really like the "shortcut" to the dealers room that I found las year (follow the street to the river and cross over to the entrances there). I also want to arrive on Wednesday and leave on Monday. I do not want to wait too long only to find out that the Omni has sold out so I'll only wait a maximum of two more days before I make a decision.

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Lolindir Fox's picture
Location: Columbus Oh
Posts: 3

man... I have NEVER gotten a room even when I click the day of! why don't we get a bigger block available at these hotels, we KNOW we will fill them, it's just so frustrating to have a room planned for over a year and then try to reserve the day of only to find out there are only double bed rooms available, and then try to figure out how we are going to fit all of us into 2 double beds... is there ANY Way of extending our blocks, it's the biggest convention in the world we always fill them up, I just don't understand why more hasn't been done about that. sorry for the rant...it's just frustrating several years in a row... I'll call hotels tomorrow to see if I can get on a waiting list, I also don't know what this passkey thing is about, maybe that would have worked better

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Nicona Shadowwolf's picture
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Quote:
man... I have NEVER gotten a room even when I click the day of! why don't we get a bigger block available at these hotels, we KNOW we will fill them, it's just so frustrating to have a room planned for over a year and then try to reserve the day of only to find out there are only double bed rooms available, and then try to figure out how we are going to fit all of us into 2 double beds...

There are still three hotels that have rooms available.  Also the rooms with 2 double beds are among the highest allowed occupancy rooms in the convention block.  According to fire code the maximum number of people allowed in any one hotel room is 4.  That would be two people per bed.  Just how many people were you planning on having in a room where 2 double beds wouldn't be enough?

Quote:
is there ANY Way of extending our blocks, it's the biggest convention in the world we always fill them up, I just don't understand why more hasn't been done about that. sorry for the rant...it's just frustrating several years in a row... I'll call hotels tomorrow to see if I can get on a waiting list

Last year we were fortunate enough to get another hotel for the AC block bringing the number hotels to 5.  This year they got another hotel added bringing the total number to 6 hotels.  The board members work extremely hard  to get as many rooms as they possibly can for Anthrocon.  Unfortunately there are a finite number of rooms available and it is not as easy as going into a hotel and saying give us all your rooms".  There are some serious negotiations that go on when trying to get hotel rooms for Anthrocon and sometimes no matter how hard Uncle Kage tries a hotel is only willing to give us a certain number of rooms even though we may desperately want more.

Quote:
I also don't know what this passkey thing is about, maybe that would have worked better

The passkey system is how all hotel reservations (except for the suites at the Westin) for the Anthrocon block are being handled this year.  You can access the hotels page at http://www.anthrocon.org/node/1654/anthrocons-hotels-please-read-reserving.  As I said earlier it is still showing rooms available at three of the six hotels we have room blocks in this year.

 

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Assistant Director of Registration

BlackJack's picture
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Location: from NYC
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Quote:
man... I have NEVER gotten a room even when I click the day of!

It's several days later and you can STILL get a room. 3 different AC block hotels have rooms.
You can't get a room now at, perhaps, your first choice hotel. Oh, well. Most AC'ers can't
get those rooms, either. Few are whining about it. They just get a room at another hotel.
(Or they whine for an instant and then get the other room.)

Quote:
why don't we get a bigger block available at these hotels, we KNOW we will fill them,

AC doesn't own the hotels. AC has to convince the hotels to let us have ANY rooms. and then to
let us have ENOUGH rooms. If the hotel doesn't want us to have ANY, they can just say "no"
and we can't change that. If they don't want us to have many rooms, they say so and AC has to
decide whether or not to accept the block (usually the answer is "yes." We know we will fill
the blocks. Some hotels aren't convinced, and take convincing. Some hotels know and won't let
us get more. Why not? They are accepting a DEAL. First of all, hotels have contracts with
certain corporations to ensure, say, the president or head technician has a room if he has
to come to town on an emergency. So, the hotel can't fill every room even if someone is in front
of them with cash. Second, if the hotel thinks that it can fill all the rooms at rate x,
or 1/2 the rooms at rate x and 1/2 the rooms at rate 2x, it won't let the convention have all
the rooms for x, it will want rooms available at the higher rate. It's a gamble, but in many
cases, a numbers game. The hotel wants to make money. If they are sure they can make more by
denying us the rooms, it will deny us the rooms. That's at least 2 reasons why we can't get
bigger blocks, any one reason of which is enough. There may be more reasons I don't know.

Quote:
it's just so frustrating to have a room planned for over a year and then try to reserve the day of only to find out there are only double bed rooms available, and then try to figure out how we are going to fit all of us into 2 double beds

Double bed rooms have 2 beds, allowing 4 normal-sized people in them. That's enough for what's
ALLOWED in each room. If your party is all morbidly obese, you may need a separate bed for
each person, so a double room would sleep 2 instead of 4. Since there's still rooms available,
reserve as many rooms at 4 people (or less) as you need. But don't take forever, others are
coming along and reserving rooms, and doubles (sleeps 4) always go faster than others at AC
or other conventions. If you planned to fit more than 4 people, plan differently. We've discussed
LOTS of times how the fire code caps the rooms at 4 people, and it's in the FAQ.

Quote:
is there ANY Way of extending our blocks, it's the biggest convention in the world we always fill them up, I just don't understand why more hasn't been done about that.

If you'd read around, you'd have read what I did. Despite there still being rooms in 3 hotels,
Kage's still trying to get more one hotel to expand its block. Negotiations are being attempted.
What did you want- blackmail and threats of violence to get more rooms?

Quote:
.it's just frustrating several years in a row... I'll call hotels tomorrow to see if I can get on a waiting list,

Or, you know, you could reserve a room at one of the AC block hotels that still have rooms open.
You could do that now. If you were really trying to reserve a room a WEEK after the blocks
opened each year, you could do so. You can do so now. Or you can complain you didn't get into
your first choice of hotel and then ignore the remaining hotels and hotel rooms that are in the
block, waiting for you. No need for a waiting list, the rooms are empty and waiting for YOU now.

Quote:

I also don't know what this passkey thing is about, maybe that would have worked better

It probably would have worked better. We've been talking about it for about a month before the
blocks opened. Looks like you've made some careless mistakes since you didn't stay informed when
AC made information available- and now you're blaming AC for not getting the information to you.

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MOST AC ATTENDEES DO NOT WEAR A FURSUIT OR ANY FORM OF COSTUME.

charlieg's picture
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Location: Alexandria, VA
"If only stupidity were painful..."
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Another reason for our 'limited' hotel blocks may be corporate policy. If a given hotel has X number of rooms total, policy may say that at most 1/2 or even 1/3 can be offered to any convention.

Another possible reason is that they may not want the crowds blocking access to their entrances gawking at the fursuiters.

One final point: in 2011, Anthrocon had only four hotels willing to grant us room blocks. It took the City of Pittsburgh's 'persuasion' to get us 100 more rooms in a new hotel for 2012. (In exchange for moving the convention forward a week.) In 2013, Anthrocon has six hotels with blocks available. Bluntly, the Board of Directors have been trying to get more hotels and more rooms at each of them. They haven't always been successful... because the hotels are in the driver's seat, not Anthrocon. If the Board pushes too hard to get more rooms, the hotels have the right to say "The hell with it!" and give Anthrocon no rooms at all. In some ways a bad business decision, but if the hotel people feel that it's too much of a hassle, they can just walk away and leave Anthrocon without that hotel at all.

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Lolindir Fox's picture
Location: Columbus Oh
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I didn't realize the double beds were that big, I was thinking they were twin sized sorry about that

 

Also I wasn't blaming AC I was just mearly stating frustration because I was unaware of what was available, now I understand. my reservations are made and everything is fine, knowing that the doubles weren't Twin sized, because that happened to me at another con once when they didn't have our room availble when it was previously reserved and that was not a pleset experence trying to fit 4 people in 2 twin beds.

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Unclekage's picture
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What did you want- blackmail and threats of violence to get more rooms?


Not without precedent.  Parp / fart

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Chiaroscuro's picture
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As a quiet note: We know we will fill the Westin, because we do fill the Westin. More than 90% of Westin rooms are occupied by Anthrocon attendees during the convention. We canot expand the hotel block there because there are NO MORE ROOMS, aside from a very limite emergency section.

We have the Omni, the Doubletree, and the Marriott still with plenty of rooms left.

..also.

and then try to figure out how we are going to fit all of us into 2 double beds..

As opposed to fitting them in one King Bed? What sort of room were you attempting to get?

 

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Lolindir Fox's picture
Location: Columbus Oh
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As opposed to fitting them in one King Bed? What sort of room were you attempting to get?

 

I was trying to get 2 queen sized beds because that's what I though we had at the omni before, after calling them I was told they don't have any phisical inventory of queen beds there, I didn't realize the doubles were so big, as I stated abbove I saw DOUBLE and was thinking TWIN but it's all good now

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Chiaroscuro's picture
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Ahh, noted. Yes, Westin regular rooms are either two Double beds or one King bed; this is a fairly standard arrangement for upscale hotels.

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Skyfox's picture
Location: Michigan, US
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Posts: 206

The Passkey system gets my positive vote.  I also used it a couple days ago when reserving my room for MFF, so the whole system seems very seamless and well integrated with the con hotels.

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Fayroe's picture
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 2

As much as I loved the idea of Supersponsers getting rooms early it's kinda backfired a bit already.  I guess if I would have saved up a bit more to become one like I was last year I would have, but traversing many conventions in the mean time made me tone down the amount of registration. 

The problem I’ve seen is some Supersponsers buying 3-4 rooms themselves and trying to sell them out to fill them.  I mean it urks me because it’s unnecessary and really takes away from those who really want to get their own rooms with friends.  I know two in the local area that bought 3 rooms each a piece in the Westin.  I mean to each his own but for a convention this large with limited space, maybe a plan where you need a badge number to register won’t be such a bad thing whilst registering for a room, and might cut down on the individuals who are buying multiple rooms themselves to try and make money.

I was hesitant to that idea at first, but seeing how certain things played out with certain individuals it seems that if a system was in play that one person couldn’t buy multiple rooms with their own badge number things may run smoother for others. 

 

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"You can't run with the big dogs if you pee like a puppy."
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Actually to reserve a room during the supersponsor early reservation period a badge number was required.  This was something that the board of directors was going to keep an eye on because of the worry that some people would try to reserve more than one room.  As far as I know Uncle Kage was going to go over the list of the supersponsors and what rooms were reserved in their names to try and prevent this.  If this ends up being a large problem I could see this benefit for supersponsors going away.  If you have concerns about this I would strongly suggest that you email Uncle Kage at ceo[at]anthrocon.org  or note him here on the forums and he could discuss this issue with you privately or perhaps check into the possibility that this happened and deal with the issue.

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Assistant Director of Registration

Unclekage's picture
This user is a Board MemberThis user is a Staff Member
Location: RTP, North Carolina
Posts: 4354

I would like to know where you got your information.  I personally went over the rooming list and compared it with the supersponsors in our registration database.  The number of supersponsors who got more than one room is very small, and only a single supersponsor opted to get more than 2 rooms. 

If you personally know of someone who has gotten more than two rooms, then there's something amiss.  I would like you to email me at ceo(at)anthrocon.org with the names of these people.

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MeowthRocket's picture
Posts: 87

I really think hat benefit was awesome and I'm really hoping it stays around for future ACs!

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billnplay2's picture
Location: Warren, ohio
"the wolf in me wants to run and howl at the moon."
Posts: 48

The only thing that I don't care for is when I made my original hotel reservations it was just me. But since then I have picked up 2 or 3 people. But to add them. You need to know all their info. Instead of just being able to say that their will be 3 or 4 adultsstaying in the room.

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Unclekage's picture
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Location: RTP, North Carolina
Posts: 4354

You just need their names.  The hotel likes to know who is staying in their rooms (a reasonable request, if you ask me).

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Grumpish's picture
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Posts: 91

Passkey wanted too much info. I had to remove everyone and just leave my name on the room for initial registration. However, if you call the hotel or add people onto the reservation at check-in, all you have to do is give first & last names.

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charlieg's picture
This user is a Contributor
Location: Alexandria, VA
"If only stupidity were painful..."
Posts: 2005

I had the same problem when I registered a friend who is no longer coming.  Know what I did?  I lied!

I put down their name and my address and contact information.  Know what?  Passkey wasn't smart enough to figure out that I had lied.

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