I wanted to create a thread discussing how ludicrous it is that halfway through the season there is not a single downtown hotel room available. It’s been discussed a little in the championship housing thread but I don’t feel to the point it should be.
I have a strong feeling that it isn’t because they’re all truly booked yet with champs qualified teams, just that teams were over generous when they blocked their rooms way back when. I can see the direction FIRST was trying to take when they did this in order to make it fair for teams competing at events late in the season to still get a fair shot at rooms, however the implementation has been awful.
How i feel it could have been handled much better:
Teams rooms should be reserved and as soon as their last event they are registered for ends, if they did not qualify, their reservations are automatically cancelled. Most teams probably forgot they even made these block requests or remember they have to cancel them after they don’t qualify. It definitely wouldn’t be something at the top of my priority list after not qualifying. Right now there is nothing encouraging teams to cancel their blocks if they aren’t going to use them until April 7th.
Experient said the deadline for ANY team with a reservation to cancel their blocks is APRIL 8th.
To deal with the waitlist, a “short list” should be compiled of waitlist teams and only X amount of teams (say first 50 teams on the waitlist) can hold their reservation blocks after their last qualifying event has ended.
Obviously a lot more has to be done and considered to address and fix each situation but this is just what I’ve thought of in the past few days while sitting on hold.
I’ve planned three prior trips to champs and have never been more frustrated with FIRST than I am this year. Qualify at a week 3 event and stay 25 miles away? Forced to create a priority list of hotels I don’t want, and literally can’t stay at? (our board of education has a set of requirements for lodging that must be satisfied for our students to be approved to stay at them). Put my real list in a notes section? How do I know if my real list has even been read? How is it even convenient to keep track of all these “notes” of teams real preferences and be fair when distributing cancelled rooms? There are just so many questionable things with this whole process that has me, and my school administrators trying to help us pay, very upset. I never thought I’d say I kind of miss steele meetings.
The three other champs I planned, our team qualified in either week 5 or 6. Even that late, each year we were able to easily find a few downtown hotels to stay at through FIRST/Steele and satisfied our BOE’s requirements. But somehow this year week 3 there is not one hotel? From, what I’ve read even teams who blocked reservations after week 1 or even after bag day were left with only the distant hotels. The question that is bugging me, who the heck has all these downtown rooms reserved? But more importantly, how is this system any better than what it was?
I also wanted to take this opportunity to offer a friendly reminder and ask teams who did block off rooms at the beginning of the season, and did not qualify for championships at their events, PLEASE, cancel your reservations with Experient.
I am sorry if this post seems ranty but I’ve just vented my past 3 days of frustration of endless phone calls with FIRST, Experient, and dozens of downtown hotels I’ve called individually that always end with a, sorry, thats how it is, and most of them admitting how silly it is.
Maybe it isn’t as bad for other teams who don’t have to deal with their board of educations bureaucracy, worrying if once you find a hotel if they will even accept your Purchase Order(the only way we are capable of paying), or just the general pressure from the administration to get the plans in place NOW.
Anyone else going through this or just have a general opinion on hotel reservations this year?