FIRST Championship Detroit Hotel Question

Our team qualified to attend the Detroit Championship this past week, this is a new experience for all current team members and mentors. As we look for hotels we have found the only options to be 2 person rooms. We as a team have very limited resources in terms of money and can simply not afford to have that many rooms, we understand that we have to book using experient. Is there any real reason we couldn’t book additional rooms through another sight?
We understand we get some sort of ID badges from experient, but are they really necessary? Could we put 4 or 5 people on one of these 2 person rooms without any issues? Also it seems ridiculous that FIRST would make it so only 2 person rooms available.

-Grant Ober, 2549

You can book hotel on your own. We did when we went to St. Louis. The biggest advantage booking through FIRST that hotels were closer to event and the prices were negotiated for the event (still expensive).

Everyone who attends event (not sure for spectator gallery) requires ID (badge). Teams can register all members on TIMS, so when you arrive to the event, you can pick all badges as team. It is the easiest way, otherwise you will end up standing in lines (some times for long time). You **will **need badge to attend closing ceremonies.

I don’t think you are required to book through expedient. You can simply register all your team members on your experient account so they can get ID badges, then you could make your own reservations directly through a hotel or on another site.

Also, it isn’t so much FIRST only made 2 person rooms available, it’s more so that all the 4 person rooms have already been booked. Most of the close hotels boom up really fast. I think a lot of teams hold rooms as soon as booking opens, even If they haven’t qualified for worlds yet.

Depending on the size of your team, if small <20, you may be able to find rooms at the last minute when larger teams release their excess reserved block. We did this in St. Louis last year, not expecting to qualify and trying to book last minute, we found the 7 rooms we needed when two teams released those rooms the weekend before champs.

On the other hand, there are a ton of hotels along the I-94 or I-96 corridor that put you ~20min drive from Cobo. Public transit kind of sucks in Detroit if you aren’t on the people mover loop, aka middle of Downtown, so you will be driving anyway. Traffic moves pretty well before 7am, and many places are a quick morning drive away and you can save a ton of money on hotels (Southfield, Dearborn, Warren, Livonia, Southgate.) Heck, we are thinking of driving from home every day from Ypsilanti to save money.

First try at booking rooms for Detroit we had our rooms cancelled because we’re a robotics team and were told by the hotel we had to book through expedient.

Really? That seems weird. Did you mention your were a team? Why would any hotel care who books their rooms as long as they get filled?

Contracts, probably.

I got supper frustrated too booking rooms on the web sight. I ended up calling. The repressive was super helpful and magically got us the rooms we desired.

To clarify, did you call the hotel directly or a rep from Experient?

Experient has deals with the hotels. I know for Detroit the Motor City Hotel/Casino isn’t accepting direct group reservations. I’ve never done our rooms through experient, but I might have to this year because they seem to have downtown locked down. You might see some rooms become available after Michigan State champs next weekend.

Experient. I did talk to hotel reps too but not much they can do. I feel the Experient rep does have some pull with the hotels from their perspective.

Yes we were told that the hotel had a contract with FIRST to only book FIRST teams through Experient.

You absolutely do not need to book hotels only through their vendor. The vendor’s hotels will probably be the closest to the venue. But, you can save a LOT by booking further out. Last year, we stayed at a perfextly nice Wingate that was about 20 minutes from the Houston venue for about $20 pp per night (plus free breakfast).