FIRST Championship Housing Questions

After having a pretty horrible experience with FIRST Championship Housing last year, is there a way for teams to see which hotels will be available to them prior to the block booking opening up? A lot of my troubles last year would’ve been solved had I been able to do this, so I’m curious if this is an option. Also- for teams that have previously attended the FIRST Championship in Detroit can you recommend any hotels that are along or close to the People Mover? Bonus question–does anyone know when Championship Housing will open this year? Thanks in advance for the help!

Can’t answer your first question, but last year my team stayed at the hotel right across the street from the Cobo center (Crowne Plaza), which has a people mover station inside it. It was quite pricey, and was very difficult to get a room, but it’s worth it if you want to be close to both competition and a people mover.
The only downside was the hotel quality. The hotel was very nice and fancy, and everything was clean, but room maintenance was not good, and my family wound up getting a significant amount off the bill because of it. If you’re okay with room maintenance not being great, by all means, it’s a good choice for a hotel. Also it might be good to note that it seemed my family was the only one who had any significant room issues, the rest of the team had a generally good experience.

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When the Championship was held in St. Louis our go-to hotel was the Crowne Plaza so I’ll have to check this one out. Thanks!

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I spoke with some reps from Experient last year; the inability to see availability and the sudden launch were problems that they are aware of. It might be worth reaching out to see if they have corrected those problems though. While the people I talked to were accommodating, Experient doesn’t strike me as a company that is sensitive to customer demands.

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We had a less than excellent experience at the Crowne Plaza last year. Showers with no drain covers, showers with no showerheads, TVs that didnt work or let out the magic smoke on more than one person, obvious signs of romantic extracurriculars on the windows, lack of cleaning, high cost, and lots of complaining needed for a good day. But the walk to Cobo was gloriously short. There is not a people mover stop inside, but it is just across the street away from cobo to get a ride to the other venues.

The Courtyard by Marriot was very nice, but further away, and the Renaissance Center is always nice too (but spendy) and bot have people mover stops inside.

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Fun. We stayed at the Greektown Hotel & Casino last year and there were unlocked mini bars with alcohol in most of the students rooms and “adult” videos being advertised on one of the hotel TV channels. I would not recommend staying there AT ALL but I DO recommend eating there. Their food court has some decent food at reasonably prices–including a cheeseburger that uses donuts for buns! (I had it–it was glorious!)

I had a positive experience in 2018 with at the Courtyard Detroit Downtown across the street from the Renaissance Center. There is a people mover stop in the building (which is super cool and convenient) and as far as I can remember, no alcohol in the mini-bar.

Oh, lovely - we missed the video previews and I think only one room (a mentors) ended up with the open stocked minibar.

Glad we are back to the Houston hotels if we make it this year. Though I will admit the Detroit food experience was significantly better.

When we were booking our hotel in Peoria last year, we were able to negotiate a better rate than Experient/FIRST on our own. I don’t even know how they even did that unless they just said “good enough” to the first price they got.

How did you do that? Just go to a web-site like Hotels.com or Trivago? Or did you work with the hotel directly? Also- did you did this before or after event housing had opened up through Experient?

I’m not sure. I think it might have been done directly with the hotel over email or phone, and it was definitely after Experient opened up.

We worked with the hotels directly. You could either take the approach of calling and trying to negotiate a block at a lower rate, or possibly have a bunch of people reserve 5 or so rooms a piece, and then call and negotiate merging them into a block at a lower rate. It has worked for us most years.
Though we did it with room types that weren’t offered through Experient. We weren’t really competing with Experient.

We stayed at the Residence Inn in Warren, not too far from the GM Tech Center. On the plus side, the manager was very nice and accommodating. She really went out of her way to make it the best experience that she could. That said, there was some variability in the room quality. There were no minibars and if our TVs had movies of any sort, I was way too tired to notice.

If you are traveling with family groups, people who need to cook their own food or are on a tight budget, then I would suggest that you consider it. We worked directly with the hotel.

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