On Thursday, FIRST sent a link where you could preview hotels for both the Houston & Detroit championships. Today I went to make an account on Experiet to be ready when housing opens but it looks maybe it already did. I don’t see any official from FIRST saying it opened or even indicating a date it would open! Did I miss something? Is it really open? Any help greatly appreciated!
Edit: For teams that have stayed out in the suburbs for a championship event, how did you navigate getting to and from the event every day? Also, for teams who have had success getting great hotels close to the venue outside the FIRST travel system, I would love to hear your experiences as well.
Open and heavily booked.
I was a little miffed that it seemed to imply it was open to preview, then a day later I could log in and see many hotels were sold out
I’m in the same boat. Every year they do something to screw it up for us. I’m now stuck with 50 kids staying at a hotel 30 min from Detroit!
All the nearby hotels were sold-out/waitlisted within minutes (e.g. by 12:15). Hopefully, FIRST will open up more rooms or teams will cancel their holds later in the season.
Not likely. I thought in previous years, FIRST ran a shuttle around hotels in the “suburbs”. Is that still a thing?
The email from first said it would open at 12 Noon Eastern on 12/13. I received the email about this less than 3 hours before that time, and to my knowledge there was no prior communication about opening time. This has been a problem for years. I can’t just drop everything in the middle of the workday to book hotels for an event that I may or may not attend. They need to restrict hotel registration to teams that are registered, rather than everyone playing this game of grab the rooms now and drop them later if we don’t qualify.
This has been a problem for at least the last two years. I have emailed the team advocate and I recommend other teams do the same. The current system is clearly not working for teams.
When 3946 went to St. Louis in 2015, we found nothing viable on FCH and stayed in Illinois. We teamed up with 2992 (~ 30 miles away) and hired a charter bus for the whole event - trip up, transport during the event, and trip home. We had about three cars/trucks per team as well carrying the pits and robots and a few people, mostly mentors.
This year volunteering for Houston CMP, I skipped FCH completely and booked early in walking range.
Ugh. We have 60+ kids on our team am so sharing with another team isn’t an option.
Keep your eye on the system going forwards. Everything close is booked now, but spots may open up as teams miss future deadlines or fail to qualify to the event. Check periodically after each deadline or after each week of competition.
Good idea–something I hadn’t thought of. I’m also going to see if there’s a way to do this outside the system. I remember last year someone telling me they saved a ton of money and headache going outside the system to book their rooms…but I forget who it was!
Even with being online right at noon, there were problems. I was refreshing the page constantly - I couldn’t even get to the log-in page UNTIL 12:15, and the close rooms were already sold out.
I think this really is the key, even if you’re not in the system. Our hotel for Miami Valley was supposedly fully booked when we tried to get all our rooms, but then opened up some rooms later on.
I do wish there was some more transparency to the system (or a longer waitlist). It’s nice FIRST tries to offer it to teams, but it’s so hit or miss whether you can get anything good locked in via the system.
We stayed in Southgate last year and had a coach bus take us to and from downtown each day.
~$400 per trip (~$2400 for 3 days Thu-Sat)
This was our experience as well. Currently we have 3-4 rooms booked at 3 different hotels. I wish instead of going through Experient, we could have a discount or corporate code, so we could search for our own rooms at a hotel that works for our team.
Maybe there are other teams out there who are faced with a similar situation? We have rooms at the Marriott Marquis, the Hilton Americas and the AC Hotel. We’d love to trade our 3 rooms at the Hilton for 3 rooms at the Marriott and our 3 rooms at the AC for three rooms at the Marriott. We mostly stay at Marriotts so can get lounge access there.
I also noticed at the Marriott that they are charging $20 each for the 3rd and 4th person in the room per night. It seems like this is something Experient could have done a better job of negotiating.
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