FYI to Teams Attending Detroit & Staying at Casino Hotels

My team initially booked a block of rooms at the Edward Hotel & Convention Center through the FIRST Championship web-site and their travel vendor, Experient. Three days later I was called by Experient, notified the hotel was condemned and informed that my block of rooms was being transferred over to the Greektown Hotel & Casino.

The other day I was looking up photos of the Greektown Hotel & Casino on Trip Advisor to see what the guest rooms looked like and found out they all have mini bars WITH alcohol. I called the hotel regarding this and they were ZERO help. They said it’s their policy that children under the age of 21 must have an adult staying in the hotel room with them, and that mini bars cannot be removed. They were also clueless that the FIRST Championship was coming to Detroit in two weeks and that they would have large groups of students staying there.

I reached out to Experient via the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the FIRST Championship travel web-site and just got back a less than satisfactory response that basically said the hotel will remove the mini bars for a charge of $25/room/day. That’s $1,350 they are asking my team to pay so we can not have liquor in the rooms with minor students. Outrageous!!

So, if you block booked rooms at one of the casino hotels out there, or if you had your block transferred to one of these hotels, you’ve been warned that the rooms have mini-bars in them. I am currently working with the hotel, Expierient, and FIRST to figure out an acceptable solution to this issue. If I get one, I’l update this thread. In the meantime, now you know.

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Pretty much every casino in Vegas has sensors that automatically charge you snacks and drinks are taken. Even moving them or picking them up to look at them will charge you. I’m sure Detroit is no different.

Use that to your advantage. It’ll tell you what room got charged for what. Make it clear to your students that that system exists. It should prevent them from taking anything

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These mini bars are unlocked and contain alcohol. Students will be in these rooms overnight. That amounts to furnishing alcohol to minors and it’s not okay.

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In a perfect world, that would be the case, however the pessimist in me says that if there is alcohol available to them, some students will take advantage of that situation. Even if you know after the fact which room(s), if any, were charged, that doesn’t go back and erase what happened.

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Not to mention this would never fly for a school sponsored team.

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I’m not saying it’s a perfect solution. I am just pointing out that they do that. FIRST should pick up that $1350 tab, especially since you booked it though them.

Very sorry to hear about your situation. It’s good that you caught it now rather than when you checked in

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Absolutely, FIRST should be picking up that bill, I don’t see any other viable solution. It’s absurd to charge teams almost $1500 extra because they can’t have alcohol in the same room as high school students.

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I swear I’ve read almost this same thread about a condemned hotel a year ago. Can anyone link me?

So Experient clarified it’s $25/room for the entire stay. But that’s still $450 for our team who’s from a Title 1 School. Some kids on my team can’t even afford lunch at school, so just coming up with the money to go was a feat. Now they expect me to rustle up an extra $450? Nope. Not happening. We’ve reached out to our FIRST District Director (who is AMAZING!) and he is working with FIRST HQ in Manchester to try and resolve this issue.

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Disagreed. The hotel should be willing to waive that charge. A group is coming to rent eighteen rooms from the hotel, which is a rather large purchase. Hotels are literally in the accommodations industry, they should be willing to accommodate such a benign and low effort request as de-stocking the minibars for a few days. I’m shocked this hotel is refusing to honor such a request.

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I agree, but they tried that route and it didn’t get them anywhere.

Basically, the team should not be paying for $450 to remove alcohol. That’s a terrible policy

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Not only are they refusing to honor it, Experient’s solution is to move us to a new hotel. Problem is this new hotel isn’t with in walking distance of the Cobo Center. So now I would have to find transportation to/from every day for 50+ students, coaches and chaperones. Also a big nope. My team should NOT be penalized for something that was out of our control.

Since we are a Boeing sponsored team and have 3 Boeing mentors on the team, we’ve reached out to Boeing’s FIRST coordinator to see if there is any pull they have as game sponsor.

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Yup. And the hotel’s first solution was to have adults sleep in the room with students. Nope. Not happening. We are a Pennsylvania team and that screams Jerry Sandusky!

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You mean this thread?

I disagree with Sean, this type of stuff needs to be better vetted by any vendor partners FIRST works with, especially when moving teams to hotels that are not of their choosing. At the end of the day, the vendors and FIRST should be mindful of who the guests are.

Please ensure all students and parents are aware of the presence of alcohol. If you must police your students, I highly recommend purchasing very specific and special zip ties for each room that students would not be able to replace or replicate.

If experient, FIRST, or the hotel do not act, this would be the only safety measure I can think of.

Please try to get in touch with higher hotel management to resolve the issue.

I also highly recommend emailing FIRST HQ about this situation. They need better informed vendor partners, who should be working with teams and the hotels to resolve these kinds of safety issues (yes, this is a safety issue as the students should not be in a position where they are in the presence of alcohol on a school trip).

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This is a bad situation waiting to happen.
I cant believe the OP is even going through this at all.
All it takes is one incident and you can have teachers being fired or a program shutting down.

FIRST and Experient should address this.

We live in a society that has zero tolerance on this issue regardless of whose fault it is.

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Good grief, we’re at that hotel, too. Please keep us informed on what happens, and if you need more teams to chime in about it I will happily call as well.

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You should really call anyway. This isn’t the kind of issue to leave to someone else, no matter how competent they are.

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Good point. We’ll let our voice be heard as well.

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I just sent you a message but yes please call and raise hell. I think the more people that make a fuss about this, the better. I do have to ask, did you originally book this hotel or were you moved here after the other Hotel was condemned? Oh and by the way, don’t call the other Hotel condemned when talking with Experient because they get really upset about that and in a nice but sort of aggressive way they politely remind you it was never really condemned but yet if you read all the news article that was totally condemned.