I haven’t heard anything, but its nice to hear that FIRST did make a change in the vendor that will be taking care of housing. I was never really happy with Steele meetings. Hopefully the new company, whoever they are, will provide a higher quality of service.
We had issue with our charge card getting charged immediately for hotels in St. Louis
(as in the fall when it opened up…) and having to wait weeks for them to give us money back… when rooms were cancelled… and others took the rooms.
Mostly our issues with them. We had to cancel some rooms, and we we’re being told different things from Steele and the hotel. It very well could have been a fluke for them, but it left a bad taste in my mouth. Plus as Brendan said, prices haven’t been the greatest.
With that said, it seems I must have just had a case of bad luck as a lot of people both on CD and I’ve been talking to have had go success with them.
We all would probably prefer to deal directly with hotels. Problem for many of us is that every hotel closest to venue is 100% reserved by FIRST agency handling bookings…forcing us again into millisecond race to click mouse in time to access desired hotel on booking website.Still can’t figure out how Moe manages to book the Drury every year:D Hope the new agency website can handle the volume…and hope the date and time for the bookings is posted better than previous years. And yes, we did sign up for email notification…
It was also an issue for regionals. We saw hotel prices increase by $20-50/night when Steele took over bookings for regionals, compared to when we booked the exact same hotels directly in the past. I’m sure the convenience factor of using Steele is very appealing for some teams, however there are many others who’d prefer just to work directly with the hotels and not pay the premium for Steele’s service.
We have had multiple issues, the biggest of which was showing up in Atlanta in 2010 and the hotel didn’t have our 22 room reservation (I still owe Joanne Pruniak for helping me through that).
To piggy back on many others, we have had problems with refunds, and most recently them mistakenly charging my personal credit card $11,000 because they made me put it in that information even though we were paying by check. The refund didn’t process before my statement came out and it was a huge problem for me.
I prefer to deal directly with hotels for all of our regionals, but they make this nearly impossible at worlds. I have been in contact with a few hotels in St. Louis and many are already 100% booked for FIRST which is frustrating.
I would hope a new company will solve some of these problems, but some of them are just the nature of these events.