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HELP! No rooms in Philly for my trip! Need suggestions!

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HELP! No rooms in Philly for my trip! Need suggestions!

Old Oct 11th, 2005, 08:58 AM
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HELP! No rooms in Philly for my trip! Need suggestions!

I am planning on going to Philly November 11-13, but of course every hotel is sold out b/c of some convention. I got my friend and I a room for Saturday the 12th, but we need a place for Friday the 11th. Does anybody know of any good places outside of the City Center where we could stay? We are staying at the Hyatt Regency Penns Landing on Saturday. We don't need anything upscale, maybe a hotel near Penn or somewhere in the city close to shopping and sights is fine. Thanks!
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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Hop like a bunny over to www.quikbook.com. Checked on your night, the 11th, and they show rooms available at the Radisson-Warwick on Rittenhouse Square and also the Comfort Inn/ historic district (or some such thing). The rest available were airport or Valley Forge hotels (which would be ok if you wanted to hang out at the KOP mall and go to VF park).
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 11:46 AM
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Abby:
If nothing else works out, the Philadelphia Courtyard Devon is a short walk away from the Strafford train station which is on the same train line as Villanova. For some reason it is hard to find on the Marriott site but if you go to the hotel directory and to Courtyards it is listed under the Pennsylvania hotels. You can also look for other hotels in Wayne, a cute town on the same train line. I think it is the Wayne Inn that is supposed to be nice. Any other hotels, I am afraid, may require a car rental.
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 12:03 PM
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Room blocks will be dropped probably starting midnight tonight. Start calling first thing in the morning.

Either that or find out what convention and call the hotels and ask for group reservations and make a reservation out of the room block.

 
Old Oct 11th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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Hi GoTravel, with all due respect, I don't think your suggestion of impersonating a convention-goer is a very fair one and borders on the unethical. The organization sponsoring each convention secures these room blocks in advance for the specific use of the folks coming to take advantage of the program they are paying for, and for some conventions (including all the ones I attend, in the education field) many folks would simply not be able to afford a convention if not for those special room rates, especially in a big city.

For example, I am attending a conference in Philly the weekend after Abby43 plans to visit. In the last few weeks our organization has informed us that all of the block rooms are already reserved (the organization is growing quickly.) The other hotels they could recommend in Center City are FAR more expensive (sometimes twice as much) and obviously further away. Unfortunately, some folks may need to cancel their trip due to the unexpected costs as many of us have very strict per-diems and cannot pay for the trip independently.

I'm sure you didn't mean your suggestion in this way, and were just being helpful to the poster's question, but please consider the consequences of such a suggestion.

Thanks & sorry if I sound like a grouch, but conference affordability is a big thing for me at work!
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 04:54 PM
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And I suspect goodheart the notion that you don't wait until the last minute to book a convention room is also one of your strong points, too.
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 05:47 PM
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Voyager - I think that was a compliment?
It wouldn't be a conference for me if I didn't book a hotel room as soon as the info appeared on the conference website, and if I didn't prepare a typed guide to the city we are visiting, including pointers from Fodor's about all the restaurants to try ;-) (sadly, I never get to try them all because, well, I'm there for the work... and $40 a day for 3 meals doesn't get you too far for teh kinds of meals I like to eat in NYC or Philly..)
My colleagues never worry about where to stay or eat because they know I will have been obsessing about it months in advance. Having said that, I do count on the fact that I will have access to the block of conference rooms...

Good conference cities could be a whole other thread, actually. Philadelphia is one of the better ones in fact, in my opinion.

Abby, I hope you do find a place in town, Philly is alot of fun. Perhaps lots of those conventioning people are planners like me and booked several options, which they will cancel promptly to open up rooms for you!
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 05:55 PM
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I just received, today, a meeting application for a conference held in January. The main hotel, The Gaylord Palms, is already filled. So, Goodheart I feel your pain.
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 06:09 PM
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Birdie, you may not have to be too sorry about that one. We stayed that Gaylord Opryland hotel in Nashville for a convention in April, and it was rather strange not to step outside for 5 days... Some folks thought it was great for a conference, certainly convenient to have everything under one roof, but I prefer the option to walk around and not be confined to the bubble (aka the glass dome). Unfortunately for me, I think the professional organization that runs this yearly convention did like the deal, and we'll be at the Florida one in 2 years.

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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 06:38 AM
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goodheart, as a former of Director of Sales and Marketing for four hotels, I can tell you for a fact that am very familiar with room blocks and how they work. I encouraged the practice of putting transient reservations in group blocks as due most DOS's.

It has nothing to do with price. Many times the conference reservation rate is higher than a transient rate due to the fact that it costs the hotel to block rooms tieing up inventory. In other words, the client pays the price to have rooms tied up.

Conference clients, corporations, associations, and SMERFS (a Social, Military, Education, or Fraternal organization) are under attrition clauses that if the convention attendees don't pick up a certain percentage of rooms they get charged anyway. This is most tough for assocations, reunions and not for profits.

This is common practice in the hotel industry.

I suggest if you are attending a popular conference or convention, book early. Also, make sure you are not paying a higher rate than the transient.

I take offense to you calling my reply unethical when you know nothing of the industry.

 
Old Oct 12th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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GoTravel,
I sincerely apologize for using such a strong word - it was 4 am where I live and I have just had this experience of several frantic friends and colleagues needing to change plans re: Philadelphia hotels. And you are correct, I do not know the business side of the matter, so I appreciate your detailed explanation.

All I can speak of is my experience as a consumer, which has been that when the designated "block" was entirely reserved (as per hotel reservations folks, I didn't have access to all the records of course) I always paid far more for a room in the same hotel, or had to choose to stay elsewhere. Thus, as I explained in the earlier post, I became pretty fanatical about making those reservations as soon as I knew where the conference would be held. I also always check the prices via multiple methods to make sure I am getting the most economical deal for my institution - but many folks do not know enough to do that or simply don't have the time, or don't have their travel funds approved in time to plan ahead.

Given your explanation of how this runs in the hotel industry, I wish the conference planners would then explain to us that "block of rooms" does not actually reserve a better price for conference goers. Then at least everyone would be clear on what the deal is.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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I just checked Hotwire, and nothing for Phila, a 2* at the airport, and a 3* in Cherry Hill for the night of the 11th. The 3* is probably the Clarion on Rt 70 - the one with the check mark for Best Value. It's about 10 miles outside the city and only $55 per night plus taxes & fees. That's the hotel we got on Hotwire for the 1st week in December.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 07:16 AM
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goodheart, apology accepted and thank you, I appreciate it a lot.

I hope it better explains room blocks.

One thing, the room blocks are dropped 30 days prior to arrival of the first day of the block. Try calling within this 30 days and chances are you will get a better rate than your room block rate.

Shockingly, cancellations made after the room block drop and before the hotels cut off (6PM day of for many) do not affect the attrition numbers.

Hope this helps you get more for your money!
 
Old Oct 12th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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GoTravel, thanks for the useful lessons in hotel booking & for accepting my apology so graciously.

-- "Shockingly, cancellations made after the room block drop and before the hotels cut off (6PM day of for many) do not affect the attrition numbers"

Wow, that really does not make sense! That must be especially hard for non-profits (as you wrote) where people don't have the carte-blanche to plan as far ahead with budgets etc. I can't imagine what a logistical challenge it is to (try to) successfully anticipate how many people will actually sign up for a hotel from year to year, without overshooting and then having to pay the attrition fees. I guess that is why some people do this for a living.

Now that I know the 30-day rule I will most definitely call next week and see if I can drive an even harder bargain ;-)

And to stop hijacking this thread, I think I'll start a new one later on best conference cities/hotels, just for fun.
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Old Oct 12th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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GoTravel, thanks for explaining that conference rooms can cost more. I remember once booking a hotel for some event and the regular rate (or AAA rate) was cheaper than the conference rate. Of course I booked the cheaper rate. I didn't realize it would have an affect on the conference people though.

One time, when I was in an organization (hobby) having a meeting in Charlotte, I called about getting a room at the hotel. The hotel had never heard of the group, but was willing to reserve a room at xxx. Didn't sound good to me that the hotel hadn't heard of us.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 10:18 AM
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Got a room, all worries are done except how do I get there? I want to take the train from NYC to Philly but it's almost $100. How do the daily commuters afford this?? What about taking NJ Transit to Trenton and transferring to SEPTA? What is SEPTA anyway??? Thanks!
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 10:37 AM
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SEPTA = Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Autority.

Yes, you can do the NJ Transit and switch in Trenton. It will knock it down quite a bit.

BTW, I get $84 RT for Amtrak when I check it.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 11:18 AM
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Is the SERTA train in the same station as where I get off from NYC-Trenton? If I just have to make a train transfer then that's no big deal. I know the time difference is about an hour-do you think it's worth it if I"m saving a lot of money?
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 06:05 PM
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I think it's probably worth it... you're looking at around $30 RT instead of $84.

The train is in the same station in Trenton... just change platforms.
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 09:06 AM
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The NJ Transit to SEPTA transfer is very easy. You just need to walk across the platform. Schedules are here: http://www.septa.com/service/pdfs/R7.pdf

Be aware that not every NJ transit train from NYC to Trenton connects to a SEPTA train onward to Philly, so make sure you check the schedule.

I live in Philly and never take Amtrack to NYC.
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