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New Hotel Procedure

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 1, 2019

NEW PROCEDURE: Hotel Accommodations 69th Annual ICA Conference Communication Beyond Boundaries


Hotel Block Link Will Be Released 4 March 2019 to Registered Attendees


In past years, the link to book hotel accommodations has been released in mid-January when paper and panel acceptances is announced, with the conference schedule released in early March. This has caused several issues which have inconvenienced attendees. Without knowing their actual schedule, attendees were in the habit of booking full-week stays and then going back and adjusting down to 3 or 4 days once the actual schedule was released. The full-week booking scenario often caused our room block to "sell out" in the first 24 hours, despite the fact that 50% of those room nights would later be canceled (once the schedule was released) and given to those on the waiting list. This has caused unnecessary stress for our attendees, both at the front end when trying to scramble for rooms on day one, and on the back end when sitting for months on the waitlist.  

 

This year, we are adopting a new hotel block rollout schedule that will decrease stress for attendees, ensure that reservations made in the block are accurate to the needs of attendees, and eliminate unnecessary steps. The schedule is as follows:

 


Wednesday, 16 January:

ICA headquarters releases acceptances; conference registration opens

February:

ICA Executive Director & President-Elect build the schedule

Thursday, 28 February:

Friday, 1 March:

Last day to register for conference to obtain early housing link

Full conference schedule is released

2-3 March:

Attendees take the weekend to decide travel plans, shop flights

Monday, 4 March:

Hotel block booking link and access code is sent only to those who registered prior to 1 March

Tuesday, 5 March:

Hotel block booking link is publicly available, no code required


As in previous years, attendees will still be able to adjust the reservation afterward if needed. Please note that the headquarters hotel (Washington Hilton) will require a four-night minimum stay to maximize capacity (for example, someone booking a room just for Saturday night blocks that room from being used for someone who would have stayed Thursday through Monday, so the main hotel will be reserved for those booking for longer stays).

For 2019, we have contracted more hotel rooms than in any other year in ICA’s history, with the goal of making sure that everyone’s needs are met. The headquarters hotel this year is the newly renovated Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue, with a large overflow block at the nearby Omni Shoreham Hotel, with conference rates of just US$175 per night plus taxes at both. Our additional overflow hotels are charming boutique hotels: the Kimpton Carlyle Hotel with a rate of US$179 per night plus taxes and the Churchill Hotel with a rate of US$199 per night plus taxes. While these hotels are within easy walking distance of each other, shuttles will run at regular intervals between the Kimpton Carlyle, the Washington Hilton and the Omni Shoreham for attendees staying at these hotels. The Churchill is across the street from the Hilton.

A quick FAQ about room blocks:

  • How do I get these rates? You may NOT call the hotels directly to get these rates; they will not book rooms with attendees directly. You MUST book through the ICA link to be released in March.

  • Can’t I get a better rate through Expedia? ICA’s Executive Director contracts room blocks more than five years out in order to secure the best rates for ICA attendees, and we have a “best rate clause” in our contract so that our attendees receive the best rate available for our dates. You will be staying in a US$300+ hotel room for a US$175 rate.

  • Why should I stay inside the block? Associations guarantee a certain amount of income to the hotel in room block stays in exchange for complimentary meeting space. When attendees go outside the block for their rooms, they harm the association’s ability to negotiate for meeting space and competitive room rates. Over time, this leads to the association having to pay for meeting space which, in turn, leads to the association having to raise registration fees for the conference itself in order to cover expenses.

  • Why can’t I just use Airbnb? You are welcome to do so. However, please note that in the past five years, we have had over ten instances where attendees had to be “rescued” from Airbnb situations when they arrived in town only to find situations such as a lack of running water, being locked out with no key, someone else already staying in the apartment, or feeling unsafe. We have found hotel placement for these attendees at the last minute via cancellations, but this may not always be possible. The best way for us to ensure your safety and comfort is for you to stay in facilities where we have contact with, and clout to negotiate with, the management and can advocate on your behalf when something goes wrong.

Tags:  January-February 2019 

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