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ICA RETAINS 2018 PROCEDURE FOR #ICA20 HOTEL BOOKINGS

Posted By Katie Wolfe, Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

BOOKING LINK WILL BE RELEASED TO REGISTERED ATTENDEES FIRST


If you’re a frequent ICA attendee you will recall that prior to 2018, the link to book hotel accommodations was released in mid-January when paper and panel acceptances are announced, with the conference schedule released in early March. This caused several issues which 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 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.

 

Last year, however, we adopted a new hotel block rollout schedule that decreased stress for attendees, ensured that reservations made in the block were accurate to the needs of attendees, and eliminated unnecessary steps. 

 

This new schedule was so successful that we will be continuing this modus operandi for 2020. The schedule is as follows:




Wednesday, 15 January:

ICA headquarters releases acceptances;conference registration opens


Thursday, 27 February

Last day to register for conference to get on list for early housing link


Friday, 28 February:


Full conference schedule is released


29 Feb-1 Mar:


Attendees take the weekend to speak with colleagues/partners, decide dates of attendance, devise travel plans, book travel



Monday, 2 March:


Hotel block booking link is sent only to those who registered for the main conference prior to Thursday, 27 February

Tuesday, 3 March:

Hotel block booking link is publicly available, code no longer required this date forward




Please note that as with 2019, the headquarters hotels (The Star Gold Coast and the Sofitel) will require a four-night minimum stay to maximize capacity (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). If you are staying fewer than four nights, you should book at one of the condo properties. 

 

A tip about the Broadbeach area

Note that our conference and all our blocked properties are contained within the Broadbeach area of the Gold Coast. You can walk out of the front door of the convention center and walk straight towards the water and have your toes in the sand in less than 15 minutes. It’s that compact! The “Gold Coast” is a longer swath of which Broadbeach is only a part, and parts of it can be quite far, so be careful when booking. If you stay within the properties we have selected for you, you will be within a 5-10 minute walk of the conference venues. The conference sessions are split between the Star and the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Center. These two buildings are connected by a covered pedestrian bridge, so travel between will not be nearly so treacherous as dodging the streetcars in Prague! 

We DO NOT RECOMMEND booking your stay in the “Surfer’s Paradise” area adjacent to Broadbeach: it has some fun nightlife but it’s very touristy and loud, and you will likely be kept awake late at night (as we were) by revelers and a delightful but very loud Elvis impersonator who performs in the square. It’s like a much smaller version of Times Square in New York City: all lights and noise. Instead, book your sleeping room down in Broadbeach (where all our blocked rooms are, and where our sessions are), where things are cleaner, quieter, and walking distance to the sessions. You can always catch the light rail up to Surfers’ Paradise if you want, but there are so many great bars and restaurants in Broadbeach you really won’t have to. 

 

HOTEL BLOCK

Please note that the hotel links provided are for informational purposes only, rooms can ONLY be booked through the official ICA reservation link starting in March. The headquarters hotels this year are the newly renovated The Star Gold Coast Casino & Hotel, and the Sofitel. Our negotiated group block rates start from as little as AUD $269 single/double, which equates to just US $182, including taxes. 


Be sure to reference the latest exchange rates when you are booking anywhere; as of this writing (2 December 2019) US $1 equals Australian $1.48. 


Our overflow arrangements are condo properties with varying levels of service (these are more affordable because they do not guarantee the availability of housekeeping services, room service, or other hotel-type amenities). These are charming, modern apartments —many with balconies—that have two or three bedrooms sharing a central living area, washer/dryer, and kitchen, and can therefore accommodate 4-6 attendees in close quarters at a very affordable rate. For instance, a two bedroom apartment with two single beds in each bedroom (four beds total) can accommodate four attendees at a rate of less than US$35 per person, per night, and those attendees will save even more money by buying groceries and cooking rather than eating out the entire stay (there is a large supermarket within walking distance of al properties). 

A word of caution: Please note that there are MANY of these types of condo properties in the Broadbeach area, and we toured them ALL on our site visit. The ones to which we will link you are the only ones we are comfortable with recommending – there were many we saw that do not meet the cleanliness and safety standards we set for our attendees and therefore did not make our list. Please be careful if you go outside our vetted recommendations. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

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. Attendees who have booked through Expedia in the past have found nasty surprises, such as being the first to be kicked out when the hotel is oversold, or not having the included wifi in the ICA rate, or taxes being extra bringing the total to more than our block rate. Don’t be scammed by rate pirates. 

  • 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 outright 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, water that smelled like sulfur, 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.

For more information on the Gold Coast and things to do while in town, please see our Executive Director’s prior article, Top Ten (Ok, 11) Reasons to Attend #ICA20 in Gold Coast, Australia. See you in Broadbeach! 

 



Tags:  December 2019 

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