NEW FOR ARISIA 2017: The Westin will charge a non-refundable deposit
equal to one (1) night's stay (plus applicable taxes) on December
13th, 2016, roughly one month prior to the convention.
This deposit will be applied to the final room bill.
To cancel a
room without having to pay the deposit, you must contact the Arisia
Innkeeper by December 9th at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This deposit policy applies only to reservations made at The Westin,
the primary convention hotel, and not the overflow hotel(s).
For the last several years, Arisia has had an issue with members
reserving one or more rooms at The Westin "just in case" and not
cancelling the reservation until the very last minute. This has led
to having many rooms left empty during Arisia because people on the
waitlist will have made other arrangements by the time these rooms
open up. By having a full month (rather than days) to get people off
of the waitlist we can accommodate more people. For reference,
the number of cancellations was 50+ in the week prior to Arisia.
Waitlist for rooms at The Westin prior to Arisia 2016 was over 100 a
week before the convention, but we ended up with empty rooms over
the convention weekend because most people on the waitlist could not
change their plans on such short notice.
How will this policy help?
The intent of this policy is to encourage members to cancel any
reservations that they will not use in enough time for the Innkeeper
staff to reassign the rooms to people on the waitlist, such that we
will minimize the number of rooms left empty during the convention.
What other ways have we tried to fix this?
Arisia has made an effort to encourage people to cancel their
unneeded reservations earlier, posting reminders to social media and
the Progress Reports sent via email.
Arisia does overbook our hotel room block (meaning, we accept more
reservations than the number of rooms we have available) in order to
easily manage the large number of cancellations we get, which took
several years of negotiating before The Westin would allow it;
however, this alone has not had a large enough impact.
We discussed many other options with The Westin, but based on
several limitations (including, but not limited to, the hotel's
electronic reservation system and what we were willing to impose on
our members), this method was the best compromise for Arisia 2017.
What if I can’t afford a deposit in December?
The deposit policy applies only to reservations at The Westin. For
Arisia 2017, the overflow hotel block will be at the Aloft, which is
across the street from The Westin and only a half block from the
lower entrance on D street, located near the Grand Ballrooms. There
is no deposit charged for reservations made at the overflow hotel.
Are there any exemptions?
If you can’t afford the deposit in December and have a justifiable
need to stay in The Westin, as opposed to staying at the overflow
hotel(s), you may contact the Innkeeper staff and request an
exemption. Exemptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
How does this impact volunteers using one of the Space Pilot
The standard Space Pilot program (wherein a volunteer agrees prior
to the convention to work a minimum number of hours at-con in
exchange for being assigned a sleeping space in a room with other
volunteers for the duration of the convention) is operated out of
the overflow hotel(s) and therefore the deposit does not apply.
The new Space Pilot program (wherein a volunteer agrees prior to the
convention to work a minimum number of hours at-con in exchange for
Arisia to pay for (1) night of their hotel stay) is operated out of
The Westin and therefore the deposit policy does apply. If a group
of individuals staying in the same room all sign up for this
program, such that every night in the hotel is covered by Arisia,
the Innkeeper staff will work with the Space Pilot program head to
determine the appropriate path forward on a case-by-case basis (be
it exemption or reimbursement).
What happens to my deposit if….?
In case of emergency, like an illness or severe weather, please
contact the Innkeeper staff as soon as possible and we will do our
best to advocate for you with the hotel to get your deposit
refunded. These situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case
basis, but The Westin has a history of being accommodating when it
comes to last minute emergencies and we have no reason to believe
they will not continue to be so.
After the deadline has passed, members may contact the Innkeeper
staff to transfer their room(s) to a specific individual(s). Any
financial arrangements would be between those members and Arisia
would not facilitate any monetary transfer.
Anyone on the waitlist getting a newly released room will be charged
the deposit at the time of the reservation assignment.
**Please note that this policy is new and as such it is a work in
progress that may be modified for future Arisias. If you have any
specific questions not answered here, you may contact the Arisia
Innkeeper staff at email@example.com
Any general feedback on this policy may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org