I tried making my hotel reservation for ALENEX and SODA today, only to be told that not only is the SODA block of rooms at that hotel sold out, but the hotel itself is booked full, and the nearest hotel the reservation agent could suggest was a mile away. It seems strange to me that this would happen nearly four weeks before the supposed deadline, but anyway. Is anyone else in this predicament? What other hotels in the area (near Van Ness and Geary in San Francisco) can anyone suggest?
ETA: Google maps to the rescue. I ended up choosing the Carlton, only 1/4 mile away, for around 80% of the conference rate for the Holiday Inn. Looks like there are several other choices within a similar distance and price range.
ETA2: According to David Johnson, the hotel does still have rooms, but you have to call the 415 number instead of the 800 number to get them.
Oh that's terrible. I haven't even started thinking about bookings yet.
I see we are already three
Three more people at my dept are planning to attend and have no room yet. Man, 4 weeks in advance, this is ridiculous...
My guess is that SIAM got tired of trying to twist everyone's arms into registering at the conference hotel (despite the existence of cheaper rooms in nearby hotels, or even in the same hotel, at almost every SODA). They probably reserved a block of rooms containing the exact number of rooms that were used in last year's SODA block. Yeah, that'll show us!
From the SODA web site: "SIAM guarantees the hotel that we will fill a certain number of “room nights” (rooms per night) during the conference. SIAM incurs penalties if too many attendees opt to stay in other hotels in the area or neglect to indicate to the hotel that they are with the SIAM conference."
Per my update, the existence of cheaper rooms in nearby hotels still holds this time around, so problem solved. And now I don't even feel guilty that my recommendation that other attendees shop around for better deals might hurt SIAM.
Last time I needed to stay in San Francisco, hotels.com found me a place at Powell and Market with a quite reasonable rate. That's walking distance to van Ness and Geary, although the walk will take you through the tenderloin (but it'll be fine during the day). You might check there to see what they have.
It's not uncommon at conferences for me to get back to my hotel room near midnight some evenings, though... Thanks, I'll try them anyway. Tenderloin or no, it sounds like a more practical alternative than staying at my in-laws in Palo Alto and trying to commute.
When I made my reservation, I was told I got the last student-rate room!
Aha! It's all your fault.
Today (11/23) I had no trouble making a reservation when I called the area code 415 number on the SODA website. They said there were still many rooms left (at least for non-students, but I expect for students as well).
On the other hand, when I called the 800 number (which I had done first) I was told the hotel was sold out.
I've informed SIAM of the problem and asked the hotel to correct the 800-number problem. In the meantime, I'd recommend making your reservations early, but use the 415 number
David Johnson, SODA Conference Chair
Thanks, David. I hadn't thought that the two numbers might go to different sets of people.