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Anthrocon attendees may begin to make their hotel reservations starting on October 6. Rooms are going to be available at the Westin Convention Center Hotel just across the street from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and at the Doubletree Pittsburgh just two blocks away. The Omni William Penn already had a group in this year – sorry! – although they are looking forward to having us back in 2010.

Both hotels will require a down-payment of one night’s room and tax when the reservation is made; this will be applied to your bill when you check out. If you cancel the reservation for any reason, though, that down payment is not refundable, so Anthrocon recommends that you do not make a reservation until you are certain that you can attend. For an explanation of why this became necessary, please visit our FAQ page.

VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FOR ALL HOTEL RESERVATIONS:

Both Westin and Doubletree Hotel Housekeeping staff are required by corporate policy to inspect every room once per day, even if the room is not to be serviced. Housekeepers will not begin their rounds until 10:00 AM. Thereafter they will initially bypass rooms with “do not disturb” signs on the doors, but at the end of their rounds they must return to those rooms and will knock on the door. Attendees must allow housekeeping staff access to the room at that time. That means that even if the "do not disturb" sign is displayed, after 10:00 AM the room must at some point be inspected and serviced (if necessary) by the end of housekeeping rounds.



As much as the Westin enjoyed our company in 2006 and 2007, there was a bit of a concern from Housekeeping. Housekeepers were finding that many guests would leave the “do not disturb” sign out for the entire duration of the convention. This made things awkward, because the Housekeepers would not have enough work and many would be dismissed early (thus losing a significant portion of the day’s pay). Then Monday would come and those rooms would finally be vacated, and the Housekeepers would be greeted by horrific amounts of mess: pizza boxes strewn about, empty soda cans everywhere with some still leaking sticky soda onto the carpets, and in some cases, everything covered with fur (don’t laugh – fursuits do shed). The task of cleaning those rooms would be overwhelming, and in some cases the mess left behind was substantial enough to create a hazard for the cleaning crew. This made many rooms unavailable for rental to the next guests, sometimes into the next day.

It did not leave a good impression of Furry Fandom on the hard-working Housekeeping staff.

The Westin has a policy that rooms must be inspected once per day to ensure that they are up to Westin standards. The management had quietly relaxed this policy in order to try to accommodate what they thought were simply late-sleepers among Anthrocon’s membership, but it became apparent that more than a few of our folks were abusing that courtesy. They asked us in 2008 if we would allow that policy to be enforced. Since the Westin has never told us “no” for anything, we agreed, and that policy was spelled out both in our web page and in the welcome letter that Jaime worked so hard to prepare for us.

Everyone who checked in to the Westin was given the welcome letter; unfortunately, few if any people bothered to read it. The result was an impression among the membership that Housekeepers were “deliberately ignoring the do-not-disturb” signs. Tragically, there were a few attendees who decided that it was their duty to “teach the housekeepers a lesson.” They left their rooms in such an atrocious condition that it could only have been deliberate; there was sabotage of the Housekeepers’ carts; most upsetting, there were even some attendees who felt it necessary to confront the poor Housekeepers in a fashion that was far less than civil. As the weekend wore on the Housekeepers grew increasingly bitter toward “the Furries” and their falling morale only incensed the troublemakers further, leading to a dreadful and spiteful downward spiral in the relationship.

At the bottom of the spiral came the inevitable reaction from the hotel management: “If this is how your people are going to behave, then we do not want you to come back.”

Anthrocon’s chairman made a special trip to Pittsburgh to meet face-to-face with the Westin’s managers in an effort to assure them that such a thing is not going to happen again. For now, they have accepted his assurances, and Anthrocon will continue. In order for it to continue to continue, however, there must be some understanding on the part of our attendees. Specifically:

+ The Westin is an upscale hotel located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s business district. It is not a fraternity house. Even though we are paying for occupancy, we are still guests on someone else’s property, and we will behave as such. The Doubletree is just as nice a hotel, and while we've had no problems to date, we want to ensure that we do not have any in the future.

+ Housekeepers at both hotels will delay the start of their rounds until 10:00 AM. They will bypass the rooms that have “do not disturb” signs on them until they finish their rounds, but at that time, they must come back, knock on the door, and inspect the room. If there is excessive mess to be cleaned up, they will take care of it at that time, rather than have to work late hours at the end of the convention.

+ If you have excessive amounts of trash, the Westin provides plastic garbage bags. Extra bags will also be available in the Convention Operations Office. If you generate a large amount of garbage, please place it in these bags to make it easier for the Housekeepers to haul it away.

+ If there are any spills, breakages, or other accidents in a room, please call Housekeeping right away so that they can be taken care of promptly before they reach a point that they cannot be cleaned.

+ The person whose name is on the room reservation is responsible for what happens there, as well as for the condition of the room at checkout. Leaving behind a mess that taxes the resources of the Housekeeping staff will strain the relationship that Anthrocon is trying to maintain with the Westin, and will be grounds for us to ban the reservation holder from attending Anthrocon in the future. “But it was my roommate who did it” will not work. Choose your roommates wisely.

+ Housekeepers will be in direct radio contact with Anthrocon Operations. Any issues involving Anthrocon attendees will be reported immediately and directly to the chairman.

+ No, the hotel management is not trying to make your life miserable, and the Housekeepers do not hate you. They are all working very hard to see to it that you have a good time at the convention – that is their job, after all. It is up to you, to all of us in fact, to help make that job easier for them.

Comments

( 107 comments — Leave a comment )
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marauderosu
Oct. 1st, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
And that is the sad thing: Bad apples who abuse the hotel policy and make it harder for the rest of us to be welcomed back in the future.

I would personally like to ask everyone to please follow these rules to ensure that AC continues into the forseeable future.
hobbesdawg
Oct. 1st, 2008 02:46 am (UTC)
Also it is considered polite (but not required) to leave some kind of gratuity out for housekeeping staff, preferably daily. I was fortunate in that my great roomie, and room-holder left a tip out, but I do the same when I hit hotels.

Thanks for this excellent post, Kage.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Oct. 1st, 2008 02:54 am (UTC) - Expand
likeshine
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)

i really hope con attendees tip their housekeepers.

i always do....
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - antimon - Nov. 9th, 2008 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
spikeblackfang
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Excellent and informative post, thank you. Glad to see that the reservations are opening up soon! :)

In response to the post about housekeeping, I find it very disturbing (and potentially threatening to Anthrocon's future) that some furs would take the housekeeping staff, who was only trying to do their job, in the context and under the impression that they were trying to invade their hotel room or whatever it was they were thinking. The housekeepers are only trying to do what they're paid to and to clean up your mess, and its quite unsettling that some furs in the fandom cannot just let them clean. And sabotaging the housekeepers carts? Confronting the housekeepers? Deliberately destroying the rooms? C'mon folks. The housekeeping staff was nothing but friendly when I frequently saw them, and they did a wonderful job with getting that room cleaned up quickly. I left a tip, as I always do. I certainly hope that hotel security/con ops was promptly called on these "bad apples". Regardless, if I see someone destroying something or acting up around housekeeping or hotel staff, I'm reporting it. I don't want Anthrocon to be kicked out of the Westin since it is a very excellent hotel connected to a great convention center, and I think that other furs should be aware of these furs and let someone from the con know about them if witnessed breaking rules or acting inappropriately.

Looks like I'll be calling right when reservations open up. I've been going since 2006 and haven't missed one yet since then. So much furry goodness packed into one area! =3

Edited at 2008-10-01 03:05 am (UTC)
syrus_draco
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
I have to say that I am pretty disgusted to hear folks go out of their way to prank the housekeepers. Honestly.

I am quite sad at the over all news and the working conditions the housekeepers were left with post con. Can only hope this news and attention can shed light to those that need it. All together, looking forward to next year's con and hope things run smoother for everyone.
eagle_beagle
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
certainly understandable.. I hope it works out good for yas!
therustyhusky
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
Good job, furries. Way to portray the fandom in a positive light.
panzier
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
I had nothing but good and pleasant exchanges with the housekeeping staff, we had a lot of late sleepers and did indeed have the DND sign out a lot. Trash was bagged by the occupants and picked up by housekeeping and towels were kept well stocked. I didn't see anyone on the floor giving houskeeping a hard time but there's some in every crowd.
reese_tora
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:35 am (UTC)
but, but... they still like us better than teacher conventions, right?

honestly, I've never ahd a problem with housekeeping coming in and doing their job, even while I was there. '07 at the westin, I'd simply continue what I was doing on the days I wasn't already down on the convention floor (ie: pre con), and they were in and out quickly, quietly, and efficiently, the only evidence of their presence the fresh towels and the click of the door.

Of course, in '06, one of them did take my key card from the energy saving light switch slot while I was clearly present and reading my book... which a quick stroll down to the front desk cleared up.

In any case, looks like I better start asking for my time off... 9 months in advance, geeze! it's a convention, not a baby!. :P
reese_tora
Oct. 1st, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
er... I mean in '07 about the keycard...
rysar
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
People need to realize that just because they pay for the hotel room, does not make them theirs exclusively. The hotel has to make sure that the room will be in a condition that enables them to turn that hotel room around the next night and make it available for other guests. A trashed or excessively dirty room prevents this from happening.

If you have a later sleeper, just leave a note at the front desk that says do not check room until after Xpm. That takes care of the issue pretty easily.
chefmongoose
Oct. 1st, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, most of Xpm really will not be very workable, as the housekeeping staff has certain hours they are scheduled to work. They already alter this schedule for Anthrocon by beginning their rounds later.

The immense majority of Housekeeping work needs to be accomplished in A.M. hours.

..and I'm boggled anyone would sleep past noon. There's ANTHROCON going on in the mornings!
(no subject) - reese_tora - Oct. 1st, 2008 05:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chefmongoose - Oct. 1st, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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rlfjr03
Oct. 1st, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
Man that sucks to hear people were so stupid. If I make it this year, it will be my very first AC. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this convention, and would hate to see it disappear and deprive myself and others of the experience.
harvardheinous
Oct. 1st, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
I had thought that the Westin really appreciated the furries and that their general impression of us was a positive one.  I'm sad to learn that they had to be talked into taking us back this year.  I've always believed that the furries were an above-average bunch of critters, but now we will all be viewed as potential hoodlums when we check in as Anthrocon attendees.  : ( 
unclekage
Oct. 1st, 2008 09:35 am (UTC)
That is only a temporary setback. That impression can quite easily be changed, provided people behave, and provided we are very quick to ensure that people who cannot behave do not return.
casteddreams
Oct. 1st, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
All I have to really say is....wow, just...wow. :\

I hope things improve so we can keep having the con there. I don't blame them in the least for getting a bit upset with our behavior.

Let's hope these new rules are actually listened to.
almightytora
Oct. 1st, 2008 05:41 am (UTC)
I don't know how difficult it is to clean up after oneself. We are GUESTS at that hotel, and if we lose the hotel to some douchebags who want to wreck the positive conception of the whole fandom, then they themselves need to be taught a lesson.

The Westin is doing us a favor by giving us discounted rooms and their hotel to stay. They have complete rights to say no or to charge us full price for their rooms.

Please don't wreck it for the rest of us who want to enjoy a con and know how to behave.
actonrf
Oct. 1st, 2008 05:41 am (UTC)
Wow fist missing number now this, There need better control. Perhaps liming number of guest In a room at a given time.
balto_woof
Oct. 1st, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
Thanks Uncle Kage!!
I was a manager at a Westin hotel years ago. Personally, I tipped out over $40 to housekeeping staff and also made their cleaning of my room easy. From someone that worked in hotels for years, here are some things to remember.

-Housekeepers are not there to pick up piles of trash and dirty laundry you fling all over your room. Keep your dirty towels in a pile in the bathroom. Clean up your things and try to keep the room organized.

-A tip left on the bed at the end of your stay means a lot to a housekeeper. You spend $50, $100 or more on commissions, food, drinks and what not at the con. Dont forget about the nice person that kept your room clean and stocked up. We all can afford $10 for a tip.

Remember everyone. We are guests in their hotel. Not the other way around.

*hugs everyone*
reese_tora
Oct. 1st, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks Uncle Kage!!
This last year, at the 'first furry con' panel, it was suggested that you tip daily, as the house keeper that attends to your room may not be the same person from day to day.

'course, at that point, I'd been in the room for a few nights already...
panthras
Oct. 1st, 2008 07:33 am (UTC)
It's a shame to read that there are some who want to spoil it for the rest of us :( I missed the con this year due to my operation, but attended the year before and have nothing but praise for the hotel and it's staff. Really hoping this'll help in future as the Westin is a very nice hotel indeed, and I'm in total agreement with those who've suggested leaving tips (as I've done in the past)

Muchos thankies for this Kage :)
mooglepower
Oct. 1st, 2008 07:36 am (UTC)
Why was I able to make reservations already at the con rate in the room block at the Westin? I've had my hotel reservation for a couple of weeks now...
unclekage
Oct. 1st, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
I don't know.
skanrashke
Oct. 1st, 2008 08:29 am (UTC)
Thats just terrible. Now, I ususally leave my room in quite a state because we're usually trimming fur(Working on fursuits) in there, but we at least have the courtesy to go over and clean everyting we can ourselves and bag our trash and so forth, and leave a generous tip for the poor housekeeper whom is doomed to vacuum for twenty minutes.
But I must say, the housekeepers we had this year were very understanding- not to mention very friendly! We had one woman come in while we were working and we told her just to work around us(Although this resulted in a complex dance of us jumping everywhere to pick up scraps and throw them in bins to make her job easier) and she left every day with alot of cheery smiles and a nice tip- she even came back on her OFF DAY to come clean our floor!
So, whoever the asshat was that decided these people needed to be taught a lesson, I seriously hope you decide against this behaviour in future.
brianblackberry
Oct. 1st, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
You should encourage voluntary tipping of the housekeeping staff for 2009, it will go a long ways towards encouraging a positive image of the convention guests.
antimon
Nov. 9th, 2008 08:31 am (UTC)
they already do encourage this , you casn't brow beat people into it.

about all you coudl do further is have the con take a part of their surpluss and split it evenly across the hosue keepers.

which while not the cons job, they have better thigns to do, might be a good way to show anthrocons good faith and help off set some of the less desirble elements effects
ace_bearpaws
Oct. 1st, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
I have to be honest about this.

On one hand, I can absolutely understand the hotel's collective displeasure about this issue. In every other situation someone would be charged extra fees to compensate the hotel for this sort of behavior. I totally agree with this sort of practice

People should act like adults when staying in a hotel and not destroy the place. You are a guest of the hotel, it is not that difficult to act like an adult guest. Treat them well and you will be treated well.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

On the other hand, I cannot possibly agree with this mentality that because a sub sect of our group were inconsiderate imbeciles, that the rest of us have to be notified, and lectured like little children that we have to behave or we won't be allowed to come back.

Excuse me here I did act like an adult.

Myself, and my roommates left a generous tip for the cleaning staff each day, and when we left our room the worst they had to worry about was unmade beds. I leave my rooms damn near spotless when we leave a hotel, no matter where it is that I am staying. I check under the beds, I clean up any messes, I bag all trash, and leave it neatly where the hotel staff can easily take care of it.

-------------------------------------------------------------

The whole mention of how a hotel normally runs, charging fees for this sort of malicious behavior? I'm not precisely sure why this is not enforced in this case. Other people fill hotels en masse for large events and attractions, if a few of them wreck their rooms, the hotel does not allow just those people to return. The rest of the guests are not ridiculed for it. I'm not exactly sure I see the difference here.
redcardlion
Oct. 1st, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
The difference here is that it sounds like it was so systemic a situation that the hotel believes that the entirety of the guests are not worth having.

That's the difference.

It's like saying that if you have 2 or 3 defects per thousand in a product, that's not a big deal, but when you have 300 to 400, you start to discover a problem. What Kage's post clearly seems to point out is that the hotel believes that what they have was not an isolated incident, but rather a systemic problem throughout all of furry.

Whether you believe that impression is right or wrong is really irrelevant to what the hotel believes. These are the ground rules we now have in play for AC.

(no subject) - ace_bearpaws - Oct. 1st, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
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woodychitwn
Oct. 1st, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
I believe this policy makes complete sense. Besides incorporating a tip for housekeeping into how much I ask from my roommates, I have always made sure housekeeping comes in every day. With up to 4 adults in a room, it is VITAL that they come in and replace towels, take out garbage and perhaps most importantly, spray deodorizer in each and every room.


Something I have always wondered about though... On the final day, there are always left-over bottles of alcohol which nobody has room for and, if they're of decent quality and amount, I will leave in a box in the room marked for housekeeping to take and enjoy along with their daily tip. As a general rule however, does this makes sense? Are the housekeepers allowed to keep such things if left specifically for them, or am I creating more work for them and should empty and bag these bottles along with the others?
mooglepower
Oct. 1st, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
You know, I watched a special once where housekeeping was throwing things out left for them (like chocolates and the like). On the other hand, I know that the couple of times that I left things, they were taken and enjoyed rather than tossed.

I think in this case it would be a good idea to call up the hotel and ask if there is a policy regarding this. The housekeeping that were throwing the things out said that it was because of policy.
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talon2303
Oct. 1st, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Doc.
Thanks for the hard work on this issue, Kage. It's a shame you have to spend your convention planning time apologizing for a few inconsiderate people. Such a thing should not be necessary were everyone to simply be responsible hotel guests.

Personally, I think it's a good call to ding the individuals once they're identified as the troublemakers. With a gathering this large, we can't afford to let two or three people piss in the lemonade. Sure, it's not as noticeable the more there is, but it's still there and ruining it for everyone, and someone's eventually going to notice and just break the damn pitcher so we can't have any at all.

Mistakes, excusable. Carelessness, stupidity, and ignorance, not so much so. I know my daily tipping will continue to go unobstructed. I can only hope some people learn to do the same and keep their rooms in good condition.

(I don't suppose having a member of staff or the DI going around to all known AC attendee rooms for this (the checking, not the cleaning) would be feasible, huh? Might be seen as a show of good faith for improvement with the hotel.)


-Talyn
tonga_inali
Oct. 1st, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
I hate to pop up right here cause I really am not in the mood to get growled at but I cant let this pass. SO to start Im not that messy a person. I believe in cleaning up the messes I could potently leave behind. I have seen the rooms that some furs were in and I shudder to think about being on the crew that has to clean that. I did meantion to them that they might need to clean up and got yelled at for it. I was in a room with 5 furs and we kept it immaculate and that was very easy with all of us picking up our own messes. It was insanely easy. The hotel can make requests all they want of the furdom in general and we can get a "verbal spanking" ( as some may see this) for days on end but at the end of the day if your not willing to clean up after yourselves or in some cases, or (as i did see and had to laugh at) dont want the cleaning crew to see your porn, or feel you need to screw with the hotel staff then we will have to deal with the sad and inevitable fact we wont have a con to go enjoy. If you feel you have to mess with the hotel because your to damn lazy to read the policies then you really shouldn't be at the con. We are guests and as such shouldn't be messing with the ppl that are there to make our stay more comfortable. We can argue semantics till we are all blue in the face. It wont change the end results. If you wouldn't want someone doing something to you when your working why do it them while they are working? Common sense and behaving like and adult...what is so difficult about that?
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