SXSW hotels already sold out??

SXSW registration for March 2013 opened like two days ago, and already every hotel downtown is full.

There's no way I'm commuting from the airport, so I guess I'm not going this year.

Anyone want to buy the Music badge that I was foolish enough to purchase before noticing the hotel debacle?

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33 Responses:

  1. Methos says:

    Have you tried looking at AirBnb? I've used to to great success when I accidentally booked a trip to a city that was having the world largest aids conference a few years ago.

    • jwz says:

      No, that whole concept sounds completely creepy.

      • Jairus Khan says:

        Airbnb is actually amazing. I don't think I'll ever rent a hotel room again. I'd much rather have my own private lived-in apartment at half the price of a tiny ugly room.

      • Methos says:

        I've used it in multiple cities in Europe and North America and it's always been fantastic (they have an excellent feedback system). The only major problem that airbnb has ever had was some guests trashing a home once.

        But I've learned that you're a bit wary of new things. ;-)

        • jwz says:

          That's great, but I don't care. I have zero desire to stay in some stranger's house. I just want a god damned hotel. It has nothing to do with "new things".

          • Methos says:

            They usually not "some guy's house" but furnished units that people rent out full time, but ok I understand.

            • pavel_lishin says:

              It depends - sometimes, it is literally a room in a guy's house - it's like having a roommate for a week.

              We've used AirBNB as guests and hosts, and it's been good every time, but I can see the advantage of a hotel room - you don't have to talk to anyone you don't want to, or worry about making a mess. It's truly your place - until you check out.

  2. Jeremy Wilson says:

    I know the Wyndham still has rooms and I've stayed there a bunch of times over the years. Not a terrible cab ride.

    You could also use the vendors portal for hotels - the code is FLATSTOCK, which it's been for the past 5 years.

  3. The same's mostly true for the US F1 grand prix in November (and available rooms are, like, $300 a night). (I'm staying with friends, I think, and happen to be less creeped out by Airbnb than you, but I get it.)

    Possibly Austin could use some more hotels if they want to keep throwing these parties attracting huge, international attendance.

    • Mork says:

      Good lord, you win the worst use of parenthesis award.

      • I'm pleased and honored that you took the time to point this out publicly, but you might want to check out that log in your own eye: the plural of "parenthesis" is "parentheses".

    • Jason Heilig says:

      We are actually building more, massive hotels in Austin. One 70 floor hotel/condo building, and another by Fairmont which will be 50 floors.

      The current tallest building, the Austonian, is all condos, and I swear that it's only at about 15% capacity even though it opened in 2010. No lights are ever on in the building, and they're having big problems attempting to sell the units.

      Honestly though, I'm fine with a bottle neck in hotels if it means keeping SXSW in check. You'd be surprised what a pain in the ass it is to have your city taken over for nine days by so many people. In 2011 there were nearly 20,000 people here for interactive, and the interactive people are by FAR the ones most hated by the local populace. Massive douche bag, card dropping, badge hunters. My friend who was here for film this year managed to hang out at my local spot down town for an entire 15 minutes before someone with an interactive badge tried to sell him something.

      That said, it's quite lucky that with my own business, I'll make nearly as much money next year in those 9 days as I do for most of the rest of the year... so it's a trade off.

      On the F1 side of things, yeah... it's crazy. The thing that people that aren't from here haven't quite found out yet is that the infrastructure in regards to getting people TO the track is minimal. The closest freeway is a toll road, and the roads that run to the place currently are two lane FM roads. The most recent estimate I heard on how long it will take you to get to the track is about 3 hours. On normal days it's about a 25-30 minute drive from downtown, if you don't take the toll road.

      I have one friend who works as a manager at one of the downtown Marriots, she's done me some favors when it came to finding a place for my parents to stay when they came to town. If you want I can check with her and see if there are any reserved rooms for friends and family that I might be able to snag.

      • jwz says:

        That would be fantastic, thank you!

        • Jason Heilig says:

          I sent her an email, I'll let you know when I hear something back.

          I'd offer the room that I currently use as a photo studio, but my impression is that's not a sufficient alternative to a hotel for you.

          • Jason Heilig says:

            She seems to have hinted that the Marriot had rooms left for general, but there are none saved for friends/family. The rate was something like $450 a night.

      • > We are actually building more, massive hotels in Austin. One 70 floor
        > hotel/condo building, and another by Fairmont which will be 50 floors.

        And yes, of course, infrastructure can't but lag behind demand for stuff like this; apologies if I implied otherwise, and good to hear. (I guess, unless you do it the Chinese pre-fab sky-scraper in a week way, but... what, building codes?)

        > The current tallest building, the Austonian, is all condos, and I swear that
        > it's only at about 15% capacity even though it opened in 2010. No lights
        > are ever on in the building, and they're having big problems attempting to
        > sell the units.

        I hate that crap. If it's anything like the several in Philly, they're actually "owned" by speculators (who haven't been able to resell/rent) or sports stars. Neither group is ever there.

        > On the F1 side of things, yeah... it's crazy. The thing that people that aren't
        > from here haven't quite found out yet is that the infrastructure in regards to
        > getting people TO the track is minimal.

        Honestly, race fans are pretty used to that kind of thing: do you want F1 race cars in YOUR back yard? Yeah, nobody else does either. (Silverstone is NOTORIOUS for this: I think one-way trips were up in the 5 hour range this year, and then they were turning ticket-holders away at the gates because it had rained too much -- you know, in the English midlands, because that never happens -- and the grass seating errors were Woodstock-scale mud baths.) Pretty much the only current F1 track that isn't a royal pain to get to from its proximal urban center is Montreal: it's out on an island in the St. Lawrence and is actually very well served by the Metro (only idiots and show-offs drive, and it takes them, yeah, about 3 hours of bumper to bumper traffic).

        I take it there's nothing resembling light rail running out to the Austin track yet, then? I mean, I'll be happy if they've managed to finish the track by November, but hey...

        • Jason Heilig says:

          As far as I know, there are no plans for the light rail that we do have to run there, our system is limited and the current plans for expansion run the opposite direction.

          There is very little between Austin and the track, and local opposition towards the government funding anything involved is incredibly strong. The track is directly behind the relatively new airport, so in theory that would be the only possible way you'd see public transportation in that area. That'd be at least a decade out though.

          I'm looking forward to MotoGP and Australian Super Cars more, I doubt the crowds will be as insane, but I'd like to be there this year if only for the historic nature of the event.

          • Yeah, that's about what I figured. (Really, Montreal only has that line to the Gilles Villeneuve circuit because there's also a casino out there and the island's a nature preserve/state park when it's not in use by fast cars.)

            I've only ever seen the Australian tin tops on TV, but it definitely looks like it'd be fun to attend (especially at that track: it's well-designed for spectators, as nearly every grandstand can see more than just one patch of track). MotoGP's totally worth it (I finally got around to watching Laguna Seca from last weekend this afternoon), but the Moto2 and Moto3 classes are more exciting (more changes in position) and, currently, they don't travel to the US (they're on break right now while the top class does Laguna Seca and Indy next weekend). Maybe with 3 or more (Mexico?) North American dates on the calendar, though, that wouldn't be quite the financial stress that is is with just the two. Also, I'd be surprised if you didn't get World Superbike (I don't subscribe to the BS politics between WSB & MotoGP) and maybe ALMS, both well worth seeing at least once. Those tickets are much more affordable too.

          • Oh, and if by "there" you meant the F1 GP drop me a line (link here includes it): I'll be hanging out with the f1weekly.com guys.

          • Brian B says:

            Light rail to the airport and beyond isn't happening anytime in the foreseeable future. According to the local paper's transportation columnist, the potential ridership to the airport is way below what it would take to sustain a line out there, and that goes triple for the F1 track outside the few race weekends a year. The race organizers are widening some roads around the track, but it's still going to suck.

            As for hotels and SXSW, yeah a couple of sizable ones are in the works. Doesn't help for this year, but eventually.

            • nooj says:

              Austin city planners are morons. They've lived in a world of "If we don't build it, they won't come" for two decades. Well, we didn't build it, and they came anyway.

              I expect that once the voting public sees F1 and realizes how much money we are losing with our stupid lack of infrastructure, the hindrances will get slapped aside quickly. This may be Austin, but it's also Texas, and Texans don't fuck around with people's ability to make money.

              As for hotels, I expect more rooms will open between now and SXSW. But yeah, maybe it's a good idea to book one's 2014 SXSW hotel now.

  4. TonyF says:

    If the above Marriott offer doesn't pan out, I can try to pull rank at any of the Hilton brands(Hilton, Homewood, Hampton, etc). I've done it for friends before. Thing is when you use(abuse?) Diamond privileges you generally pay rack rates which can be pricey for some brands.

  5. DC Dan says:

    Find a friend who works in the travel industry with an IATA card. They will likely be able to find you a room even in "booked" hotels.

  6. Scorpionis says:

    I'd recommend renting one of the MANY houses for short-term rental here in the city during SXSW. Rates are often better than the hotels and you get your own kitchen. If you're not traveling here with friends, I imagine there are ways to rent houses with other single travelers.