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From the Bird's Beak

SHarecon 2018: Your input is needed!

SHarecon 2018: Your input is needed!

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Apologies for cross posting, but this information is critical. If you have any interest in attending SHareCon 2018. Please read to the end so you can participate in a poll.
We've been hosting SHareCon every other year since 2000, so we're used to negotiating with hotels. This will be our 10th con. We always try to get the best deal we can. We consider our best logistics, transportation, and food costs. This year, the choices haven't been clear cut, so we need your input. After talking to 25 different hotels, we are considering two (in alphabetical order):

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Laurel, MD

1.     We've held the con here twice before (when the hotel was under a different name and management). The meeting space is more private, and noise is less of a factor, and there's a separate room for panel discussions across the hall.
2.     We can use the space until midnight, or later if we moderate our sound levels.
3.     Hotel has a shuttle that travels for 5 miles around the hotel (nearby restaurants).
4.     Hotel has an American-style restaurant with a private dining room we have used before.
5.     Pets are allowed.
6.     Guest room rates are the lowest we've been offered. King bed rooms and double bed rooms would be $110 (+ 13%  tax = $14.30) actual price $124.30. Rooms with double beds "shouldn't be a problem" according to the sales manager. They have a "breakfast" room rate of $125 (+13% = $16.25) = actual price $141.25.

1.     No airport shuttle. (This means con committee acts as the shuttle or con members manage their own transport to the hotel.)
2.     No free breakfast. The hotel has a breakfast buffet you can purchase.
3.     Refrigerators are not standard and have to be requested in advance and may have to be rented at additional fee.
4.     Rooms are standard hotel rooms, not suites. There are a few suites available, but these have king-size beds and couches, not full kitchens. These suites would have small refrigerators.
5.     We have to either cater food through the hotel, which costs more than using outside sources, or have food delivered to individual guest rooms or the executive room suite. We cannot have food in the meeting space unless the hotel caters. In the past, we have had some catered buffets during the day (which participating con members pay for), box lunches delivered to the executive suite (which can't be eaten in the meeting space, though there is a large lounge area on the main floor we could use), and dinner at the restaurant's private room paid for by participating individuals.
6.     For the con committee, the meeting space is the most expensive we can rent. Membership fees can't cover it, so we would have to have fundraisers. Meeting space for the 4 days could cost close to $7,000, not counting the cost of an executive suite.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport, Linthicum, MD

1.     Hotel has a free 24 hr shuttle from BWI airport.
2.     Meeting space (second floor) is a good size). Another room for panel discussions is available on a different floor (1st floor).
3.     Meeting space price is affordable, meaning memberships might cost less. Estimated cost is around $2,400.
4.     We can bring in our own food (avoiding hotel catering). Con members can share the cost of box lunches, cookie and deli platters during the day. We can bring in outside catered food or go out to a restaurant for dinner.
5.     Free breakfast every day.
6.     Every room is a spacious suite with full kitchen, full fridge.
7.     Hotel shuttle is available for 5 miles around the hotel. This is a busy area with numerous restaurants and other attractions.

1.     Price for guest rooms would be the highest we've ever had:
a.      King-bed suites (1 King size bed + sleeper couch, can sleep up to 3) @ $119 (+13% tax = $15.47) = actual price 134.47 per day. These rooms make up the majority of our block.
b.     Double bed suites (2 Queen beds + sleeper couch, can sleep up to 5) @ $129 (13% tax = $16.77) = actual price $145.77 per day. In the past, most con members preferred this type of room, but only a few of these rooms are available for our block.
c.      Double room suites (2 separate bedrooms + kitchen/living area, 1 with King bed, 1 with 2 queens, plus sleeper couch, can sleep up to 7-8) @ $209 (+ 13% tax = $27.17) = actual price $236.17. There are several of these suites available for our block.
2.     We must shut down the meeting space by 11:30 pm, earlier than we've ever shut down before. In the past, we've stayed up past 2 am. (If the con committee rents an executive suite, we might be able to meet there after 11:30, but we'd have to be careful of noise.)
3.     No pets allowed.

If you are considering coming to SHareCon, please follow the link to answer a quick poll on these two options.

1.     The DoubleTree Hotel for the cheaper room rate, the choice of rooms with two beds, a more private meeting space, the ability to enjoy con activities later at night, the onsite restaurant, and the option to bring my pet. I understand the hotel shuttle does not go to the airport, that breakfast is not free, that other food options may be limited or more expensive, and that I might not have a refrigerator in my room.
2.     The Homewood Suites for the free breakfast, airport shuttle, spacious suites, and cheaper food options. I understand I will pay more for rooms, that I might not be able to get a room with two beds, that no pets are allowed, and that the official con space will have to shut down at 11:30pm.

The poll also has a place where you can leave an optional comment if you'd like.

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