Annual licensing trade show's housing partner shares insights on when to book your stay, scams to avoid and more.
|Larry Hooper, managing director, Convention Housing Partners|
Licensing Expo has announced a new partner to provide housing for show attendees and exhibitors. Convention Housing Partners began in 2010 with one conference and, though it continues to grow, remains a boutique company focused on delivering high-touch service for shows with discerning clientele.
“We are a team of people that come from events, hotels and even the exhibitor side of the fence, so we know the pain points from each perspective and have systems and procedures in place to avoid them,” says Larry Hooper, managing director, CHP.
License! Global has tapped Hooper to learn more about the budding relationship and some tips for navigating housing in Sin City.
How did the partnership with Licensing Expo come about?
We provide housing services for several of UBM’s shows, including Game Developer Conference, which has a lot of the same exhibitors as Licensing Expo, and Black Hat, which uses the same hotel as Licensing Expo. So for us, it was a natural extension. We are glad that the Licensing Expo crew felt the same way.
And Licensing Expo is in good hands. Lacey McIntire, who will be handling exhibitor housing for the Show, came to us after serving as the tradeshow coordinator for a large healthcare products company, so she has personally experienced what the people she is helping are going through.
What should every attendee think about before making a reservation?
First and foremost, always book your room or rooms with the official housing company. We provide a layer of protection that isn’t available from an online travel site or even directly from the hotel. We have negotiated the lowest rates available, usually including a discounted resort fee, we allow you to change hotels without any penalties and we protect you from being relocated if the hotel sells out over the dates of the Expo. Las Vegas has another very large convention happening during Licensing Expo 2017, so that protection will be crucial.
When is that best time to book accommodations?
The earlier you book, the better chance you have of getting what you want. Our early bird rates expire at 5 p.m. PST, Nov. 16. I would suggest booking before then if rates are a concern. If you can’t book that early, don’t worry. We will still have discounted rooms available and will do everything we can to help you get what you want.
What are some common housing mistakes that trade show attendees make?
From the hotel side, I would caution against pre-paying for rooms or using the big online travel sites. Those reservations don’t get the same priority as the official Expo reservations, and you have very little recourse if there is a problem. When you book through us, we are in Las Vegas with you and we know whom to talk to if you have a problem with the hotel. We will be there in person to make sure your experience is effortless.
Are there any housing scams to look out for?
Of course the easiest way to avoid the scams is to book through us at LicensingExpoHotels.com or to call us at 866-796-0557. We will be reaching out to Licensing Expo exhibitors directly and identifying ourselves as Convention Housing Partners, the official housing partner of Licensing Expo. If you get a call or an email from a person who can’t tell you how to verify that they are the official hotel provider, they probably aren’t. Also, if they ask you to pre-pay for rooms or ask for a deposit payable to them rather than the hotel, be suspicious. The housing “poachers” or “pirates,” as we call them, have two common scams. First, they “book” your rooms for you, take a payment via credit card, and never actually send reservations–or money–to the hotel, so your people show up and have no rooms.
Even more common, the housing poachers will book rooms at unbelievably low rates for you at the headquarters hotel and collect the pre-payment. Then, two weeks or so before the Expo, they let you know that there was a “problem” with the hotel and that they have rooms for you at a different (read: cheaper and lower quality) hotel, usually a good distance away from where you want to be.
What are Vegas hotel insider secrets?
First, I should say that the newly renovated rooms at Mandalay Bay are fantastic. Impressive upgrades include a brand new restaurant, Libertine Social, being called a “next-generation gastropub.” But if the hubbub of the main convention hotel and casino is too much for you, then think about Four Seasons.
In the same tower as Mandalay Bay, the separate lobbies, elevators and restaurants make it feel like you are miles away. Still if you are in a hurry, Four Seasons has a set of elevators that will drop you off in the lobby of Mandalay Bay. Along the same lines, if you haven’t seen the Delano, it is worth a look. What was once the hotel is now a spectacularly designed, non-smoking, non-gaming, all-suites property as close as you can get to Mandalay Bay without being in it. If you are looking for an escape from the noise without going too far, it is an excellent choice.
Another interesting choice is Vdara. Right next to Aria and the Cosmopolitan, Vdara is a non-smoking, non-gaming, all suites property that allows pets; some suites even have a washer and dryer. MGM Grand also offers “StayWell” rooms, complete with hypoallergenic air filtration and bedding as well aroma therapy options and mineral infused shower heads. Finally, the ever-popular New York New York, right next to Las Vegas’s newest attraction, the T-Mobile Arena and The Park, offers outdoor seating right on the strip at Tom’s Urban for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Any other insider tips on how to work the Las Vegas scene?
For the Expo, remember that lunchtime near the Mandalay Bay convention Center can get pretty crowded. Make reservations early if you want to be at one of those restaurants. If you don’t have reservations, sneak over to Della’s in the Delano or to Tacos & Tequila over at the Luxor hotel. Both are quick to get to and get out of.