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  • Confused about room discount

    I was about to book my room for DEFCON 21 at the RIO, using the discount for conference goers. I clicked the link on the conference homepage, and was presented with a price of $444.00 for August 1st to August 5th. That seems really really steep!

    Using the Rio website to book without using the promo code or clicking through from the conference website, I get the exact same room, the deluxe studio suite for $364.80 Looking on Priceline for example, the entire price including rates and taxes is $382.92.

    Isn't the deal for conference attendees meant to be cheaper? At the moment it seems not only not cheaper, but almost $100 more expensive! Have I missed something, because I really don't understand this.

  • #2
    Re: Confused about room discount

    Plain and simply, it sounds like the defcon 'discount' just isn't as good as some of the package deals out there.

    The first year at the Rio I took one look at the room rates, said 'HELL NO!", and looked at what other hotels were near by.

    I've been staying at the Gold Coast which is across the street from the Rio and am quite happy. A brisk 10 minute walk away, the only problem might be that you have to be aware of your surroundings if you're walking back and forth in the middle of the night. I've heard that there have been some muggings. It's a wide open street, no alleys, so that shouldn't be too hard.

    This year, air fare from Sacramento and 8 nights at the Gold Coast are costing me around $600. Try doing that at the Rio!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Confused about room discount

      Originally posted by qumqats View Post
      Plain and simply, it sounds like the defcon 'discount' just isn't as good as some of the package deals out there.

      The first year at the Rio I took one look at the room rates, said 'HELL NO!", and looked at what other hotels were near by.

      I've been staying at the Gold Coast which is across the street from the Rio and am quite happy. A brisk 10 minute walk away, the only problem might be that you have to be aware of your surroundings if you're walking back and forth in the middle of the night. I've heard that there have been some muggings. It's a wide open street, no alleys, so that shouldn't be too hard.

      This year, air fare from Sacramento and 8 nights at the Gold Coast are costing me around $600. Try doing that at the Rio!
      It would be one thing if it wasn't much of a discount, but it seems to be a tax. How it's an extra $80 I don't understand.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Confused about room discount

        The advantage that was offered to people using the Defcon rate was for days like Friday, and Saturday nights.

        In the past, the Defcon rate also allowed for the same price if you have any number of people from 1 to 4.

        This year, things are different.

        I commented about a $30 extra fee per person per night beyond two people even at the Defcon rate this year, in this post.
        I'm not saying you should lie if you have more than 2 people in your room, but it is substantially more expensive with more than two people. (Also, if you claim only 2 people, then you will only get 2 room keys. There is probably some risk associated with not getting enough towels, or losing a room if more people are staying than were paid for, but I don't know their rules or the laws for this.)

        Let us assume you are only booking a room for two people:

        Let us also assume you can book the Defcon rate for both Friday and Saturday, and you only use the Defcon rate for those two days, I *think* you still save money over the rates available online at the Rio rate or through other resellers.

        However, if you plan to stay Sunday at the Defcon rate, you can get a better rate with the standard Rio rate.

        Thursday standard Rio rate compared to the Defcon rate is pretty close (less than $20 difference) when I last checked.

        However, Monday through Wednesday, the cost difference is substantial, and comparable to the cost difference of standard Rio rate on Sunday to the Defcon rate on Sunday.

        If you search the forums, you will find some people have managed to make a few reservations at different rates at the Rio and then combine them when the check-in. It is possible for them to not leave the room, if the rooms booked are the same type/class.

        However, combining reservations risks having your room key stop working when one reservation ends and the next one begins, forcing you to visit the front desk to get new room keys when one reservation ends and another begins.

        As mentioned above, there is the next door hotel "Gold Coast" which is substantially cheaper, but a bit of a walk.

        There are also other properties owned by a parent company that also owns the Rio, and they have had free shuttle service between their properties during "normal" business hours. (It is claimed here: http://www.lasvegas-how-to.com/free-shuttle.php but you should verify hours and service with your candidate hotel(s) before making any decisions.)

        You can also look into staying at another hotel that is further away during the other days, and then switch back to the Rio on the days where there is a cost advantage to you. (Add in cost of gas if you have a rental car, or cost of taxi/bus if you do not.)

        The busiest check-in days have been the first official day of Defcon, and the day before. If you plan to check-in the same day as con starts (Thursday) there will be lines in the morning, and these will probably stay long until they start doing check-ins. I think they officially start with check-in at 4pm, but I am not 100% certain. Consider this with planning, as you will need to have a place to store you luggage if you do not have a rental car, or room. (The hotel may be able to hold your luggage for you if you arrive in the AM, but I have never asked for this service at the Rio, and do not know how long it takes, if there is a fee for it, or will be a line, or what their protocol is if they have it.)

        Hope this helps,
        -Cot

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Confused about room discount

          Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
          The advantage that was offered to people using the Defcon rate was for days like Friday, and Saturday nights.

          In the past, the Defcon rate also allowed for the same price if you have any number of people from 1 to 4.

          This year, things are different.

          I commented about a $30 extra fee per person per night beyond two people even at the Defcon rate this year, in this post.
          I'm not saying you should lie if you have more than 2 people in your room, but it is substantially more expensive with more than two people. (Also, if you claim only 2 people, then you will only get 2 room keys. There is probably some risk associated with not getting enough towels, or losing a room if more people are staying than were paid for, but I don't know their rules or the laws for this.)

          Let us assume you are only booking a room for two people:

          Let us also assume you can book the Defcon rate for both Friday and Saturday, and you only use the Defcon rate for those two days, I *think* you still save money over the rates available online at the Rio rate or through other resellers.

          However, if you plan to stay Sunday at the Defcon rate, you can get a better rate with the standard Rio rate.

          Thursday standard Rio rate compared to the Defcon rate is pretty close (less than $20 difference) when I last checked.

          However, Monday through Wednesday, the cost difference is substantial, and comparable to the cost difference of standard Rio rate on Sunday to the Defcon rate on Sunday.

          If you search the forums, you will find some people have managed to make a few reservations at different rates at the Rio and then combine them when the check-in. It is possible for them to not leave the room, if the rooms booked are the same type/class.

          However, combining reservations risks having your room key stop working when one reservation ends and the next one begins, forcing you to visit the front desk to get new room keys when one reservation ends and another begins.

          As mentioned above, there is the next door hotel "Gold Coast" which is substantially cheaper, but a bit of a walk.

          There are also other properties owned by a parent company that also owns the Rio, and they have had free shuttle service between their properties during "normal" business hours. (It is claimed here: http://www.lasvegas-how-to.com/free-shuttle.php but you should verify hours and service with your candidate hotel(s) before making any decisions.)

          You can also look into staying at another hotel that is further away during the other days, and then switch back to the Rio on the days where there is a cost advantage to you. (Add in cost of gas if you have a rental car, or cost of taxi/bus if you do not.)

          The busiest check-in days have been the first official day of Defcon, and the day before. If you plan to check-in the same day as con starts (Thursday) there will be lines in the morning, and these will probably stay long until they start doing check-ins. I think they officially start with check-in at 4pm, but I am not 100% certain. Consider this with planning, as you will need to have a place to store you luggage if you do not have a rental car, or room. (The hotel may be able to hold your luggage for you if you arrive in the AM, but I have never asked for this service at the Rio, and do not know how long it takes, if there is a fee for it, or will be a line, or what their protocol is if they have it.)

          Hope this helps,
          -Cot
          Thanks. I've been to vegas a couple of times and know the different hotels and such. I was just surprised that the "discount" is nothing of the sort. It shouldn't matter ifyou have more than 2people in your room or not, there is no excuse to add $80 when using the promo code! Why is it even linked from the conference page...it's only doing a disservice to people, is it not?

          I'll probably stay at the Rio this year cause I can afford it and it will be nice to have an elevator to my room....but I won't be getting the conference rate, that's for sure.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Confused about room discount

            Originally posted by Samael View Post
            Thanks. I've been to vegas a couple of times and know the different hotels and such. I was just surprised that the "discount" is nothing of the sort.
            Hopefully, you read the whole reply.

            Let me provide numbers:

            Standard Rio Rate, Checki-in: 08/02/2013, Check-out: 08/04/2013 (Friday night and Saturday night with morning check-out, 2 people, Deluxe Studio Suite w/2 Queens

            Code:
            08/02/2013 - 08/04/2013
            Nightly Rates
            	
            FRI	08/02/13	$149.00
            SAT	08/03/13	$149.00
            
            Avg. Per Night
            $149.00
            
            Subtotal
            $298.00*
            
             *=Does not include applicable taxes and room charges
            Defcon Rate, Checki-in: 08/02/2013, Check-out: 08/04/2013 (Friday night and Saturday night with morning check-out, 2 people, Deluxe Studio Suite w/2 Queens:

            Code:
            Deluxe Studio Suite w/2 Queens
            
            08/02/2013 - 08/04/2013
            Nightly Rates
            	
            FRI	08/02/13	$118.00
            SAT	08/03/13	$118.00
            Avg. Per Night
            $118.00
            Subtotal
            $236.00*
            
             *=Does not include applicable taxes and room charges
            Checking with priceline for the same dates(Friday and Saturday):
            Code:
            $119.00/night for "deluxe suite" but it does not specify "2 queen" or not
            These are facts. Again, for Friday and Saturday, the Defcon rate is cheaper. Really. Try it yourself.


            So, it is possible to take advantage of a discount with the Defcon rate when it is cheaper (Friday and Saturday) with two people and the Defcon rate is a savings.

            If you, instead, use the Defcon rate on other days like Wed. and Sunday, then you are probably not saving money at this point in time. So, I guess a question goes like this:

            When people attend a hacker convention, is it possible for them to exploit a pricing system to their advantage?

            I think, for hackers, this is a yes. Hackers do not tend to look at a system "as-is" and then just decide to accept it without investigation, or testing.

            It shouldn't matter if you have more than 2people in your room or not, there is no excuse to add $80 when using the promo code! Why is it even linked from the conference page...it's only doing a disservice to people, is it not?
            I preferred the older method with 2-4 people is the same price under the Defcon rate too, and if it is worth the cost savings, I can choose to stay at another hotel, just like anyone else. Corporations don't really care crap one over people complaining over prices... they only care about someone else paying them for their goods or services if you do not. If they could eliminate all services and still find people willing to fill up their rooms, they would do it. They will find that if they are charging too high of a price, they will have to lower the rates, or be more competitive in other ways.

            They will claim, "more people use more towels, sheets, leave bigger messes, and require more work from maids on carts. Consumers will claim, "Yeah, but not $30/person worth of work." And then hotels can say, "that is our price; take it or leave it."

            The Rio has learned that they fill up all rooms, even when people have used up all of the rooms at the Defcon rate, and they have to pay for the more expensive suites. Look back at the history, and you will likely see some people complaining about paying north of $400/night for rooms, because they didn't get a room at the Defcon rate while rooms were available in that block. It will probably happen again this year, and we will have another year of complaints, "The published Defcon rate is this amount, but when I try to book a room they are that amount! Rip-off!" and again, one of us will probably reply, "you should have planned your trip sooner. There are only so many rooms available at that rate in the Defcon block. Once they run out, they run out."

            The offers are published, and we as consumers can agree to the offer or decline. We choose how much money we are willing to trade for convenience, and service and we can choose to not accept any good or service, if we want to pay nothing.

            I'll probably stay at the Rio this year cause I can afford it and it will be nice to have an elevator to my room....but I won't be getting the conference rate, that's for sure.
            Or as mentioned before, you could stay at Gold Coast up until Friday, then move over to the Rio, and save even more money, then move back to Gold Coast on Sunday night. Opportunities are available for those willing and able to find opportunities for exploitation.

            Now for some advice:

            You find something that you do not like about Defcon, please provide constructive criticism, and be as specific as possible, and put it in a place that Goons are more likely to read.

            It is probably too late for any re-negotiation of the Defcon rate for this year, but please consider contributing to a thread we start nearly every year after Defcon ends:

            "How can we make Defcon better?" (Example thread title. Here is an example thread that was copied from the "Post Defcon 20" forum to the "Defcon 21 planning" forum: How would you make Defcon 21 better?. A new one will be made in the "Post Defcon 21" forum, after Defcon 21 ends. You can try posting to that thread in addition to this one, but again, it is probably too late this year, and that thread will be closed once the Defcon 21 planning forum is closed.)

            Here is an example of a style that tends to be well received:

            Will the Defcon rate switch back to being the same price for 1 to 4 people per room like it was in the past? If not, why not? I preferred this, and I am not alone.
            or
            Can we get the Defcon rate negotiated to be more competitive on days other than Friday and Saturday, and beat 3rd party sites like priceline for each and every day?
            (I think I know the answer to this second question, but am not in charge of that, and don't want to find the post which I think addressed it, as it is old and may be old information.)

            Feel free to combine several, in the same style.

            Complaining is "meh" but asking for specific changes and providing constructive criticism is more likely to get attention and lead to some sort of change. Placing them in a single thread with other constructive criticism increases the chances that an organizer will read them.

            hope this helps,
            -Cot

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Confused about room discount

              Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
              Hopefully, you read the whole reply.

              These are facts. Again, for Friday and Saturday, the Defcon rate is cheaper. Really. Try it yourself.
              I did read your entire reply.Your number did not match mine at all. As per my OP, I got results on the Rio homepage without the promo code that was closer to $85/night, with the promo code it was about $115/night.

              I don't really care about the conditions with more than 2 people. It's interesting, but irrelevant to my situation. I am one person, wanting to rent a room for myself, not in the Gold Coast (as I mentioned) but at the Rio.

              When I click through with code SRDEF13, these are the rates I get:

              Code:
              THU	08/01/13	$104.00
              FRI	08/02/13	$118.00
              SAT	08/03/13	$118.00
              SUN	08/04/13	$104.00
              Avg. Per Night
              $111.00
              Subtotal
              $444.00*
              Interestingly, when using the same Rio site without the code, it is now moderately more expensive. I find this interesting, because at the time I wrote the OP, it was not the case. I was sure I had not made a mistake and that the price mirrored the Priceline quote, but now I am unsure.

              Without the promo code:

              Code:
              08/01/2013 - 08/05/2013
              Nightly Rates
              	
              THU	08/01/13	$109.00
              FRI	08/02/13	$119.00
              SAT	08/03/13	$119.00
              SUN	08/04/13	$109.00
              Avg. Per Night
              $114.00
              Subtotal
              $456.00
              So, Friday and Saturday are about $10/more without the code. A marginal saving, but certainly a hell of a lot nicer than what (apparently incorrectly) seemed to be inflated prices with the promo code!

              Still, Priceline for what is likely the same suite is considerably cheaper:

              Code:
              Room Cost: (details)
              avg. per room, per night
              	
              $85.51
              Rooms: 	1
              Nights: 	4
              Room Subtotal: 	$342.00
              Taxes & Fees : 	
              $40.92
              Total Charges:
              prices are in US dollars 	$382.92

              I'm not sure why you gave such a long lecturing reply. I don't mean to sound snarky, but I get how the market works. I understand there are other options for accomodation, I even mentioned them in my previous reply. It really has little to do with me pointing out, apparently wrongly, that the discount apparently resulted in an increased cost, not a decreased cost.

              You find something that you do not like about Defcon, please provide constructive criticism, and be as specific as possible, and put it in a place that Goons are more likely to read.
              I posted it in here because I wanted input from the community and perhaps to verify if the problem I had thought I found was one. It appears as you have shown and that my results somewhat mirror, that I was incorrect in my original post.


              Complaining is "meh" but asking for specific changes and providing constructive criticism is more likely to get attention and lead to some sort of change. Placing them in a single thread with other constructive criticism increases the chances that an organizer will read them.
              I didn't mean my post in this thread to be taken as a complaint. In fact, looking back at my OP, I have no idea how you construed it as a complaint. I report my findings, and then ask if they are correct or not.

              I really don't get your long reply. I understand you're trying to be helpful, but it seems misdirected. Thanks anyway I guess.

              In any event, it seems my questions was answered, and my original finding was wrong. I'll post back if I see a similar discrepancy, otherwise it looks like I'll just book via Priceline or whichever site has the cheapest rates. No interest in staying at the Gold Coast.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Confused about room discount

                Originally posted by Samael View Post
                I'm not sure why you gave such a long lecturing reply.
                Ah! That is my style. Long-winded. Several people have told me that my keyboard will break if I keep typing so much on the forums.
                (Some of these likely included a hidden threat that they would be the ones breaking my keyboard over my hands, but all in jest. I hope. ;-)
                It is a style that attempts to not only speak to the person that asked the question, but to all people that will read your question and the response, regardless of experience with travel, time at Defcon, or experience with pricing and opportunities.

                I don't mean to sound snarky, but I get how the market works. I understand there are other options for accomodation, I even mentioned them in my previous reply. It really has little to do with me pointing out, apparently wrongly, that the discount apparently resulted in an increased cost, not a decreased cost.
                Ah, part of the reason for the details in my post was to show you my findings with literal copy/paste, to address the specific complaint about lower rates when going with the standard Rio Rates. This was done because your reply to my first reply sounded like you didn't believe my results, or read them, or had different results. My literal results offer a chance for direct comparison. They also provide a mine-shaft canary of sorts to see if you are trolling or have a genuine question.

                I posted it in here because I wanted input from the community and perhaps to verify if the problem I had thought I found was one. It appears as you have shown and that my results somewhat mirror, that I was incorrect in my original post.
                At the heart of your original post (OP) is an element of truth... if you stay more than 5 days on the "Defcon Rate" you are not getting the best rate possible, especially for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and a cheaper rate can be found when combining the Defcon rate with other rates.

                My reply was an attempt to show how the Defcon rate can be a cost savings but only over the specific days of Friday and Saturday.

                Your post here is fine. There is no rule violation. The advice offered is for how you (and lurkers) should consider a best way address a problem you see, and have the best chance for seeing a change take place. I still encourage you to post this as a complaint with constructive criticism in the "How would you make Defcon Better" thread when it is created. You can post this in the thread for DC21, but it probably won't have as much an impact as it would if posted in the newer thread for how to make Defcon 22 better after Defcon 21 ends.

                I didn't mean my post in this thread to be taken as a complaint. In fact, looking back at my OP, I have no idea how you construed it as a complaint. I report my findings, and then ask if they are correct or not.
                Sorry... I read that as a complaint, probably because of the exclamation point, and because so many other people have complained about this over the years.

                In any event, it seems my questions was answered, and my original finding was wrong. I'll post back if I see a similar discrepancy, otherwise it looks like I'll just book via Priceline or whichever site has the cheapest rates. No interest in staying at the Gold Coast.
                If you have time and patience, some other thoughts on this:

                Are you using Firefox with no-script? Have you enabled the "totalrewards" site and rio sites? Leaving those disabled has been known to cause problems on pricing and displayed room availability.

                Also, during your review for prices, did you choose a non-defcon rate which was also a non-standard-rio rate? Clear your cookies for total rewards and rio-related sites, and then visit the Rio page for reservations without cached data. They often have special deals which are not the Defcon rate but use promo codes. The rates are not visible once you have selected the Defcon promo code or other codes embedded in the URL when linked from other sites. Two years ago, i found a Rio promo deal that was something like 40% off their normal rate if you stayed 4 nights, and that was an even better savings for non-Defcon days, costing something like $28/night for Sun-Wed nights. Compared (back then) to the week-day (Sun-Thurs) Defcon rates back then of $99/night, and the special Rio rate was an even better deal. At the time 2 years ago, this beat priceline, expedia and other places, except for Friday and Saturday.

                If you are willing to try again, could you try one of the various non-Defcon, non-standard-Rio promos to see if the price under that is cheaper than the Defcon rate? Another possible reason? Maybe the room selected was not a "Deluxe Suite" ? Priceline has a significant savings if you go with their cheapest "standard" room (non-suite) and the Rio.

                Please provide any results, favorable or not back here for any lurkers to read; the questions you ask, and the content you provide add to the information we all share. If you find facts of better rates, I encourage you to post them. If you find better rates that the Defcon rates, or better deals with the Rio, letting everyone know about them makes Defcon cheaper for more people, and provides support for other attendees.

                As an example: someone found a deal last year, which was a significant cost savings over the standard Rio rates, and included a $30 voucher per day or something like it, at the pool. It was offered through a 3rd party site. There were questions about it being legit or not, but feedback from that case were favorable -- people actually had rooms at the Rio at a significant price savings over the Defcon rate. Here is the thread FROM LAST YEAR.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Confused about room discount

                  I check the hotel prices twice a day on many sites. For a seven day stay, Tuesday before Defcon through Monday after Defcon, the best price I have seen so far is $455.00. There are coupon codes out there too, discounts for AAA, Military, Platinum card holders, etc. Keep looking, the windows for good prices are small and it's a gamble, but many places will price match in 30 days, and most places also let you cancel with no penalties up to 24 hours before your first night stay. You have nothing to lose!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Confused about room discount

                    Gold coast has Ping Pang Pong as well. Which sounds like some racist american version of Chinese food, but it's actually really good dim sum style Chinese, and not that expensive.

                    GC also has some better blackjack games than the Rio, 3:2 with lower minimum bets. Most of the Rio is 6:5.

                    Be warned though, 1000 year old egg porridge does not taste as good in the morning when you are hung over and lacking a microwave.

                    It's a little walk, but much shorter than it was to walk from the Hilton to the Riv.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Confused about room discount

                      In general, conference rates in Vegas are usually above what one can find on their own with a promo code or booking on a 3rd party site.

                      Basically, don't think of the Defcon rate as a discount. It never has been advertised as a discount, anyway. More or less it's a guarantee you'll get a cool room key.

                      Also, theoretically they may "run out" of "cheap" rooms and the Defcon block may be the only way to book.

                      Smart folks who absolutely KNOW they are going to defcon would do well in subscribing to some of the vegas deals e-mail blasts (Anthony Curtis, etc) that the hotels use to send out their best promo codes. You can find some incredible deals, sometimes even 40-50% off hotel rates this way.

                      It's really too bad we're off strip, the Rio is great but it doesn't really allow for great flexibility in staying other places.

                      Comment

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