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Eurofurence 26 — "Welcome to Tortuga"
Estrel Congress Center Berlin
August 24 - 28, 2022
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Author Topic: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster  (Read 14275 times)

Rafa Greenfur

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The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« on: 16.01.2017, 16:11:12 »

I don't want to start a shitstorm against neither the EF staff nor the Estrel Hotel.
And I'd like to ask anybody to use common sense and be respectful in this discussion.
Also, please read the official announcement of EF, where they did explain upfront WHY they did change the booking process. What they state there is absolutely reasonable: https://forum.eurofurence.org/index.php/topic,7389.0.html

To me it appeared that the provider who was responsible for the booking screwed up big time.
This may have happened due to miscommunication – or just human error.
Of course it can (!) be a challenge for a server or computer centre to process several hundreds of requests at the same time.
Especially when furry-style DDOS-like behavior is added to it (endless rape of the refresh button, for example, which creates further overhead the servers have to handle).

But on the other hand a situation like this could've been communicated to the booking provider – so he is able to increase the server capacity upfront. I don't know if this was already the case?

Anyways, what bothers me is one thing: was a (in my view) "secret" booking link leaked (before it was twittered)?
This would be just plain unfair – and I don't accuse EF staff directly for that. Maybe somebody who got that URL just spread it.
This is nothing which can be controlled, apart from not giving a "secret" booking URL to anybody but EF staff.

So, for the next EF I plead you, EF staff, to make sure that the booking process runs fair and accesible to anybody.

thanks for your time.
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Nathalias

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #1 on: 16.01.2017, 16:25:14 »

I fully understand why they changed the system and normally it should have been no problem.

What bothers me are those "secret links", there where more then one way to book your room and at the end two of them where shut down (including the official link) with an "access denied" while others still worked (like the mobile site and going directly via the Estrel website). The only reason I got no room that way is because I found out too late that no late pepartment was possible over that way...

But this is also a problem with the booking provider and nothing the EF staff or Estrel could help with. I just hope I can get a room via the waiting list or I find someone with an open space in his room.
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winterheart

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #2 on: 16.01.2017, 16:25:47 »

I also would really appreciate that convention fee refunds are now introduced as I was unable to get a room because of this issue and going to overflow hotel is not an option for me.
Therefore I can no longer attend, however I already payed, and yes why pay before?? because you get only a very limited time to pay...

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Nathalias

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #3 on: 16.01.2017, 16:29:08 »

The latest tweet says that there are a lot of double bookings... hope they open the waiting list soon. I would try that first bevore canceling.

I have a room in another Hotel, but that wasn't really what I was planning...
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Suicune

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #4 on: 16.01.2017, 16:30:45 »

It's sad that I probably won't meet some friends of mine :/
Takes really the mood to attend this year right now...

draoncc

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #5 on: 16.01.2017, 16:37:36 »

I don't really want to repeat what's already been said, but really, everything there is to say has already nicely been summed up in the OP.

Like others, the greatest frustration with this - dare I call it so - failure is most definitely the various different ways through which one could have had luck booking when there was only one official link given while there were multiple ways to access the booking providers system. By the time the official @eurofurence twittered another service link, it was already experiencing the very same issues the original link had. And even after both of these went out of service there was still the option of going through the mobile sites, options which I simply did not know and had no way of knowing about and only found out about way after there were no rooms left to book. And all of this over six hours of tears and frustration. I know and have attended events where tickets were sold out within the first two minutes, but never have I experienced six hours of - pardon - such bullshit.

Long story short: I feel incredibly cheated by the whole process. To me, it felt absolutely unfair. As said before, this doesn't go out to complain to either the Estrel who we are very lucky to have, nor the EF organisators, but I am in the same boat with the OP: This has been nothing short of a disaster for many.
« Last Edit: 16.01.2017, 16:40:39 by draoncc »
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zuzu

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #6 on: 16.01.2017, 16:53:14 »

Please point me in the right direction:
How can we (me and my wife) get on that waiting list?
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Nathalias

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #7 on: 16.01.2017, 17:07:54 »

I'm waitng for the information myself. I hope they will post it soon.
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Cheetah

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #8 on: 16.01.2017, 17:08:33 »

As you can imagine, this did not work out the way it was planned, and the shit hit the fan in multiple organisations. It will take a few more hours, maybe a day, to figure out what happens next. Everyone is a bit busy right now.

(And please also keep in mind that we, here at EF, are all working people, so we have to organise all besides our day job. it's amazing nobody got fired today. :) )

It will take a little while until we have all the information we need, and I promise we will post it as soon as we have it.
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draoncc

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #9 on: 16.01.2017, 17:10:53 »

It will take a little while until we have all the information we need, and I promise we will post it as soon as we have it.

Thank you for the affirmation, Cheetah. Let's pray this works out well in the end after all.
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Rafa Greenfur

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #10 on: 16.01.2017, 17:25:27 »

And please also keep in mind that we, here at EF, are all working people, so we have to organise all besides our day job. it's amazing nobody got fired today. :)

This is very true, I think many of us gone very far on this Monday "just" to get a Hotel room…
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Rafa Greenfur

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #11 on: 16.01.2017, 17:26:22 »

Long story short: I feel incredibly cheated by the whole process. To me, it felt absolutely unfair. As said before, this doesn't go out to complain to either the Estrel who we are very lucky to have, nor the EF organisators, but I am in the same boat with the OP: This has been nothing short of a disaster for many.

It is reassuring that there are others who feel the same way and can see this whole thing reasonably.
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Cheetah

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #12 on: 16.01.2017, 18:01:27 »

If you did not get a room, you can email reservierung@estrel.com and they will put you on the waiting list. Please note, that it might take a few days for them to answer, as they are now being flooded with mails.
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Cheetah

RedFoxy

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #13 on: 16.01.2017, 18:50:25 »

I'm not here to talk about the troubles of last booking session but to give my suggest.

I hope that my bad english is enough to explain my idea.

I suggest to change EuroFurence registration form, NOT Estrel or other hotel booking engine!
Why? It's simple, we are about 2000 attendee for EF23, but we don't need a single room for each one, but about one for 2 people, one for 3 people and one for 4 people, but every attendee can book a room, and that make a trouble like more people trying to books same rooms and a big DDOS of a lot of people that tries to books a room before it finish!

My 2 cents are: Add in EF registration form the registration ID of roommate and who can book the room, only the choice one can book the room because he receive an EF coupon code for the booking, by mail or on the ef panel, with that code he can access, when he want after you accepted him, to the EF days in the booking engine and book the room for 2, 3 or 4 people.

If the choice one can't book the room, just he can give the coupon code and demand to book to another roommate.
The coupon code can be used only one time, if you don't have coupon code you can't book at Estrel, there are only a specific number of coupon code (one for each room that can be booked for EF), when there are no more coupon code, no one can recive another coupon code, if a coupon code isn't used for X days (1 week or the end of january) it will expire and a new coupon code will be ready to be assigned to next one in queue.

That's a way to try to solve "the booking gate", or just use a booking engine hosted on more strong and fast cloud computing system :)
« Last Edit: 16.01.2017, 19:37:30 by RedFoxy »
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Hai λ

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Re: The EF23 Hotel Booking Disaster
« Reply #14 on: 16.01.2017, 19:30:17 »

What you are suggesting, and other ideas in the direction of putting more room booking responsibility back into the EF's paws, requires a lot of software development and also management work, and the scarce development resources of this team of volunteers are already very strained. There is just not enough work force available for any of that while keeping the core services that make up the con itself running.
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