As I type this, 10 days have passed since the hotel registration event, time enough to get over the initial reaction, and to reflect and consider what can be done in light of the situation.
Like many here, I was ready and waiting at my computer to click the link taking me to the hotel registration page. For me, that meant being up at midnight Sunday night, at another convention in San Jose, California (FURther CONfusion), working from my laptop in my hotel room, using the free WiFi network of the hotel. I knew of several others, both general attendees and established artists and merchants at the same convention, doing the same thing from their hotel rooms, after a long day of Dealers' Room and Art Show participation.
I think I tried about 25 times, waiting for very slow server response with the wrong page coming up (I think I actually got the english page, automatically loaded with the event code and and prompted for the correct month, maybe twice, before being dumped back to the initial page in German). I only had one tab or session loaded at a time, tried filling out the German page (using the tier screen captures provided in an earlier thread as templates), but that wasn't allowing me to progress either. Finally, I stopped trying at about 04:30 PST (or perhaps I fell asleep by that time), and was jolted back to the waking world by my alarm at 08:30 PST, and found the link no longer doing ANYTHING. A quick check of the forums showed the magnitude of the incident, and a recommendation to try to get on the "wait list" with an e-mail to the Estrel.
I did this, and received a reply from Imke Andom at the Estrel, registering my request and assigning me a number. Also included was a statement - more of a "Reality Check" - pointing out that "...experience of the last years shows we will have a very small number of cancellations and we assume that we will be able to confirm further bookings from waiting list at short notice and very limited only."
So - what was my situation? I will be a 61-year old american with poor language skills, likely to have to stay at some other hotel in a foreign capitol if I wish to attend. While I had registered and been accepted to EuroFURence, I had held off on paying for the membership, on the slim chance that I might not be able to get a room at the Estrel.
As of this moment, I still do not have a room.
Do you think that will stop me? HAH! And again I say, HAH!
I have been very fortunate to be able to attend each EF since the very last one in Suhl (EF15). I made my way across the Atlantic for the very first time for that one, navigated the German railway system through 2 changes of train in unfamiliar places - understanding not more than 3 words of German - made my way both to Suhl and the Ringberg, and survived. I had a great time, and when it was over I was able to make my way BACK to Frankfurt - and aside from a brief moment of panic in Erfurt, where I left a sandwich counter in terror after the clerk asked me something in German (probably just wishing to know what I wanted) - I decided that I had to do this AGAIN.
I made that decision because of the good feelings - the "Spirit" - that I picked up from the European Furry Fans, particularly the EF staff who were working the convention, and because of the general kindness which non-furry strangers had shown to me, once they realized that I was a foreigner (I think one look at me revealed that fact) without any German skills.
I have made this journey 8 times now - to attend panels, to buy art, to contribute to the benefitting charity, and always learning something new - and each time expanded my comfort zone and my range of travel to have now seen Suhl, Magdeburg, Berlin, Munchen, Garmisch-Partenkirken (twice), Lindau (on the Bodensee), Ulm, Regensberg, Nurnberg (3 times) and Koln. I've flown into Frankfurt-am-Main, Munchen, and Hannover. I've strolled along the Donau, walked across the Rhein, twice ascended the Zugspitze, heard organ recitals in 3 cathedrals.
I believe that I have just about mastered using DB (I work for a railroad, it would be embarrassing if I couldn't read a train schedule or timetable). In Nurnberg I've used both the U-Bahn and the Bus system, I've taken the trip to the town center in Furth, and the bus out to the airport and back. I've used the S-Bahn and U-Bahn in Munchen, and in Berlin. I've used them to get to Treptower park, to the Brandenburg Gate, to Alexanderplatz and to the Grunwald (and trekked through that to the Teufelsberg). I've taken a canal-and-river cruises from the biergarten at the Estrel up the Landswehr canal and the river Spree, and from Treptower to the Muggelsee.
I've even braved a walk up Sonnenallee into Neukoln, all the way up to the Rathaus and towards the Arcadenmarkt - twice - in order to find an ATM (honestly, I didn't know that there were ones just a short walk down Sonnenallee in the other direction) - and got caught up in a pro-Palestinian/anti-Israeli demonstration, just as two lorry-loads of Polizei dressed in riot-gear showed up. With a pinched-nerve in my back nearly paralyzing one leg, I've staggered down the Unter den Linden from the Brandenburg Gate past the National Library, Alexander Humbolt University and the State Opera House and the Cathedral, all the way to the TV transmission tower and beyond.
...and I've done this, with little more than the German which I know which will keep me from starving in Germany:
So long as I remember these three words, - and also to recognise the difference between the Herrentoilette and the Damentoilette - I shall neither starve in Germany, nor be picked up on a lewdness charge. And so long as I remember that the S41 goes clockwise around the city, and the S42 anti-clockwise, and where the Sonnenallee Bhf is in relation to the Ostkreuz Bhf and the Sudkreuz Bhf; and that even though the M41 is sometimes disparaged as the "Ghetto Bus", that with a multiday transit ticket and an attitude of Adventure (plus the GoogleMap of Berlin or the VisitBerlin visitors' guidebook with map), I'll not get too lost, either.
As an act of Faith, even without any assurance of a last-minute room at the Estrel, I have paid for my EF registration, and at the Supersponsor rate, too. I'll travel light between wherever I wind up staying and the Estrel, and other than leaving the party in the lobby by midnight (unless I take the M41), I will be fine.
The Hotel Snafu? NOT the EF Staff's fault - and other than raising a complaint with the hotel (which I guarantee already is more than aware of the failure), there is nothing practical that they can do about it, nor be expected to. EF is in the Convention ("Event") business, not the Hotel ("Lodging") business. We NEED this convention center to hold our event; they do NOT need US. There is no way around that fact...and the EF staff have looked into every option, and listened to every practical suggestion on how they might possibly get around it.
For what the EF Staff IS responsible for - namely, putting on one of the best Furry/Fantasy/Fan conventions in the world - they do a damn good job of it, measured against anybody - and that includes Kage and AnthroCon, BronyCon, and (dare I say it?) WorldCon.
...So let's stop giving them grief over the matter, and just be prepared to adapt to trying circumstances as best we can, hmmm?
The Fursuit Community has traditionally been the tightest bunch of buddies and compatriots within Furry Fandom. Together, its members should be able to work out some way to leave suits within the rooms of fellow 'suiters for overnight storage, parhaps taking a little extra time to do the 'suit cleaning/drying thing before heading back to their own hotels. Sure, it cuts a little into overall suiting time and perhaps after-hours partying, and it requires one to make some friends beforehand - but that is how you adapt.