Room Lottery

Thank you for your patience this year as we expand the hotel lottery system. This year’s lottery includes both standard rooms and suites in all partner hotels. And the hotel room lottery will run from August 12th at 5PM CDT, until August 21st at 5PM CDT.

We are pleased to announce the Hyatt Rosemont and Loews Chicago O’Hare as new partner hotels, joining the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, Comfort Inn, Crowne Plaza and Aloft.

General Information

The case of two Hyatts

We are pleased include several hotels in our room block. This year we have rooms at two Hyatt properties with similar names, so do pay close attention to which hotels you select:

  • Hyatt Regency O'Hare – Our original home, directly across from the convention center

  • Hyatt Rosemont – Another terrific Hyatt, a short distance up River Road. Motor coach transportation is available to the convention center for those staying at the Hyatt Rosemont, and all convention attendees on a space available basis

Overview

  • The lottery is only open to registered members of the convention and dealers.

  • Only one entry per attendee, though entries may be changed, modified or withdrawn while the lottery is open.

  • Multiple room types (king, double, all suite types) may be indicated in order of preference.

  • Multiple properties (Aloft, Comfort Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hyatt Regency O'Hare, Hyatt O'Hare, Loews Chicago O’Hare) may be indicated in order of preference.

  • Confirmations will take approximately one to two weeks.

  • Payment information will be collected from group leaders.

  • If more than one entry is submitted, the last (most recent) entry will be considered.

How will the lottery work?

Entrants will be chosen at random through an automated process. Each entrant will be able to rank their range of preferred to acceptable dates (ie. You would prefer to arrive on Thursday, but if it means not getting a room, you will accept a Friday arrival), acceptable room type, and hotel. For example: If somebody selects dates as being more important than hotel and all of their preferred dates can be accommodated at their third property choice, then they will be placed there, rather than have a shorter stay at their first choice of property. Alternatively, if they select room type as being more important than hotel and a Double Bed room is only available at their 5th choice of hotel, then they will be placed there.

Where will I find the link to enter the lottery?

We will publish the link in social media and on the main page of the website shortly before the lottery opens. As there is no benefit to entering right away, do not feel you must rush and be one of the first people to enter.

Can I get a room without entering the lottery?

We anticipate that, at least initially, all rooms will be booked as a result of the lottery. However, at the conclusion of the lottery, all room blocks will revert to traditional "open booking" through websites or the hotel's central reservation number as published on our website.  Any cancellations or changes which result in rooms becoming available will immediately be available for booking through the hotel websites and reservation numbers.

When are entries accepted? Is there any benefit to entering earlier rather than later?

The lottery will be open from August 12th, 2019 at 5:00PM (CDT), until August 21st, 2019 at 5:00PM (CDT). There is absolutely no benefit to entering immediately, and only the most recent entry will be considered. Get your room group together and enter at your convenience. Don't wait until the last second though!

When/How will I know if I got a room?

All entrants will be notified of their entry status by email approximately one week after the lottery closes. Successful group leaders will receive additional information regarding their room assignment and  booking confirmation; additional guests part of a successful group will simply be notified that a room was awarded (please speak to your group leader for details).

What is the purpose in requiring registration to enter the room lottery? 

Lottery participation is open only to members of the convention, as a benefit to membership. Matching lottery entries with memberships also goes a long way toward an equitable lottery by ensuring "one person, one entry."

Will there be more than one lottery? Is there more than one round?

Only one lottery, in a single round, is anticipated, including Hyatt Regency O'Hare suites. Any inventory remaining or that becomes available after the lottery will be made available through traditional booking sites as published on our web page.

Entering the Lottery

How do I ensure my room lottery entry matches my convention registration? 

Lottery and registration records will be matched using your convention registration confirmation number, similar to "a1b2c3d4-abcd-1234-ef56-123456abcdef." If no match is found, we will attempt to match using your first name, last name, and email address – be sure to use the same information in the lottery as when you registered. However, providing your registration confirmation is the best way to ensure a positive match. Should you need to update your convention registration, you may do so using the link in the email you received when you registered, or contact registration@furfest.org for assistance. 

I used the “Name on ID” option when registering, what name should I use when entering the room lottery? 

When completing your lottery entry, please use the same "First Name" and "Last Name" from your convention registration.

What is the purpose of "room groups"? 

Our prior experience with lotteries that traditionally used individual entries with no groups has shown a remarkably high occurrence of multiple awards to a group of people that intended to room together in the first place. This results in people immediately canceling or passing on their room award. Providing a means for people to enter as a group significantly reduces the short term churn in rooms, and provides rooms to more attendees overall.

How does the room group bonus work? 

Room groups of three or four are given a small increase in probability to encourage forming groups, with the added advantage that more attendees are able to stay in partner hotels. Some have expressed dismay that couples seeking a king are apparently at a disadvantage. Based on historical room booking patterns and projections, full doubles are greatly preferred over kings. We expect couples seeking kings should have an equitable chance "competing" with larger groups looking for doubles, as king room inventory noticeably outlasts doubles.

How do I form a room group?

One person (the "group leader") in the group completes their lottery entry and will receive a confirmation code when their entry is completed. When the remaining members of the room group enter the lottery, they will choose the "I am in a room group" on the General Information page. A room group may consist of up to four people, including the group leader.

I plan to enter by myself. Does "Group Leader" status still apply?

Yes, you are just a group of one. You may provide your confirmation number and email address to others to form a group of two to four after entering should you change your mind (additional roommates must enter the lottery while it is open for them to be considered in weighting your entry).

Can I make changes to my hotel, room and date preferences after entering?

Yes. Instructions for doing so are included in the lottery confirmation email sent after entering.

WHAT IF I WANT TO WITHDRAW (CANCEL) MY LOTTERY ENTRY?

Prior to the lottery closing, attendees may edit their entry and indicate they wish to withdraw. No charge will be made. If a group leaders withdraws, be certain everyone in the room group is aware, as the convention does not manage room groups, and will not notify group members that their group leader withdrew. If a group leader withdraws, group members may edit their entry to associate with a different group or form their own group. Any individual entry without a valid group leader confirmation will be disregarded.

WHAT IF I DON’T WANT MY ROOM?

Once the lottery closes, group leaders have agreed to the terms of the lottery and will be charged the non-refundable deposit. Chargebacks for reasons other than errors will result in loss of the room and disqualification for future year lotteries.

Our group leader withdrew, but the rest of us wish to remain in the lottery. What do we do?

Room groups are tied together by the lottery confirmation number and email address of the group leader. If the group leader withdraws and no other changes are made, the remaining individual entries will be disregarded.  However, reforming your group under a new leader is straight forward. Select one person in your group to assume group leadership, update their lottery entry to "group leader" status and select dates, hotels, and room types. Also, the new group leader will also need to provide payment information at that time. Finally, the remainder of the group should update their entries with the confirmation number and email address of the new group leader.

Is there a random assignment option (opt-in or compulsory)?

There is no option for "just give me whatever I can get" (though one can choose all options to get to the same effect). Also, no person will be assigned a hotel, room, date or roommate they did not explicitly ask for.

How do I increase my odds of obtaining a room?

Form a room group with the people you intend to stay with, as doing so slightly increases the "weight" of your entry.  Beyond forming a room group, there is no effective guidance as to which hotels, room types or dates as the likelihood of a successful entry depends on the total number of entrants for the various hotels and room types. 

Is there a minimum stay requirement?

Yes, all standard room entries must include at least a two night stay.

Payment

Is payment for the hotel room required when entering the lottery?

Group leaders are required to provide a credit card number when entering the lottery. A charge is not made immediately, however group leaders will be charged a non-refundable one night stay, inclusive of room and taxes, if the room is awarded. Additional group members are not charged, nor is there a mechanism to split the one night deposit across more than one payment method. The convention will provide at least two business days between initial email notification of the charge, and no charge will be made earlier than August 26th. This charge will automatically be credited to the  hotel folio and applied toward the remainder of the stay. All group leaders may see a temporary $1 hold placed on their credit card by our payment processor at the time of entry, however it will be automatically released/refunded within a week of entry regardless of whether a room is awarded. Failed charges to domestic addresses will result in the lottery award being discarded. We will notify international entries of charge issues, however the issue must be resolved by the attendee within three days of notification. All charges will be made in USD.

How much will be charged?

One night, plus room tax, sales tax. Please see our website or the lottery entry form itself for the exact amount.

May I use a debit card for the lottery?

Hotels and conventions typically strongly discourage using debit cards for hotel stays. However, for the purpose of the lottery, as your card information will not be forwarded to the hotel and will not be used for any purpose other than a one night charge, the traditional warning not to use debit cards for hotel stays does not apply. Should you choose to use a debit card, be certain you have sufficient funds to cover the first night charge should your entry be picked; failed charges result in forfeiture of the room. Regardless, we strongly recommend international attendees use a credit card for both the lottery and lodging.

What about paying for the remainder of my stay?

Payment for the remainder of your stay must be arranged with the hotel at check-in, for room, tax and incidentals. You will be charged commensurate with each hotel's policies, which is typically a hold at check-in, and final charge at check-out. You may arrange to split the remainder of your hotel stay with roommates directly with the hotel. Debit cards are not recommended for check-in or the remainder of your stay due to hold policies.

How will the first night charge appear on my statement?

The charge for one night will appear on your credit card bill similar to "MFF*Lodging," and a receipt will be mailed to the email address used for your lottery entry. Please note: Your hotel folio at check-out will not show the MFF charge.

Are there any exceptions to the non-refundable policy?

Yes, there are a few cases where the non-refundable deposit may be refunded. Please be aware that other than VIP suite related refunds, any refund will also result in cancellation of the associated convention registration (which will also be refunded). Further, cancellations within the hotels' cancellation policy (varies from 24 hours to seven days) are non-refundable under any circumstance.

  • VIP suites are booked with two adjoining rooms. A VIP group leader may identify one winning room in any hotel (including another suite of any type) to "merge" with their reservation; the guests in the standard room will be transferred to the VIP suite reservation and the second room deposit refunded. The group leader for the standard room must agree (instructions will be provided with VIP suite notifications).

  • Dealers which are awarded a room, but are not provided a dealer's table, may request a refund of their deposit if they choose not to attend the event.

  • Unable to accommodate all ADA requests: If an ADA room is required, and the convention receives more ADA requests than rooms are available, the standard room reservation will be refunded at the request of the attendee.

  • Extenuating circumstances: Should significant, unforeseeable, extenuating circumstances prevent someone from attending the convention, please contact MFF hotels. We will evaluate the situation and work together for a solution, which may include refunding the room deposit.

Cancellations
While deposits are non-refundable, we do ask attendees cancel their rooms by the cutoff date for their hotel to allow other attendees an opportunity to book. Cutoff dates vary, please refer to the your hotel's information on our website. Suite guests must cancel by the suite cutoff, otherwise they will be ineligible for suites in future years.

Dealers

Are dealers and assistants eligible for the room lottery with their current dealer registration? 

Only those dealers, and their assistants, that submitted their dealer registrations before the initial cut off time of Noon, US/Central, on Friday, July 26th, are eligible for the room lottery as they are considered members of the convention while dealer applications are processed. Dealers, and their assistants, that submitted after that date (and were wait listed) are not yet considered members of the convention and are required to register normally to be eligible for the lottery. If you have any questions on your eligibility, please contact dealers@furfest.org.

How does the Crowne Plaza dealer's block fit in with the lottery?

The Crowne Plaza, across River Road from the convention center, has a portion of the rooms set aside only for dealers. A dealer may select any combination of dates, hotels and room types they wish, and indicate order of preference. If a dealer has indicated they will accept the dealer's block, we will first attempt to accommodate the preferences indicated, and if unable, then place the dealer in the Crowne Plaza block reserved for dealers if dealer rooms are still available.

How should pending dealers register their assistants? 

Assistants must be explicitly named in the dealer registration to be eligible. In the email dealers received when dealer registration was completed, there is a link to manage the account. Dealers may use this link to add names and emails to existing assistant slots. Please note, in an effort to keep everything as fair as possible, any additional assistant slots added at this time are not eligible for the lottery. Please direct any questions or assistance requests to dealers@furfest.org.

Why are dealers and assistants treated differently? 

When a dealer initially applies for space, their convention registrations (and the registrations of their assistants) are tied to their space application. Requiring dealers to purchase a second registration for the room lottery, in addition to registrations tied to their dealer application, significantly complicates the process for both dealers and our staff.

Special Requests

How do I request an ADA room?

We have a wide variety of ADA compliant rooms which can accommodate those with mobility, hearing, or visual impairments. Please enter the lottery and indicate an ADA room is required. If we are unable to award an ADA request in the hotel(s) of your choice, we will assign a standard room instead. After the lottery concludes, our accessibility service department will contact you to arrange a specific room assignment, as ADA rooms vary considerably in their layout and accommodations.

Are there any smoking rooms available?

All partner hotels are 100% non-smoking. This includes the Hyatt Regency O'Hare, which changed to 100% non-smoking in 2019.

How do I make room location requests (balcony, low floor, etc.)?

Unfortunately, due to the size of the event, room location or amenity requests can not be accommodated through the convention. Attendees are welcome to add requests directly with the hotel in their reservation, though do be aware such requests are not guaranteed and accommodated by the hotels on a "best effort" basis.

Unsuccessful Entries

First, our apologies. As much as we'd love a 300 story high-rise (okay, perhaps not, just think of the elevator lines) to put everyone under one roof, it's simply not possible. Here are some suggestions on what to do next, as all hope is not lost. Keep those ears and whiskers up!

My entry was not selected, should I ask for a refund on my registration? 

You certainly may, and we will be happy to help, though do consider the numerous housing choices beyond the room lottery before deciding you are unable to attend; there are many other hotels within walking distance of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center besides those represented in the lottery. Remember, you have until the close of preregistration in November to request a refund, which provides plenty of time to explore options.

What are my lodging options if I did not get a room or suite in the lottery? 

Several options are available:

  • Though most partner hotels initially book near or at capacity, room blocks are continually reevaluated and expanded if possible. Do keep checking booking links.

  • Several excellent Rosemont area hotels, some of which are directly connected via pedway to the convention center and Hyatt, are available in addition to our partner hotels. We ask that you check out your favorite travel sites or the hotel websites directly, to book these rooms.

  • Check out ConRoomies (or other social media outlets) to see if someone might be looking for a roommate.

  • Finally, rooms at partner hotels do become available as people’s plans change. Typically, a small spike in cancellations occur right before the hotel blocks close in November, and those rooms become available. If an appreciable number of rooms open up an announcement will be made in social media.

I was awarded a room.  Can I now...?

All reservations resulting from the lottery are as if the primary guest had made the reservation through traditional means. Please refer to the general MFF hotel FAQ for questions on hotel and reservation topics not directly related to the room lottery itself.

Suites

Please note: Suite policies differ from standard rooms. Refer to the Hotel Suites page for additional information regarding minimum stay, cancellations and other topics.

How do suites fit into the lottery?

Suites at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare are a selectable room type when entering the lottery. Suites will be processed just after ADA rooms, and just before standard rooms. Entries for a suite may also include a preference for one or more standard room types. If a suite can not be awarded, any standard room preferences will be considered. Attendees which would like a standard room if unable to obtain a suite should add their fallback choices to the same lottery entry. This likely applies to all attendees entering the room lottery.  If you ask for a suite, also ask for a standard room. It is highly unlikely any standard rooms will be available after the lottery concludes.

What about suites at other hotels?

All suites managed by the convention are at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. Some partner hotels have limited suites available. Feel free to contact those hotels directly and inquire. Such suites are not under contract, so all rates and terms are set by the hotel.

Are there any special rules or policies related to suites?

Yes. There are special rules, policies and considerations related to suites which all entrants must agree to. Most are related to ensuring safe occupancy, liquor law compliance, noise management and reservation management. The complete set of policies can be found here.

Does a suite award work any differently than standard rooms?

Yes, there is one significant difference:  Convention staff directly manage all suite reservations, so any reference in this FAQ or other standard room information relating to managing your own booking does not apply. Contact the hotel service desk after your award for assistance with any changes (dates, roommates, etc). Your booking confirmation will be from the convention, not the hotel.

I am interested in a VIP suite, which holds more than four people, but room groups are limited to four. What do I do?

If you are interested in a VIP suite and have five to seven roommates in mind, pick two people to be group leaders and make two group entries, plus the additional individual entries. Both group leaders should select the same suite type(s) and fallback standard rooms. If both room groups are awarded rooms (suites or standard), we will cancel one reservation at the group's request and refund that deposit, then merge all guests into one reservation. Ensure there are no more than seven people total between both entries. Fire code prevents assigning more than seven to a VIP suite, and any guests over seven will be dropped. Both groups will still get the group entry bonus even though one group will have three people (this is also the case for two groups of three).

May I select multiple types of rooms or suites?

Yes.

What if someone cancels their suite? Is there a waiting list?

A waiting list is maintained for suite requests in case a suite cancels. Should a cancellation occur, the next person on the waiting list for that suite type will be contacted and provided an opportunity to change their room type from a standard room to a suite. As cancellations are quite rare, only the top five entries on the waiting list for a suite are notified of their waiting list status.

In what order are suites awarded?

Entries for VIP suites are randomly chosen, followed by the Pritzker suite, Deluxe suites, Panorama suites, Plaza suites and finally Regency suites. If someone chose multiple suite types, they will initially be entered into the pool of names for all types they selected. Once someone’s name is selected, their name will be removed from subsequent pools. For example, if someone chooses VIP, Panorama and Plaza, is not drawn for VIP, but is drawn for a Panorama, they will be assigned a Panorama and removed from further consideration (Sorry, one suite per person!).

In prior years, suites were required to call in payment information. What about this year?

As with standard rooms, a one night deposit will be charged when the room is awarded. This takes the place of calling in your card information, which should be less hassle for everyone involved. You will still need to provide payment information for the remainder of the stay at check-in.


Additional Questions?

Please contact the hotel help desk or email hotel@furfest.org.