Wednesday, December 2, 2009

APA: No Overflow Hotel

I'm sorry to have caught this so late, but the APA regretfully announces that they have failed to secure an overflow hotel for the Eastern meetings.

So, all you job seekers who, quite sensibly, were waiting to make travel arrangements until you discovered whether you had any interviews (and thus any reason to travel to New York City over the Holidays): If you're lucky enough to have interviews at the Eastern, you're on your own for a hotel! Thankfully, the APA has provided a list of nearby hotels. Enjoy the criminal booking rates!

[Snark alert...] I think the APA should increase is dues to help pay for the wonderful new hosting of the same old pathetic webshite, the classic, 1970s-style production that is Jobs for Philosophers, and the uncommon level of expertise they bring to their primary task of organizing three major professional meetings. They really deserve our support.

**Rare Non-Snarky Serious Query**: Is there any non-awkward and reliable way to organize an effort to connect lodgingless job-seekers with folks who have rooms (and available floor / cot space) at the conference hotel? I suspect there will be many people alone in double-sized rooms... At the very least, departments should be organizing this kind of thing for their people.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why criticize the APA? Job seekers could easily have made reservations way in advance and cancel them a mere week ahead of time if necessary (with no penalty). It's the rare hiring institution that calls up a few days before Xmas for an interview.

Anonymous said...

I have long recommended to colleagues that they reserve their hotel room as soon as reservations open (usually early August for the APA Eastern meeting). It doesn't cost anything and you can always cancel without charge up to a few days before the meeting.

Don't blame the APA. The Marriott (the conference hotel for 2009) pleaded with APA to move the meeting out to a suburb, as they could make much more money from Europeans visiting NY over the holidays. Be grateful APA didn't do that, but stayed in Manhattan. If conference participants (or would-be participants) don't recognize what a bargain they've negotiated for us and quickly reserve their room, they have only themselves to blame.

Several list-servs typically have announcements from people seeking roommates at professional meetings (e.g., SWIP).

Anonymous said...

anons:

right on, apa shills. and i suppose there's no reason why someone who isn't sure if she's even going to the meeting or if she is what days and how long she's staying might see fit to not reserve a room. no reason to consider blocking others out who have firm itineraries. and you both miss the point-- the apa usually has at least one overflow hotel. and it usually gets filled too. no overflow this time. no explanation. no foresight. no concern for job seekers. but i forgot- i'm to blame! incredible.

spiros: i bet if you check you'll find both anon posts coming from apa hq.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:39

You've got it all wrong. We're not shills for the APA. We're just anti-whiners. It's simply too easy to reserve a hotel in late summer --for as many days as you like-- and either change it or cancel it shortly before the conference. Just do it.

Philosophers are such bloody whiners.

Anonymous said...

anon 6:46:

no, you've got it all wrong. the apa has in the past always secured an overflow hotel (often more than one). the strategy you propose of booking a room at the conference hotel for the duration even if you are not sure you're even going or if so when and for how long seems irresponsible to me, given the fact that this would cause the conference hotel to artificially fill up more quickly and take up space for those who have the benefit of knowing their travel plans further in advance. i waited until i knew exactly what my travel plans are because i expected the apa to secure an overflow, as in previous years. but without warning they simply didn't do so this time. it's not whining to criticize them for dropping the ball this year (unless you're a shill like you).

Anonymous said...

"The Marriott ... pleaded with APA to move the meeting out to a suburb, as they could make much more money from Europeans visiting NY over the holidays. Be grateful APA didn't do that, but stayed in Manhattan."

Yeah, because those are the options. We either have this conference in Manhattan at a horrible time or the suburbs. We couldn't possibly have this conference at a city somewhere in the middle where it would be more affordable and more accessible for job seekers. Let's just move this shit to Dallas and have it on January 2nd. Cheap, warm, and its in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Echoing Anonymous 8:30, I don't see any good reason why this whole thing COULDN'T be moved to early January. God knows it would make MY life easier. As for why not move it to Dallas, well, it IS the EASTERN APA.

Mostly Anonymous said...

Sure, it's the Eastern APA meeting, but it's also the meeting at which *all* the philosophy hiring starts. I really don't understand why the hiring meeting isn't an All-APA meeting as opposed to being labeled as an "Eastern" meeting. So, why not an All-APA meeting in St. Louis or Kansas City (both very near the population center of the U.S.) or maybe at a nice airline hub city like the aforementioned Dallas?

I'm starting to think that some of us philosophers should start a competing organization.

Anonymous @ 8:30 said...

When the APA has meetings in Canada, the Eastern can be held in Dallas, Kansas City, or St. Louis. I think cheap is good for the Eastern or Dec/Jan meeting because of the job seekers. I think centrally located and away from crap weather is good for the same reason.

As for a post January meeting, every year someone objects that this would be unfair to the people who work at schools that start up the first week of January. I think their numbers are small enough that we can still run a nice utilitarian argument for not running the Eastern between Xmas and NYE. Anyway, who skips a conference because of classes? No one I've ever met at the Central or Pacific.

Anonymous said...

Let me suggest that you write to the Eastern officers/executive committee and suggest they survey the membership on preferred locations and time. Central did exactly that with regard to preferred locations, and a few years ago polled membership on scheduling, moving from late April to February. Pacific three years ago did a poll of members regarding whether to move the location due to labor troubles at the conference hotel. It's not hard to do.

Many people like the break between the holidays, as they can bring family and get a great deal on the hotel room at APA rates. And many like the NY meeting location as it's the only way many can afford to visit NY nowadays, with the convention rate hotels and (maybe) some travel subsidy from their home institutions.

-Ordinary professor [not an APA staffer or officer or shill]

Anonymous said...

"I'm starting to think that some of us philosophers should start a competing organization."

I definitely see that happening.

Anonymous said...

The APA CHOSE not to book an overflow hotel because it did not expect to need one and was not willing to run the risk of having to pay high "attrition" fees (in the thousands of dollars) in case it did not meet it's guaranteed number.

Here's a quote from an e-mail from the APA office:


We all understand the difficulties that this creates for members who try to book hotel space after the APA's allotment of rooms has been filled. We also all wish there were some easy way around this problem. Unfortunately, the fact that the Eastern Division Meeting is in New York rather than a city in which there is less demand for hotel space, placed the Eastern Division in a situation in which estimating room usage was uncommonly difficult. Had the division overestimated demand it would have been quite costly to the division. None of the information that was available either to the division
or to the National Office gave us any reason to believe that the demand for rooms would have been anywhere close to the high levels that we are now experiencing. Again, I surely regret the situation in which you and a number of other members now find yourselves. Unfortunately, I do not know of anything else that I can say or that any of us can do at this point, nor do I think it would have been prudent for the Eastern Division to have made higher estimates of room demand at the time when contracts were being made.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 7:00 still doesn't get it. APA told you there was no overflow hotel. It doesn't matter if you don't know whether you're going. And, no, the hotel will not artificially fill up.

It's remarkably stupid to wait to make a reservation until late in the fall just because you believe there will be an overflow hotel. Do you also have an overflow doctor or dentist? APA isn't there to hold your pathetic little hand. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

the problem is that the demand apparently far exceeds the supply of reasonably priced hotel rooms. The APA explicitly predicted that this would not be a problem. They thought that the bad economy and the poor job market would negatively affect this year's attendance. They thought that they would not even fill up the main hotel. Because of that they were unwilling to risk booking an overflow hotel because of attrition penalties in the thousands of dollars if they failed to meet their guarantee number.

But they badly underestimated the attendance, apparently, and now hundreds (apparently) of attendees will have to pay through the nose to attend.

Mr. Zero said...

I am still inclined to blame the APA. A while ago we had a discussion at the Smoker about how dumb it was to have the E-APA meeting in New York at all, given the high price of everything in NYC. But it was pointed out by someone who claimed to have inside knowledge that meetings held in New York meetings are better attended than those held in any other city. So 2:08's correspondent's claim that the APA had no way of predicting that an overflow hotel would be necessary seems pretty implausible. Add to that a larger-than-average class of job seekers (since last year was such a wash), and it seems clear that they should have booked extra, extra hotel space.

Furthermore, pointing out that the difficulties are a function of the fact that the meeting is being held in New York in no way ameliorates the APA's responsibility, since they are responsible for the fact that the meeting is being held in New York in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I'm anonymous 2:08 and my correspondent is the executive director of the APA himself. He responded to my complaining e-mail. Before the part that I excerpted he pointed out that the National Office is not responsible for these decisions, by the way, they just implement the decisions of the executive committee of the Eastern DIvision.

Anonymous said...

You know, there are lots of graduate students who go to nyc schools, who will not be in the city during the APA. I know because I am one of them. My guess is that most of these students have places that would involve healthy commutes to the wonderful timesquare marriott, but this might be free/semi-free ish accommodation for desperate philosophers.

Maybe somebody should get a more reputable blog onto the task of putting the words out about this. Leiter maybe?

PA said...

Re: anon 11:34.

Leiter Reports is "more respectable" than Philosophers Anonymous?

Ouch! (note: response here is vicarious)

Anonymous said...

Wait and see how many of those reservations are canceled at the last minute because the reams of job candidates building up the last two years don't get any interviews. I would be hasty to infer that tons of people will be attending the conference.

Anonymous said...

Hindsight bias, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Where's the evidence that people are flocking to the Eastern in droves this year? It's certainly not anything which can be inferred on the basis of the October and November JFP's. To the contrary...

For what it's worth, last year in Philly I was told the APA was nervous that not enough people would reserve rooms. Apparently, they barely made the cut. Given the horrid JFP, why should they expect more people to reserve rooms this year?

Lastly, I'm a grad student and as broke as the next guy or gal. But that didn't stop me from reserving a room last August, knowing full well that I could cancel in December if I don't get any interviews. There are plenty of reasons for criticizing the APA; I just don't see this as one of them.

crito said...

I think I'm the informant that Mr. Zero is talking about.

It's true (4:09 AM) that last year the Eastern Division was worried that they would not get enough rooms booked and would have to pay attrition costs. But they fully expected that NY would attract far more attendees (attenders??) than Philadelphia, because it always does. I guess academics love NYC. This should not have been a surprise, and I agree with the critics who suspect the Eastern Division was too concerned with reducing its own risk (namely, the risk they'd incur if they booked an overflow hotel and then couldn't fill their block there).

Here's a constructive suggestion. Try Hotwire, or Priceline. There aren't going to be any bargains in midtown Manhattan on our dates, of course, but at least you should be able to find a place convenient to the convention for under $200. (If you just gasped when you read that, don't even look at the hotels suggested on the APA web site. That Courtyard Marriott is asking $399/night.)

Tim O'Keefe said...

Many people like the break between the holidays, as they can bring family and get a great deal on the hotel room at APA rates. And many like the NY meeting location as it's the only way many can afford to visit NY nowadays, with the convention rate hotels and (maybe) some travel subsidy from their home institutions.

Well, OK, I can see that. But regarding the NYC location, at least, I'd submit that the needs of poor job-seekers easily outweigh the preferences of these people, on either utilitarian or Rawlsian maximin principles.

Anonymous said...

All the main hotel chains have hotels at La Guardia and JFK for $100-$150/night that week. You can find them on sites like expedia.com

New York Transit runs buses and subway lines from the airports into Manhattan.
http://www.mta.info/nyct/service/airport.htm

I doubt I'm the only philosopher who stayed at the (co-ed) West Side YMCA as a grad student. They have private rooms, with private baths, fabulous location, very cheap:
http://www.ymcanyc.org/index.php?id=1134

Not glamorous, but if you have a job interview and/or serious budget problems, these are not unreasonable solutions.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, don't stay out at JFK, it's far..

Anonymous said...

Let's set aside the issue of whether it's problematic to reserve a room when you think you may have to cancel it later, thereby taking a reasonably priced room away from someone who could have used it (which I don't think the "shills" have adequately addressed). Does the APA seriously want to encourage people to take up this practice? Doesn't this threaten landing them with lots of high attrition fees in years hence?

Also, did the APA notify people in advance there would be no overflow hotel? It's always been my experience that there has been one in the past. So, without notification, I would have just assumed there would be one this year.

Anonymous said...

Bingo. If ten people book in August and cancel, no big deal... but if 100 or so people book in August and then cancel, that's a huge deal. With many job postings getting 500-600 applications, who is to say that there won't be at least 100 people who don't get any sort of interview whatsoever. That the APA would be encouraging 100s of job seekers to reserve rooms in August, knowing that many won't get an interview, seems to invite the very same negative consequences that the APA is trying to avoid.

Anon @ 4:09 said...

Anon @ 5:13 writes:

Let's set aside the issue of whether it's problematic to reserve a room when you think you may have to cancel it later, thereby taking a reasonably priced room away from someone who could have used it...

First, no, that doesn't follow. If you get to assume in August that there will be an overflow hotel, why won't you allow me to make the same assumption? Second, I reserved a room because I thought it more likely than not that I would get at least one interview. Third, if everyone had made their reservations last August (thereby filling most, if not all, of the allotted rooms), do you think the APA would still have decided not to secure an overflow hotel?

Anon @ 8:08's reasoning is interesting (i.e. that a situation which makes it prudent to reserve in August brings a risk of significant cancellations in December). Does anyone know if the APA's ever had a problem with too many people canceling at the last minute?

Anonymous said...

if everyone had made their reservations last August (thereby filling most, if not all, of the allotted rooms), do you think the APA would still have decided not to secure an overflow hotel?

I believe that to get the desired rate, the Eastern Division would have had to book an overflow hotel about two years ago.

By the way, nobody's commented on this yet, but even though the Central meetings are being held during February, apparently for no other reason than that the hotels are cheap, the hotel is not cheap.

Anonymous said...

Central moved their meetings to February, at least in part, because the late April scheduling was problematic. (1) It often came very close to Pacific, making it difficult for people to get away from campus for both. (2) With many schools finishing their semesters in late April/early May, it was also difficult for many to get away.

Several years ago, Central discussed moving their meetings to Labor Day weekend (which is when the APSA meets), and I don't know why they abandoned that option. Perhaps it was just too early for everybody, although the political scientists seem to like their scheduling.

The results of the Central poll on preferred meeting locations are here: http://www.apaonline.org/divisions/central/meetingpoll.aspx
They conducted that poll with a notice in the annual dues notice.

If there is a groundswell of interest by Eastern members for different scheduling and/or cheap locations instead of New York, then it shouldn't be difficult to arrange such a poll in the next dues notice. The three divisions function very independently (for better or worse). Eastern members might want to contact their officers about this. They are listed here:
http://www.apaonline.org/divisions/eastern/officers09-10.aspx

Spiros said...

Sorry to be chiming in so late in this thread. FWIW, the anon @ 6:39 (3rd comment) got it right. Why didn't the APA send out an email announcing that there would be no overflow hotel? Surely they knew this some time ago....

Anonymous said...

The real solution to this problem is for schools to stop interviewing at the Eastern APA meeting. If schools stopped spending their budgets on flying 3-4 faculty members out to the Eastern APA meeting, their hotel rooms, meals, etc., they could increase the number of campus interviews significantly (and these are the meaningful ones). Instead of going to the APA, just conduct interviews over the phone or by videoconferencing. If 13 yr old girls can talk to their friends using Skype, why not conduct the first round of interviews this way? Is there really any difference?

Elizabeth said...

All the main hotel chains have hotels at La Guardia and JFK for $100-$150/night that week. You can find them on sites like expedia.com

You're telling people to stay near JFK and take that long subway ride to midtown every day of the conference? For their job interviews?!

Good lord...

punk-rock abd said...

(1) The small issue: The APA is out of rooms. Big deal. They ALWAYS run out of rooms at the Eastern. That's why smart job seekers book that shit early. If you didn't, that sucks, I'm sorry. =(
(2) The small solution: Check out some of the NYC hostels. There's some killer hostels with private rooms (you get your own bed but have to share a bathroom) for $50-90 a night, a short train ride (10 minutes?) from Times Square. Candy Hostel on the Upper West Side is my fav =) Best of all, you usually get access to a kitchen with free breakfast food. Cook pancakes with hippies before your interview
!
(3) The big issue: Where the F does the APA get off holding the job market meat market conference in the most expensive east coast cities during the most expensive travel times of year? Seriously?! I know there's a lot of east coast schools, and it's easier for our friends from across the pond, but it's a huge pain in the @$$ for us job seekers coming from the south, the west, the midwest, the mountain states, etc. And FORGET about family holidays. I don't know about your families, but mine can't afford to take a vacation to New York this time of year, and I can't afford to go both places.
(4) The big solution: Do something about this! Are there any places that are cheaper? Warmer? What about switchin' it up, west coast one year, east coast the next? What about Miami? This isn't a lawyer convention or a brain surgeon convention - it's a *philosophy* conference. Let's get real.

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Anonymous said...

Punk,

NY is very expensive around Christmas, yes. The Easterns are there once every few years, and it looks like NY is about to get dropped from the rotation.
Miami is a terrible choice, though -- it's also very expensive this time of year. (Think about it.)
Philadelphia was good, and Boston will be good next year.

Tim O'Keefe said...

I think Atlanta is OK too. It's a hub for Airtran and Delta, so lots of direct flights fairly cheap, and not too cold. Downtown ATL still gets pretty empty in the evenings, but it's a *lot* better than it was the last time the APA held their Eastern division meeting there.

Mr. Zero said...

PR-ABD,

I booked a room for the Baltimore meeting in 2007 at the overflow hotel less than two weeks ahead of time. No Problem

anon 7:01,

I heard that these New York meetings are usually very well-attended and that the APA makes a lot of money on them and that they will not be dropping NYC. This is all hearsay, of course. But I wonder why you think it "looks like" they will.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I live in Miami -- and Miami is not at all expensive during this time of year. Miami BEACH is expensive. But Miami Beach is a tiny little island tourist trap.

I actually think the Miami suggestion is a good one. The Hilton Omni located in the Downtown/Performing Arts District would probably be relatively inexpensive to have the actual conference, and there is a wide range of hotels within spitting distance of it that go from totally inexpensive economy hotels to super pricey high class type places.

A full travel package from Priceline NYC to MIA for Dec 27-29 with flight, rental car, and hotel in the aforementioned area is $963 for an iffy hotel, $1,361 for the super swanky Marriott Biscayne Marina (waterfront!).

Costs for the same to NYC at this time of year? $1,451, and that's only if you fly into Newark Int'l rather than LaGuardia or JFK. And there is plenty of cheap, free, fun to be had in Miami.

AND for those who want the Eastern to stay Eastern ... Miami is totally eastern.

Anonymous said...

Hi Zero (this is 7:01),
The NY meetings are certainly very well attended, but I don't think the APA makes any money on them at all.
The last time I spoke to An Authority, he told me that if I liked New York I should be sure to attend this year because the negotiations for future years in NY were not going well. This conversation was over a year ago, so possibly things have changed.

I think Atlanta sounds like a good idea, Tim. Not much fun, but as you say easy to get there and relatively cheap to stay there.

Anonymous Miami guy:
Okay, good point, I hadn't realized there was such a stark distinction between Miami and the Beach. But keep in mind the Eastern cannot just book a nice hotel. It has to be a very big hotel with convention facilities. Oh, and Miami is west of Pittsburgh, which is Central, so it follows by geographical logic that Miami is Central.
(jk)

Tod said...

Maybe all those people who can't get a hotel are better off...

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/12/10/new.york.broadway.shooting/index.html

CTS said...

Here is a possibly consoling thought:

NY is rife with bed bugs, even at 'fine' hotels. Maybe a good place to avoid, anyhow?

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