News Items - Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education
AORE-AEE Select The Davenport Grand as Conference Host Hotel
Walk through the front doors, and you’ll have a similar reaction as us: Wow! That’s fancy. But, honestly, selecting The Davenport Grand was a no-brainer.

Walk through the front doors, and you’ll likely have a similar reaction as us: Wow! That’s fancy. But, honestly, selecting The Davenport Grand as this year’s host hotel was a no-brainer. Here’s why:
  1. The Davenport Grand is connected via Skybridge to the convention center where our daily conference activities will be held, and provides the easiest and closest access point to our assigned function space.
  2. There is only one other hotel connected to the convention center – and they don’t have enough sleeping rooms to accommodate the size of our group. 

So, why do we even need a convention center? Again, the size of this year’s event has just about doubled for each respective organization. Our daily attendance is expected to soar to 1,200 or more. This is large in the scale of association conferences – and very few facilities have enough function space to hold the number of general sessions, breakout sessions, meal functions and exhibit activities as we’ll need this year to accommodate our group.
While a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process was administered in multiple cities nationwide, this was by far the best location in terms of the total overall package: destination, things to do, connection to the outdoors, function space, sleeping accommodations, food/beverage and price.
Luckily, we stumbled upon a great deal in Spokane. Because the convention center is newly expanded and The Davenport Grand is a relatively new build, we found our perfect storm. They’re looking to draw new conference business to their location/make a name for themselves (translation: they were open to negotiation) and we were looking for the best possible experience for our attendees. We’d be hard-pressed to replicate this event under these conditions at a lower rate anywhere in the United States.
Speaking of rates, we know that in general the audience attending this conference is cost consciousness. We understand. We are too, believe it or not. There are lots of options when it comes to booking sleeping accommodations – in Spokane and elsewhere. As you know, these options range from booking vacation rentals through websites like airbnb and VRBO, as well as the availability of discount hotel stays through websites like Priceline and Orbitz – where rates can change from day to day (and, in some cases, hour to hour).
While we might normally encourage bargain shopping (or stowing a few extra guests in your hotel room), there’s one catch when it comes to conferences like this one: Hosting an event of this size costs money. Both the hotel and the convention center need to make money to keep their staffs employed and their lights on. And we need the space to host a sprawling event that necessitates more than 60,000 square feet of function space on our peak days (configurable into various smaller spaces to accommodate things like business meetings, education sessions, CareerHQ and socials/receptions).
The silver lining is that the size of our event does give us negotiating power. We have negotiated for you a discounted group rate at The Davenport Grand over our conference dates (i.e., $145 per room per night). All rooms have either one or two king beds, which is the real luxury. Maximum occupancy is listed as max of two people per king bed. So if you book a room with one king bed, that’s a max of two people ($72.50 per room per night). And if you book a room with two king beds, that’s a max of four people ($36.25 per room per night).

If you’re not familiar, hotel rates are incredibly variable and depend on things like history, demand, competition, seasonality, transient vs. group business, occupancy levels and more. And, of course, we do our best to negotiate beyond that to get as fair a room rate as possible given all of the available information.
In addition to fair room rates, we have an added incentive this year. If we fill our room block at The Davenport Grand, the hotel will pay our room rental charges at the convention center. Currently estimated at $40,000, these are charges AORE and AEE would otherwise be responsible for paying.
So, as you think about making housing accommodations for this year’s conference, here are 6 more reasons (in no particular order) for staying at The Davenport Grand:
  1. Greater informal networking opportunities will happen here (as this is where a majority of attendees are staying and frequenting). Never underestimate the power of bumping into a peer, mentor, vendor or future employer.
  2. The Davenport Grand is conveniently located within walking distance to not only the conference activities (they’re literally connected by a Skybridge), but also countless other things to do, see and eat downtown - it’s such a beautiful and walkable city.
  3. The hotel will provide transportation to/from the airport at a discounted rate of $25 plus tax one way per room. No need to worry about how you’ll cram all that gear into the back of an Uber.
  4. We know fitness is important to many attendees - and The Davenport Grand can help your fitness expedition with its proximity to the Centennial Trail, Riverfront Park and other local trails. Onsite bike rentals are also available, and include a helmet and lock. Additionally, the hotel offers an incredible onsite fitness room!
  5. You can get Starbucks right in the hotel lobby. So get up early and get your Double Ristretto Venti Half-Soy Nonfat Decaf Organic Chocolate Brownie Iced Vanilla Double-Shot Gingerbread Frappuccino Extra Hot With Foam Whipped Cream Upside Down Double Blended, One Sweet'N Low and One Nutrasweet, and Ice (yup, really, you can order that). 
  6. Finally, AORE and AEE will be penalized financially for not filling 1,653 room nights (a cost which far exceeds the estimated room rental charges outlined above). 
We’re doing our part to educate you as early as possible about the hotel and our expectations that you’ll stay there. During the conference registration process, we’ve even added the following statement requiring your review and approval before signup is complete.
  • I have read and understand the following expectation: 
  • Conference attendees are expected to book sleeping accommodations within the official group block at The Davenport Grand. For more information about why, please click here.

And if you need one last reason, booking within the group block is the right thing to do to support AORE and AEE, and to ensure the association’s respective annual events remain financially viable. We appreciate your understanding and partnership, and we look forward to seeing you in Spokane this fall. 
In the meantime:

Published: 03/01/19