Yes, even though it is non-stop there are times you must sleep during Dreamforce! If anything for your own sanity and to keep up with all the amazing things you’ll experience. Additionally you’ll want a place to drop off your swag, stash your clothes and take a shower. Honestly this is easily your biggest expense getting to Dreamforce (short of airfare depending on where you’re traveling from).
Here’s some tips on how to save on lodging during Dreamforce:
- Check for rates through your company travel program, if available. You can lock in rates now if they are acceptable to you.
- Alternatively, if you’re a member of a rewards program, look at your associated company’s offerings. You may be able to apply your points to your stay or consider staying somewhere to maximize points for status and future travel. I have come away from Dreamforce with enough points to cover vacation travel for my family before. Whatever you do, do the math. There are lots of tradeoffs to this approach.
- Utilize various websites such as Orbitz, Priceline, etc to find rates that may be acceptable.
- Wait until registration goes live. Dreamforce reserves rooms called a room block at various hotels in the area. With the room blocks, there are usually discounted rates available only through Dreamforce registration. Additionally, there can be additional perks such as free Wi-Fi access that you would otherwise be charged for. When registration goes live, there is a list of hotels, distance from Moscone, prices, and options available to choose from.
- Do you know anyone who lives in the area? Friends, family? Explore the option of asking to crash at their place.
- AirBnB and other similar options- typically I’d say go for it, many people do and have success. I will offer this note- there is a crackdown currently on the use of AirBnB where those who are offering spaces are being evicted as it is not allowed. AirBnB is working with the city to get approval, but buyer beware if you’re looking at an apartment that is not owned by the person providing the space especially. Rental agreements vary if they are allowed to sublet.
- Roommates! Even an expensive option can be more budget friendly with friends. Coworkers, user group friends, Success community friends- lots of options are out there to meet people to share space with. Check with the space to make sure you’re within their requirements (maximum # in room, etc). When you register, if you don’t have a roommate yet but open to the option, get a room with two beds as you may meet someone between registration and Dreamforce to share with!
- Rental agencies – there are many options to consider through a traditional rental agency. I know many small companies who have saved on costs by renting a house instead of everyone staying in a hotel. A company, a group of friends- doesn’t matter who. If staying with friends, be sure to agree up front on costs, payment, and determining who gets what sleeping place to avoid issues later.
- Youth Hostels – this is an extremely affordable option used by many visitors to San Francisco. There is one actually next to one of my favorite places to eat on Mason. Prices vary depending on choices but short of staying for free I’ve not heard of anywhere cheaper. It is a great solution if you need to save money and just want a place to stash your clothes, take a shower, and get some sleep.
Those are some tips to staying in San Francisco. There’s lots of things to consider while considering your options above as well. Some of those include:
- Distance from Moscone and Dreamforce Campus locations
- Transportation options (is it on a MUNI line? A Dreamforce shuttle line?)
- Your comfort level. Read up on locations in San Francisco- if you’re not a city person there may be some areas you will not feel comfortable in for various reasons.
- Are you planning to attend late night functions/parties/etc? This could impact your transportation options in some cases or you may not want to have an hour plus commute.
- Hotel benefits- free breakfast, free wifi, airport shuttles- all of these and more can make a difference in deciding where to stay,
- Hotel differences- shared bathrooms with other guests, twin size beds, small rooms- if it is cheap, there’s usually a reason. Not all hotels are the same of course so if you’re interested in one, research it or don’t be surprised you’re sharing a bathroom like you’re back in a dorm.
All told, if at all possible, I recommend staying somewhere near Moscone if your budget allows, at one of the official Dreamforce hotels as there will be shuttles available to get around at least to those locations. Within a short distance of Moscone there is usually the option of pedicabs as well. I’ll write up more about your transportation options but will share that staying at Hilton Union Square is my location of choice because 1- I’m a loyal HHonors member, 2- Dreamforce rates are decent, 3-it has been a campus location for the past few years 4-lots of options for local food/shopping 5-the best brunch ever at Urban Tavern. The hotel employees are great as well and the rooms are well appointed.
The one thing I do not suggest, is to expect to wing it and find a room at the last minute or when you get there. Also, sleeping at Moscone is not an option.
If you have any lodging tips, please comment and I’ll add them to the DUB Central page!