Making Your Way to Philadelphia? Some Useful Reminders
Sharon K. Tune, October 2005
Editor’s Note: The following article is abridged from the longer essay that appeared in the September 2005 Perspectives.
The 120th annual meeting of the American Historical Association will be held January 5–8, 2006, in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Marriott, Loews Philadelphia, and Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown hotels. Download the Hotel reservation information and meeting preregistration forms (these forms will also be included in the annual meeting Program, which will be mailed to members in mid-October). Members are, in fact encouraged to use the web site links and forms to preregister and to make accommodation arrangements.
Blocks of rooms have been reserved at several downtown Philadelphia hotels, including the Marriott, Loews, Courtyard, Doubletree Philadelphia, Hilton Garden Inn, Wyndham Franklin Plaza, Hampton Inn, and Holiday Inn Express. All the hotels are within walking distance of each other.
Special meeting rates are in effect three days before and after the meeting dates (that is, from January 2 to January 11) but will be available for only a limited number of rooms at each property.
Hotel reservations must be made exclusively with ITS, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau’s housing vendor (who is based in Deerfield, Illinois). Requests for reservations will be accepted by ITS via the Internet (clicking on the ITS link will take the user to ITS’s online services for the AHA meeting, as the AHA itself cannot process reservations), the call center, fax, or mail (only if accompanied by a check deposit) through 5:00 p.m. CST, December 14, 2005.
ITS’s call center (toll-free, 800-650-6835) will accept reservations from the United States and Canada during the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday. International callers may call 847-282-2515 to make reservations during normal business hours. Phone reservations are limited to five per call—requests for more than five must be submitted in writing.
Faxes from the U.S. and Canada may be sent 24 hours a day, seven days a week to 800-521-6017, but will be processed during business hours. International attendees may fax to 847-940-2386.
Reservation requests can be sent by mail only if payments are made by check, and should be sent to AHA Housing Bureau, P.O. Box 825, Deerfield, IL 60015-0825. The checks should be made payable to AHA Housing Bureau, in U.S. funds, drawn on a U.S. bank.
Confirmation: A confirmation message will be sent by the housing bureau for all new reservations, modifications, and cancellations. Please note that the individual hotels will not send out a separate confirmation.
Deposit: A deposit is required for all reservations. Deposits can be paid by credit card or by check payment. If payment is to be by check, a check made payable to AHA Housing Bureau, in U.S. dollars and drawn on a U.S. bank, must accompany the housing request form. If payment is to be by credit card, the card will be billed immediately. ITS accepts American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Diner’s Club, and Discover cards. The bureau does not accept money orders, wire transfers, or invoices for room deposits.
Cutoff Date: The cutoff date for the AHA’s official block is 5:00 p.m. CST, December 14, 2005. After this date, remaining inventory in the block will be released and rooms will be available on a space-available basis.
Changes, Cancellations, and Refunds: Meeting attendees can continue to make and modify (depending on availability) or cancel reservations from September 6 through December 14, 2005, 5:00 p.m. CST through ITS by telephone, fax, in writing, or through e-mail. Attendees will not be penalized for any cancellation made on or before December 14.
Cancellations processed prior to the cutoff date will be refunded the same method of payment by which the attendee originally paid the deposit.
Beginning December 19, attendees who wish to cancel must contact the hotel directly. Reservations canceled after December 14 but prior to 72 hours of arrival will be subject to an $18 processing fee.
Reservations canceled within 72 hours of arrival date are subject to forfeiture of the entire amount of the deposit.
Special Arrangements: Attendees requiring special physical arrangements should indicate their needs to the housing bureau when making reservations (see the related article).
Association Travel Concepts (ATC) is the official travel agency for the annual meeting. ATC has negotiated discounts with United Airlines, US Airways, American Airlines, Amtrak, Avis Rent A Car, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to bring attendees special air, rail, and car rental rates that are lower than those available to the public. Bookings may be made online at the AHA Travel Center web site—just follow the member travel links. Individuals can also fax requests to 858-362-3153 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. ATC staff are available for reservations from 9:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
Train fares: Amtrak offers a 10 percent discount off the lowest available fare to/from Philadelphia. Discount fares are available December 30, 2005 through January 14, 2006. To book space, call your travel agent or Amtrak at 800-872-1477 and refer to fare order number X92H-947 when making the booking. Fares cannot be booked via the Internet.
Car rental: Attendees can also arrange to rent a car through Avis (ID number J952801; 800-331-1600) or Enterprise (ID number 32H7476; 800-593-0505), with discounted rates effective January 2 through January 11, 2006.
Arriving by air: The Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), located seven miles from downtown, serves the Philadelphia area. Incoming visitors can reach hotels via taxi ($25 flat rate to center city Philadelphia; 20 minute trip) and van shuttle service ($8 one way; up to one hour travel time). In addition, Southeastern Pennsylvania Trans-portation Authority’s (SEPTA) R1 Airport Line offers one of the best airport-downtown links in the country. The commuter train line provides fast, convenient, and economical service to and from the five airport terminals. The R1 Airport Line costs $5.50 for one-way fare downtown. The trip takes about 20 minutes, with trains departing every half hour from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. Stops within the central Philadelphia area are at four locations: University City Station (Convention Avenue at South Street) is located near the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; 30th Street Station (30th and Market Streets) is located directly in the Amtrak station; Suburban Station (16th and Market Streets) is located in the heart of the central Philadelphia business and shopping districts; and Market East Station (10th and Market Streets) is located in the Gallery Shopping Mall with direct entrance to the Philadelphia Marriott.
Arriving by rail: The Amtrak’s 30th Street Station is located at 30th and Market Streets, a 10-minute taxi ride ($6) from the hotel. Riders can also travel on SEPTA, alighting at the Market East Station for the Marriott. The special fare for travel between 30th Street, Suburban, and Market East Stations is only sold as a round-trip fare for $3.50. In addition, Amtrak tickets are accepted as fare for travel between these three stations.
Advance Registration: Intending participants are urged to preregister at the reduced rates for preregistrants. The AHA also offers special preregistration rates (which will not be available on site) of $50 for high school teachers and $100 for undergraduate teachers leading groups of up to five students. Advance registration must be received by Wednesday, January 4, 2006.
Please note that preregistration for the 2006 meeting will be handled by an outside processing service; if registering by mail, please send the preregistration form to the appropriate address (not the AHA).
Registration at the Meeting: The registration desks at the annual meeting, located in the Marriott’s Liberty Ballroom, will be open from noon to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 5, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 6, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 7.
Admission to all sessions, exhibits, Job Register, Messaging Center, and the Internet Center requires a registration badge.
Refund Policy: Advance registrants who are unable to attend the meeting may request a refund of their registration fee in writing. Requests should be postmarked by December 23, 2005, and should include a copy of the preregistration form that was submitted. Proof of payment—copies of front and back of cancelled check or copy of credit card statement—may also be required. All refunds are subject to a $10 processing fee. No refunds will be issued for requests postmarked after December 23, 2005.
- The Local Arrangements Committee and Press Room will be located in the Marriott’s Room 501
- The AHA Headquarters and Staff Office will be located in the Marriott’s Registration 1 (on Level 5)
- The Job Register will be located in the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom Salon H
- The Exhibit Hall will occupy the Marriott’s Franklin Hall
- AHA meeting registration desks and meal ticket cashiers will be in the Marriott’s Liberty Ballroom
- The Messaging and Internet Centers will be located in the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom Salon E.
—Sharon K. Tune is the AHA Convention Director.