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CES Vendors Kicked Out of Hotels For Showcasing Wares in Room 285

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the sorry-we-changed-our-mind dept.
An anonymous reader writes to mention that a number of companies attempting to stretch their dollars by showing their new gear in hotel suites around Vegas during CES were kicked out of the rooms they paid for by CES organizers and hotel staff. According to sources as many as 30 small electronics companies may have been kicked out of The Venetian and The Palazzo on Thursday. One anonymous vendor claims they were coerced into paying $10,000 to the CEA lest they be kicked out of their (paid for) suite and barred from exhibiting or meeting with clients. 'States our source, "I asked the hotel staff if there were any limitations for using the suite. They said the only limitations were how many people were at our parties. They didn't say there were any limitations on displaying product. We set up our product on the first day. Then on Wednesday a cleaning person came in and reported what they saw to management. From there we got kicked out on Thursday."'
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CES Vendors Kicked Out of Hotels For Showcasing Wares in Room

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  • by suso (153703) *

    I mean I'm not a show vendor and I even know that doing such things is not ok with hotel management.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:37PM (#30726078) Journal

      I mean I'm not a show vendor and I even know that doing such things is not ok with hotel management.

      A lot of the vendors claim they had informal conversations with management who said it was okay:

      More importantly, the vendor's chief representative reports that they had contacted the hotel management before the show and asked if there were any limitations on showing product in the suites. The hotel management at The Venetian reportedly said there were not.

      But then someone at the hotel said:

      A security guard at The Venetian confirmed these reports further, saying he had been involved with "solving" a "lot of problems" at CES. When we inquired what these "problems" were, he stated, "The problems aren't with CES itself, but with people who didn't go through the proper channels to display the products and hold their business meetings."

      So there's your news, it's a he said/he said sort of thing at this point unless you can find the rules to CES that explicitly address this. You know, it could be spun one way saying that the hotel management knew it wasn't going to fly but wanted the moneys and so they lied and kicked them out only after they had the money in their pocket. Should have got it in writing if that was the case. The other way to spin it is that these guys did more than they asked was okay and that bothered management.

      I particularly enjoyed this statement:

      If the vendors can't pay, they can't pay. One smaller company was already kicked out we witnessed today, likely more have been or will be as well. Is this really good for CES, an industry flagbearer? And is it really good for the Las Vegas economy, so dependent on the show?

      It's pretty obvious to me that if you're paying a premium for showing your product at that show, you don't want 2 bit operations setting up in the hotel rooms above you trying to swindle your viewers up to their private quarters. You're there for those people to see your flashy setup. That's why you pay, isn't it? Management and CES could very well have been protecting the interests and quality of the show. Also, I don't think if CES moved it would hurt Vegas all that much. They have some other industries around there that do pretty well despite recessions or any sort of economic downturn.

      And even if it is, why wasn't the CEA and hotel management more clear about restrictions on exhibits and meetings in Las Vegas hotels this week?

      Agreed, brace yourself for a forty page contract written in legal speak to be signed next year before your exhibit and hotel room is inspected and okayed for entrance into the hotel and showroom floor.

      • by XPeter (1429763) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:47PM (#30726210) Homepage

        It's pretty obvious to me that if you're paying a premium for showing your product at that show, you don't want 2 bit operations setting up in the hotel rooms above you trying to swindle your viewers up to their private quarters. You're there for those people to see your flashy setup. That's why you pay, isn't it? Management and CES could very well have been protecting the interests and quality of the show. Also, I don't think if CES moved it would hurt Vegas all that much. They have some other industries around there that do pretty well despite recessions or any sort of economic downturn.

        You sir, are an idiot.

        The small companies (such as Zalman) that were evicted from the hotels, paid for the room in full without signing any unique agreements. Unless the parties violated the following conditions set forth by many hotels, then they had no right to be kicked out.

        Standards:

        * Disorderly conduct
        * Nonpayment
        * Using the premises for an unlawful purpose or act
        * Bringing property onto the premises that may be dangerous to others
        * Failing to register as a guest
        * Using FALSE PRETENSES to obtain accommodations
        * Being a minor unaccompanied by an adult registered guest
        * Violating federal, state, or local hotel laws or regulations
        * Violating a conspicuously posted hotel or motel rule
        * Failing to vacate a room at the agreed checkout time

        Vegas is STARVING, akin to what Dubai just endured...They need everything they can get. CEA handed the town a nice lump sum, and with that they became the new sheriff in town (obviously abusing their powers).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Unequivocal (155957)

          I agree, but remember this is Vegas. Normally to get kicked out of a hotel room, there is a "guests bill of right" which you list pretty effectively.

          But Vegas runs by Vegas' rules. I think the concept that a Vegas hotel will ask a business or person to leave the premises b/c a more important patron doesn't want them there is time honored. Regardless of whether the first party is a customer or not. In that sense I don't think this story is new information on the underlying problem, but it's still aggravating

        • Using the premises for an unlawful purpose or act

          My bet is that Las Vegas zoning code specifically restricts commercial activity from hotel rooms themselves. I've never looked at the Las Vegas zoning code, but I have looked at the codes in my area of the country -- and hotels are only allowed to have certain activities in certain areas of the hotel.

          Commercial activity in the rooms themselves is verboten in every code I've seen (about a dozen), although again, I've never looked at the Las Vegas zoning code

          • by mmeister (862972) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:32PM (#30726940)

            As I understand it, these were Suites. Suites as in designed to have guests, business guests.

            I know lots and LOTS of business folks that rent suites to conduct business in all the time. I know other trade shows do this all the time as well, it is part of the trade show mechanism. This is typical short term thinking. If the meetings in suites prove successful, those same companies will hopefully grow big enough to need a booth next year.

            Sorry, this looks like nothing more than a CES shakedown. I would definitely question the legality of CES being able to kick you out of a hotel suite for having business meetings. I could maybe understand it if you had a standard room, but if you got a suite, then IMHO, the hotel is completely in the wrong and caved to CES threatening them.

            Both parties should be taken to court.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BobMcD (601576)

            Except they asked and the hotel answered. This would make the hotel a party to the crime, and puts them on dubious ground in making an 'unlawfulness' claim.

            Also, if no money changes hands, there could be a grey area of what 'commercial activity' actually means. If all conduct of business is forbidden, then many of those rooms would be empty and they likely wouldn't have desks in them.

        • by alen (225700)

          almost every hotel room i've been in has a limit of people who can stay before they charge you extra. reason is they budgeted a portion of the money you pay for utilities like water and electricity. if you bring potential customers than they are losing money

        • You sir, are an idiot.

          Thank you, I value your constructive input. It's statements like this that really make my day.

          Vegas is STARVING

          Right. Yeah, I've heard this sort of thing before too [lasvegassun.com]. Just look at those data points from March:

          Commercial building permits — down 57 percent.

          Commercial building permit values — down 72 percent.

          Passengers at McCarran International Airport — down 14 percent.

          Gross gaming revenue — down 18 percent.

          Visitor volume — down 10.9 percent.

          Convention attendance — down 4.9 percent.

          Gallons of gasoline used — down 5.3 percent. That is an indicator of out-of-state visitors and transportation of goods.

          Never mind that with those adjustments their revenues are still well above average. See, when growth slows, people scream like Vegas is dying.

          Yet I was there in November and was a single one of the casinos closed? Nope. Oh well, they have to put off plans to demo the older ones ... why are they doing that? To

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by AndersOSU (873247)

            I'm sorry, how do you rectify this, "Gross gaming revenue — down 18 percent" with your statement that revenues are up? That's not a slow in growth, that's a decrease.

            That and Vegas has one of the most depressed real estate markets in the country.

        • by Gordonjcp (186804)

          Vegas is STARVING, akin to what Dubai just endured...
          ... but nothing compared to what Vegas is going to endure when no-one comes next year.

      • by Dahamma (304068) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:19PM (#30726676)

        It's pretty obvious to me that if you're paying a premium for showing your product at that show, you don't want 2 bit operations setting up in the hotel rooms above you trying to swindle your viewers up to their private quarters. You're there for those people to see your flashy setup. That's why you pay, isn't it? Management and CES could very well have been protecting the interests and quality of the show. Also, I don't think if CES moved it would hurt Vegas all that much.

        That's a pretty crazy exaggeration/analogy. You are practically comparing the 100's of small startup tech companies who rent suites at CES to hookers or swindlers. Nice.

        Further, your description is not very accurate. The Las Vegas Convention Center is not a hotel, so there is no "swindling viewers up to their private quarters" - in fact, the hotels that rent the largest number of suites to companies (Venetian, Bellagio, Wynn, etc) are no where near the convention center. Many of these companies have no presence at the convention, so how are they "swindling away" anyone? Many of the meetings/demos are private, have no interest/intention of showing their products in public yet, and have been set up between various parties well in advance, so it's not even taking away revenue from the CEA.

        In fact, much of the reason the companies schedule these meetings at CES not to "steal" from the CEA, but simply because that's when all of the executives, press, etc who they want to meet with are in one place at the same time. They save a lot of money and time not having to inefficiently fly everyone around the world for weeks holding one painful meeting at a time. I suppose that is now stealing from the airlines, though...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by shark72 (702619)

          "The Las Vegas Convention Center is not a hotel, so there is no "swindling viewers up to their private quarters" - in fact, the hotels that rent the largest number of suites to companies (Venetian, Bellagio, Wynn, etc) are no where near the convention center."

          The Wynn is reasonably close to the LVCC; that's why many companies have suites there.

          "Many of these companies have no presence at the convention, so how are they "swindling away" anyone? Many of the meetings/demos are private, have no interest/inte

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dahamma (304068)

            None of this should make any difference to an unrelated contract between a hotel and a vendor.

            In the end, you know what this is? Capitalism. If the CEA wants to keep vendors from fleeing to cheaper venues, do you know what they need to do? LOWER THEIR PRICES.

            Last I heard it was at least $40 per sq ft to rent floor space - that's $20,000 for just 500sq ft for 4 days. And that doesn't include the thousands more for any furniture, thousands for often crappy Internet access, overpaid labor to do any setup,

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by beh (4759) *

        I mean I'm not a show vendor and I even know that doing such things is not ok with hotel management.

        A lot of the vendors claim they had informal conversations with management who said it was okay:

        I think the mention of them claiming to have had informal conversations is not really relevant to it - if anyone renting a hotel room asks are there any limitations - is the person they're talking to expected to mind-read that you would like to turn it into a sales-stand? ...or should he, to be safe, simply respond:
        You must not destroy any fittings and furniture, you may not repaint the room, take out and/or put in new carpeting/flooring, ... You must not murder anyone in the room, rape anyone in th

      • by shark72 (702619)

        "Management and CES could very well have been protecting the interests and quality of the show."

        CES gets more money from you when you have a booth at the convention center. More and more companies -- BIG companies -- are abandoning booths and, instead, renting suites or ballrooms at the hotels. CES is watching their revenues evaporate, and is retaliating by punishing vendors.

        Note that this is largely happening to vendors who are turning suites into full-blown display showcases; basically, a booth in a sui

    • by iamhassi (659463) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:44PM (#30726152) Journal
      "I mean I'm not a show vendor and I even know that doing such things is not ok with hotel management."

      you didn't RTFA: "the vendor's chief representative reports that they had contacted the hotel management before the show and asked if there were any limitations on showing product in the suites. The hotel management at The Venetian reportedly said there were not.... "I asked the hotel staff if there were any limitations for using the suite. They said the only limitations were how many people were at our parties. ""

      I think the real lesson here is not to stay at The Venetian. If I want to get a hotel, then invite a few people over to view a new laptop, what business is that of CES? I know CES doesn't want to lose money, but really these small businesses are just moving out of the way for the big guys to get more booths. Intel isn't going to bring people back to a hotel room, and the more companies you have in Las Vegas that week the bigger CES will be, whether they're in their room or on the floor.
      • by iamhassi (659463) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:50PM (#30726256) Journal
        "Intel isn't going to bring people back to a hotel room, and the more companies you have in Las Vegas that week the bigger CES will be, whether they're in their room or on the floor."

        Also once these small time players become larger companies thanks to hotel rooms at CES, do you think they're going to want to associate themselves with the small time players peddling wares out of a hotel room? This is like selling TVs off the back of a truck, if you become successful eventually you'll want to get your own store, and eventually these companies will move out of their rooms and down to CES floor.

        If you don't do this, these smaller companies might band together and get one hotel for themselves that week and do their own thing. Sure 10 grand ain't much to a Vegas hotel, but you get several dozen 10 grands together and some of the smaller hotels might take notice.
        • Exactly. Mod parent up! This is similar to something Vegas should understand well: the pre-games for the World Series of Poker - people who don't have $10k to stake on the main event, play a satellite tournament in advance with a $1k stake, and if they win, they get their $10k stake for the big time..

      • by aaandre (526056) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:03PM (#30726466)

        What we see here is the overreaching arrogance of an organization blinded by the belief that they "own" something that can't be owned: others' right to share their products with an audience. Ironically, the show exists precisely because of all these big and little companies make an effort to show up, pay up, and display their products to an audience.

        Now, the middlemen suddenly believe that they own the process of doing so, and not just the real estate of the showfloor.

        It is crucial how the bullied companies react to this insanity. Ideally, big headlines revealing the evilness and stupidity of CES management, and appropriate lawsuits will provide CES with enough incentive to refrain from bullying their own (potential) clients in the future.

        I can see how scared CES may be of the possibility of a parallel tech expo which they can not monetize on. Wouldn't that be a great idea? Lower participation threshold, more indie companies, diversity, and the possibility of fun with fewer constipated uptight suits in the room.

        • While IANAL, it seems to me that the small vendors who were kicked out of the hotels have a claim against the hotels, not against CES. After all, it was hotel management who had them removed.

          So they can sue the hotels, who will then think twice next time about kicking out paying guests. At that point, CES can either
          -pay off the hotels so they will explicitly not allow the use of the suites as private showrooms
          -or do nothing, at which point the "parallel tech expo" can happen again.

          I guess this may take two

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        I think the real lesson here is not to stay at The Venetian.

        The real lesson is to get it in writing.
        If you can't have it in writing then, at a bare minimum,
        document who you talked to, when, and what was said.

        • by mmeister (862972)

          Most normal people will look give you a stupid look if you ask to have in writing that you can have a business meeting in the suite you rented for the week. While I could *maybe* understand it if you had a standard room (although even then), but you rented a suite. That would be a place that has separated the bedroom from a meeting place. That seems like standard operating procedure for businessmen on the road.

          No, the Venetian should get a big fat black eye for acting like thugs in what clearly looks to be

      • by sootman (158191)

        >> "I asked... They said..."

        > I think the real lesson here is not to stay at The Venetian.

        Since The Venitian is hardly the first, last, or only company that ever has fucked over/will fuck over a customer, an additional lesson is "If it's important, get it in writing." Who's to say the Bellagio or Mandalay Bay won't do this to someone else in the future?

      • by shark72 (702619)

        "I know CES doesn't want to lose money, but really these small businesses are just moving out of the way for the big guys to get more booths. Intel isn't going to bring people back to a hotel room, and the more companies you have in Las Vegas that week the bigger CES will be, whether they're in their room or on the floor."

        This is not completely accurate. Plenty of mid- to large-size companies are pulling out of the LVCC, too. It's getting harder and harder for the CEA to sell floor space. The spaces vacat

    • Well, it seems to depend on the market.

      I've done fetish shows and high end precious and semi-precious gemstone shows where I would estimate that at least 50% of the selling goes on before or after hours.

      Basically, any kind of product where;
      1) The retailer may not be comfortable with the products for fear of blackmail [Just because you are a high end jewelry and clothing boutique, doesn't mean you don't sell latex corsets and vac beds on weekends]
      2) Prices are based more on what the seller knows than what th

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Read the title again. It's WARES not WHORES.

  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XPeter (1429763) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:31PM (#30726004) Homepage

    To sum up TFA:

    1. CEA buys out Vegas for a week, attracting technology enthusiasts and large companions from across the globe.
    2. Said organization is holding the balls of local buisness so tight, that they must bend over to anything the CEA demands.
    (In this instance it was having The Venetian, The Palazzo kick out small/medium tech buisnesses who couldn't afford a CES floor spot onto the streets unless they paid the hefty fee of $10,000)
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

    Another evil coorperation fucking over the little guy, nothing to see here folks.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by spatley (191233) <spatley@yahoo.com> on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:36PM (#30727030) Homepage
      It is worth noting that the Venetian is also an official CES venue in their convention space so CEA is not just a big pull on the industry, but a big pull on the Venetian for some pretty hefty revenue. This does not take conspiracy theory, this is a corporate entity throwing a small client under the bus to make a gigantic client happy. Standard procedure in big business.
  • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:31PM (#30726008) Journal

    Vendors have been showing their products in hotel hospitality suites for decades. I've never been to any trade show yet where this wasn't the case. I don't know what the hell CES management is thinking if they consider this any kind of a problem.

    -jcr

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:38PM (#30726092)

      "I've never been to any trade show yet where this wasn't the case."

      Even companies that have floor space MOST have some sort of suite where the big guys can come in and play with the gear without having to deal with the riffraff.

      I'm headed out to a show in a few days in LA that I've been invited to a few...last time I was out there, I thought I was meeting up with the pres of an overseas company to see his products, and it ended up being a suite full of scantily dressed hookers and coke. Only speaking broken Japanese, I apologized to the gentleman as I figured I had the wrong room.

      I quickly got the hell out of there...my buddy, however, decided to stick around for a while...turns out it WAS the guy were were supposed to meet!

      They had one of the biggest sq ft on the floor, bit there was OBVIOUSLY a reason he needed to have his suite private...kinda wish I had stuck around!

    • by Kemanorel (127835) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:48PM (#30726234)

      Having stayed at the Venetian the week before CES two years ago, I can say without a doubt that it is usually standard practice to hold meetings in hotel rooms. I had been upgraded to a suite there and the night before I was to check out, hotel staff were removing beds (mattresses and frames) from every room in the same wing and floor I was staying on. I can only imagine that they were going to take the bed from the room I was in as soon as I checked out.

      When I used to attend CES in the late 90's through 2002, I was well aware of business meetings as well as parties being held in hotel rooms at most of the nearby hotels. I never received an invite, but the Kentia hall vendors would often have a sign saying, "Come see our presentation in room blah of the [Hilton, Venetian, Sands, etc...]."

      I'm thinking this is just CES management shaking down unregistered vendors that are trying to piggyback on the show without paying a share. I could be wrong though.

      • by jcr (53032) <[jcr] [at] [mac.com]> on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:03PM (#30726456) Journal

        Having stayed at the Venetian the week before CES two years ago, I can say without a doubt that it is usually standard practice to hold meetings in hotel rooms.

        It's the same for NAB. Last time I attended, I had at least four meetings with vendors in hotel rooms where they had demo systems set up for products they weren't ready to announce and were only showing under NDA terms.

        -jcr

        • by mpapet (761907) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:49PM (#30727312) Homepage

          This has been common business practice for a really long time at most trade shows I went to in Vegas in the 90's.

          The trade show producer doesn't offer a way for smaller companies to get into most shows. Even if they did, a good idea would be knocked off in months in most cases.

          Smaller vendors don't have the budget for a booth and meet their customers anyway they can. It's hard to blame them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Unequivocal (155957)

        These vendors are probably registered at CES as customers rather than getting a booth. They probably have staff wandering around on the floor picking up clients and taking them back to their hotel room. Kind of like high-tech hookers, I guess.

        CES doesn't like customers stealing other customers - they want those customers on the floor looking at the booths that bigger vendors paid big dollars for.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mmeister (862972)

          Obviously you've never attended a trade show.

          There is nothing that says that Vendors have to register as vendors.

          These guys are not coming up to random people saying "hey, you wanna see something cool.. just follow me." No, they may arrange a meeting at a later time, but usually with press folks they already have a relationship with and with potential business partners.

          CES doesn't have a lock on what you can do on the floor as a customer. You don't sign a contract saying you will only do business with vendo

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)
            For a concrete example, look at AMD. Every year at IDF, they book a suite and hold some kind of press event for all of the journalists who are covering Intel's show. The entire point of it is to steal some of the publicity from the show's organiser (Intel). If Intel could get AMD kicked out of their hotel, I bet that they would absolutely love to...
    • by wramsdel (463149) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:53PM (#30726280)

      Seconded. I've been to CES a number of times with a wireless startup, and we've always been in suites in the hotels. There's no way they don't know exactly what's going on when they see us roll up in a loaded minivan with boxes that say "Dell" all over them. We chose suites for two reasons: the obvious expense aspect, and there is no way we'd try to demo on the show floor...the RF environment is just too congested. It's also a much nicer way to engage a customer, and gives them a break from the insanity of the floor. I can't imagine that the use of suites will ever go away...CEA will just find a way to drive the cost up.

      • by mrisaacs (59875) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:18PM (#30726662)

        Ok let's get it straight.

        CES allows or at least turns a blind eye to vendors who have rented space on the floor and also show products in their suites, or there might be restrictions on when the suites are used, etc.

        The hotel staff who told the vendors who did not have floor space, that here were no restrictions probably did not know the hotels had a contractual agreement with CES, specifically not to allow suites to be used by vendors who did not have floor space.

        There's a simple reason for this. CES spends a lot of money to rent facilities, guarantee occupancy and advertise the event. Some portion of the fee$ paid by the vendors who rent floor space goes to this.

        The vendors who don't rent floor space are capitalizing on the attendees, who are their because of the efforts of CES and those vendors who rented floor space. Before anyone makes the analogy - this is NOT akin to filesharing or the alledged piracy of music or video. This is more akin to pirating someones' signal and replacing their content with your own.

        The suite only vendors are not only not paying CES for their services, they are reducing the amount of face time for the vendors who are paying for those services. If they make a sale - it really is potentially at the cost of someone else who paid to show at the conference.

        The agreements with the hotels are CES' insurance that attendees only view the wares of those who have paid to be at the conference, for the duration of the conference. It costs them money (or occupancy guarantees/penalties) to get those agreements..

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by wramsdel (463149)

          Everything you've said is true. You've also made largely ethical arguments, and ethics in business is dead. Yes, the parasites in the suites are costing the big guys money and face time. The big guys are also doing everything within their power to put the little guys at a competitive disadvantage. That's how business is done. That's not a justification, it's not an excuse, it's a statement of fact. The companies exhibiting in suites are, at worst, in breach of contract with the hotel, and it's quite l

        • by tonyreadsnews (1134939) on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:11PM (#30727750)

          The hotel staff who told the vendors who did not have floor space, that here were no restrictions probably did not know the hotels had a contractual agreement with CES, specifically not to allow suites to be used by vendors who did not have floor space.

          this should have been in any terms agreed to for renting the room, and would need to be done ahead of time. What if someone was showing product in their room that had nothing to do with CES? Also CES should have described this as a condition for attending the show (likely the vendors at least had tickets to go in so they could corral people back to their room).

          This is more akin to pirating someones' signal and replacing their content with your own.

          Not really, the 'other signal' was still there, its just the 'listener' now has more choice. I would liken it more to passing out CD's to people at a concert and/or near a concert for similar (but original) music.

          In these cases, nothing the vendors did was illegal (nor CEA), the hotels had to breach their contracts (CEA contract and contract to rent the room to the vendor) and choose to breach the one that had less money at stake.

          next year the vendors should hang the Do Not Disturb sign. Not that I'd want anyone I wasn't watching in the room with prototypes and potential business secrets in their anyways.

        • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:14PM (#30727804) Homepage Journal

          >>The vendors who don't rent floor space are capitalizing on the attendees, who are their because of the efforts of CES and those vendors who rented floor space. Before anyone makes the analogy - this is NOT akin to filesharing or the alledged piracy of music or video. This is more akin to pirating someones' signal and replacing their content with your own.

          That's a horrible analogy, even for Slashdot.

          Everything these guys were doing complied with the law, and the pre-stated hotel policies (and longstanding tradition - NDA-only products are usually ONLY shown in hotel rooms).

          Or as Shakespeare would say, Who am I to CES, or CES to me? Fucking cry me a river that they are capitalizing on an event. Are you going to complain that restaurants in the area are having increased sales as well?

    • Vendors have been showing their products in hotel hospitality suites for decades. I've never been to any trade show yet where this wasn't the case.

      Yes, but those same vendors also have a space on the exhibition floor for which they have paid the aforementioned $10,000 fee to the conference promoters. If they want to have a fancy suite(s) for VIP guests and "high-roller" types to demo gear and network in a more private setting (away from the riffraff on the convention floor) in addition to the floor space; nobody minds. The problem here is that some vendors who have NOT paid for floor space were attempting to hustle people into their hotel suites inste

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dravik (699631)
        A vendor who rents a suite is paying for floor space. It just happens to be floor space in the suite. Could you explore this free-riding concept a little bit more. If I put a gas station across the street from a wal-mart, does that mean I owe wal-mart money for free-riding on their traffic volume? If a vendor rents a suite in the hotel next to CES are they still free riding? How about a block away? A mile? I can understand that the event organizer is upset, and they may have an exclusivity deal with
  • I would love to make a "Bob's Country Bunker" reference, but it would only make sense if you go to the Philly Folk Fest.

  • It's like (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MikeyinVA (1450809)
    Wi-fi and tables are available at the bookstore but they don't expect you to run your business, host clients, create displays on the tables (seen this done before!). CES and Vegas in general benefit from having a formal process and presenteres paying a fee and going through a process. Of course the hotel (and Vegas and CES) wouldn't want this.
    • by tftp (111690)

      Wi-fi and tables are available at the bookstore but they don't expect you to run your business, host clients, create displays on the tables

      A book store is not renting the premises or the table to you, but a hotel does. You don't pay for walking into a book store, but you need to pay for every day of hotel room's use.

  • by alen (225700) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:34PM (#30726038)

    AVN holds the porn convention at the same time in vegas. do they have the same rules about not working in your rooms? maybe the demo was a rogue AVN guest and not CES?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Probably scared the crap out of the DRM mafia.

  • Tightening up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling (1487879) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:36PM (#30726052)
    I guess they really want to tighten up their grasp at other companies money.

    I've always heard about these types of 'parties' from all the shows, especially CES and EEE.
    Even Microsoft and Sony (among many others) do these for some stuff.
    The smaller vendors have utterly relied on being able to do this.
    Having a small booth in a 'busy' place like that can make it really hard to do a presentation of your product, not to mention restricting access when you want to keep it limited.
    Seems a bit odd (or greedy) for them to start cracking down on it now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I guess they really want to tighten up their grasp at other companies money.

      The more they do that, the more star systems will slip through their fingers.

  • Pretty disgusting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HEbGb (6544) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:36PM (#30726058)

    The CEA can institute whatever rules it wants on its own show property, but it has no business or right to interfere with anything (ahem) going on in local Las Vegas hotel rooms.

    Similarly, unless the hotel informed them of some restriction, and as long as they abided by all of their usual rules, they have no basis for throwing them out, at all. I hope these companies fight this. At the very least, there's remedy in small-claims action. And obviously they should dispute any credit card charges from the hotel.

    They're probably desperate from the declining numbers, and revenue, and are in financial trouble.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Derekloffin (741455)
      And, as usual, CEA doesn't realize this will not help them in the long run. All they do with this guy of BS is irritate the very companies they want to court, making them that much more prone to saying 'F it' and either skipping the event entirely, or using completely separate events to hock their wares.
  • Lawsuit, anyone (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mtrachtenberg (67780) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:41PM (#30726130) Homepage

    Monopolistic practices. Interference with trade. Lost and unrecoverable revenue opportunities. General fuckedupness.

  • by khallow (566160) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:42PM (#30726140)
    CEA probably could have saved a lot of grief by warning these vendors ahead of time that it was going to do this sort of thing. Sure a number of the vendors would have worked around the rules, but that'll happen next year despite the crackdown. The vendors will just be a bit more clever.

    Further, this just reeks of bad communication and incompetent handling by CEA and the respective hotels. If I were involved with the decision, I'd be worried about breech of contract suits from the affected vendor firms. Just from my extremely crude reading of the article, this doesn't sound like CEA or some of the hotels did due diligence in upholding their side of the exhibition contracts.

    Finally, these sorts of antics show up when an organization is tight on money and starts ignoring long term costs and harm. One wonders if the CEA will go bankrupt in a few years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by GooberToo (74388)

      The vendors will just be a bit more clever.

      Like refusing maid service. Its not that hard to place a "Do not disturb" sign on the door.

    • CEA probably could have saved a lot of grief by warning these vendors ahead of time that it was going to do this sort of thing.

      Or, even better, don't be such control freaks. If the *hotel* doesn't care, why should CEA? It's like those homeowner association horror stories you hear about.

      If they need a more expansive view, someone should tell them in a bad economy that allowing the small businesses some slack is a good thing because that's where the job growth is going to happen.

  • by fantomas (94850) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:47PM (#30726204)

    ... no competition is allowed ;-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aicrules (819392)
      On private property, he who owns the private property has sole discretion over what can and cannot be done on that property within the realms of legal activities. Obviously illegal activities are not allowed with or without the owner's discretion.
      • by tsstahl (812393)
        Can I give you permission to do something on my property, collect a fee, and then kick you out with no notice or recompense? Some might construe such actions as fraud.
  • by vlm (69642) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:50PM (#30726252)

    I had to read this at least three times to figure out they meant "wares" not "warez".

    I was thinking, video game modchips and rom images, or torrented movies playing in the hospitality suite?

  • by PatMcGee (710105) on Monday January 11, 2010 @02:57PM (#30726366)
    I've seen this happen with Siggraph. The contract that Siggraph had with the hotels said that no vendor suites would be allowed for display of products or meetings with actual or prospective customers without explicit written permission from Siggraph management. All vendor suites had to be booked through Siggraph.

    In, I think 1994, several vendors had such suites and publicized them at the exhibition. Siggraph management charged the hotel the standard suite fee for each of those vendor suites. Collected it too. I don't know if the hotels managed to get it back from the vendors or not.
  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:01PM (#30726432) Homepage

    We are proud to announce that we will be holding a similar event in Lost Springs, WY and that there will be absolutely no restriction on what participants may do. Also, the fees we are going to charge will be ridiculously low compared to what it costs in Vegas.

    Stay tuned for updates.

    You can look here for directions :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Springs,_Wyoming [wikipedia.org]

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Lost+Springs&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=32.252269,72.158203&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Lost+Springs,+Converse,+Wyoming&ll=42.863886,-105.314941&spn=0.93208,2.254944&z=9 [google.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      You'll have hundreds of hipsters show up just for the kitsch value. When thousands show up the 2nd year, the hipsters will stop coming and claim your convention has sold out and become too mainstream. "It used to be cool, but now every common Windows user and his brother are there," said a man identifying himself only as 'Slade.' "This year I'll be showing off my tattoos, nose-rings, and Apple laptop somewhere else--somewhere where it's still ironic to have a trade show."
  • by castironpigeon (1056188) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:04PM (#30726486)
    I'm guessing they got more for turning the guests in than they would have for cleaning the rooms for a couple of days.
  • The idea that... (Score:3, Informative)

    by DavidTC (10147) <`moc.xobreven' ` ... .vidavsxd54sals'> on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:39PM (#30727076) Homepage

    ...CES 'kicked people out of hotel suites' is patently delusional. The hotels kicked them out. Random people cannot kick people out of hotel rooms.

    Whether or not the hotels can do that is a separate point. You cannot just randomly kick people out of their rooms for no reason.

    While a lot of you are talking about 'changing agreements' after the fact, I'm not entirely certain hotels could actually dictate the purposes for which you could use a hotel room even with a contract in advance.

    Everyone assuming this is a simple matter of contract law needs to look up 'innkeeper statutes'...people who operate hotels cannot just randomly make whatever rules and regulations they want about residents, even in advance.

    If I walk up to a hotdog vender, and want to buy a hotdog and have the money, and he doesn't like my hat, he doesn't have to sell me a hotdog. Normal businesses can refuse service to anyone except for specific reasons.

    If I want up to a hotel, however, and have the money, they do have to give me a room if they have one, unless they think I'm going to use it for some unlawful purposes. Hotels are not like other businesses, they're not even like apartments...they are considered public accommodations, and the reasons you can refuse service are only the reasons specifically outlined in law.(1)

    There are a lot of other regulations about what 'innkeepers' can, and cannot, do. For example, in most places, they can't actually disallow non-renters from visiting a renter who authorizes them. Your parties have to obey fire code, and cannot be disruptive, but that's it.

    I know a lot of people assume 'Companies can do anything as long as they say it advance', but 'innkeeping' is actually heavily regulated.

    Casinos in Vegas have, for exactly this reason, a clearly defined area that is 'the hotel' (Where innkeeping laws hold sway), vs. 'the casino' (Where gambling laws hold), vs. the rentable floor areas (Which are just like renting a warehouse or something) vs. the rest of the building (Which falls more under the 'mall' part of the law, being open to the public.)

    Oh, and some people may be unaware...The Venetian and The Palazzo are the same building. They are two hotels next to each other, with one casino in the middle of them, and one (huge multi-story) exhibit area behind the casino, along with a bunch of other stuff back there like the Blue Man Group theater. (I stayed at the Venetian once.)

    1) Someone's about to say 'Hey, didn't hotels used bar unmarried couples from staying, and to have 'house detectives who attempted to make sure that people weren't using hotels for affairs?'. Yes, and having sex outside of marriage used to be illegal, making that being 'using a hotel room for unlawful purposes', until the Supreme Court struck those laws down, and hotels had to stop.

    • That was my first thought.

      My second thought was, if they can't afford $10,000 for CES, they certainly can't afford the $10,000 a lawyer would require to convince a court that whatever contract CES has with the Venetian/Palazzo is illegal due to violations of innkeeping laws.

      And we continue, business as usual... The little guys will have trouble even getting a refund.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Dravik (699631)

        My second thought was, if they can't afford $10,000 for CES, they certainly can't afford the $10,000 a lawyer would require to convince a court that whatever contract CES has with the Venetian/Palazzo is illegal due to violations of innkeeping laws.

        Is this where Las Vegas Country lawyer appears in a cloud of smoke?

  • Contracts anyone? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wardish (699865) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:47PM (#30727252) Journal

    Since I am not a lawyer, take all this with a block of salt.

    It's all about the room contract. I assume the room contracts were between the small companies and the hotel. If so a review of the contract is in order.

    It's possible that CEA had a contract with the hotel, but unless the hotel rewrote the contracts the small companies signed it's still a moot point.

    It's also possible that CEA bought blocks of rooms (not reserved, purchased) and sold them directly to the small companies. If so the contracts between CEA and the small companies are probably in force. A good reading is still in order as it's hard to tell if there's anything in there about it.

    If the contracts don't go your way then you might consider getting into he said / he said with hotel staff. And get out your wallet.

    • Re:Contracts anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

      by adnoid (22293) on Monday January 11, 2010 @05:14PM (#30728828)

      I just got back from CES last night, and this happened to a vendor I had an appointment with.

      We were on the 30th floor of the Venetian. The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association, the entity that puts on CES) arranges to take complete floors for things that make noise - they had the 29th, the 30th and the 32nd along with parts of the 34th and 35th and probably others. We make noise, we're selling high end home/corporate theater sound systems and the demos exceed 100 dB at certain points, so combined with the traffic there's no way any regular guest would be happy there. Each room gets a sign to tell other attendees who is there, the doors are generally left wide open and music (and bodies) permeate the hallways all day.

      As a point of reference the room cost, paid to the CEA directly, is about $20K for about a week (including setup before the show and teardown afterward), and there are lots of other costs as well. The cost is a serious barrier to entry for smaller firms.

      On Friday we were visited by a vendor offering a product that we use and need. I wanted to learn more, and they told me they were just upstairs on the 31st floor, gave me a card with their suite number, and we arranged to get together Saturday morning after a meeting I already had scheduled. I sent them a text message Saturday morning and didn't hear back until their salesman was back in our suite with an explanation.

      It turns out that they had managed to book a room on that floor just above other CES exhibitors, had 16 cases of equipment brought up by the hotel staff, and had been bringing people in since the show opened. As they were in the hotel along with the other exhibitors I thought nothing of it and assumed they were just another exhibitor - but it turns our they had not gone through the CEA. Hotel security - and the local Sheriff according to them - took their stuff and them from the room & put them on the curb at 10:00 PM Friday night.

      Now in this case they did confess to me that they pulled out the agreement that they signed when they checked in, and that agreement said they would not be making loud noises or conducting business - and they felt that since their products are still in the development stage they didn't count. They were told they had been discovered because they were doing music demonstrations in the room during show hours and people could hear it through the (closed) doors. Since they were not on a floor the CEA had taken 100% of for sound demos it was disturbing other guests and that's how they were discovered.

      They ended up in another hotel, where I met them Sunday. I'll be curious to see if they were offered the chance to pay $10K to stay, which is about what a room the size of the one they had would have cost if they booked it properly although they would not have been in the program or on the signs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tftp (111690)

      I assume the room contracts were between the small companies and the hotel.

      I also thought so, being not a L. However someone above already corrected both of us. The hotel industry is regulated by the innkeeper statute. I remember seeing it posted in hotel rooms. This means that state laws control the hotel industry, and individual hotels have little say in what is and what isn't allowed. As the comment above points out, a guest is free to do pretty much anything that is legal.

      It's possible that CEA had

  • by t0qer (230538) on Monday January 11, 2010 @03:48PM (#30727278) Homepage Journal
    I sort of remember at the end of the 90's comdex was grabbing for straws and overstepping its power much the way CES is now. From Wikipedia;

    Following COMDEX Fall 1999 (in Las Vegas), organizers made major changes to their criteria for admission of media, rejecting nearly all but those who were on editorial assignment from a handful of "acknowledged" trade papers. Though offered regular "public" attendance, this left hundreds of regular, long-standing press attendees from magazines and newspapers around the world with bad feelings toward the show. As press credentials were necessary to gain the level of access necessary to make the expensive trip worthwhile, most refused to go and many told vendors that they would disregard product announcements made at or in relation to COMDEX.

    History repeating?

  • by Xacid (560407) on Monday January 11, 2010 @04:15PM (#30727810) Journal

    Is anyone REALLY surprised? This is the place that embraces the exploitation of others. If you don't want to get shaken down then don't go to Vegas. I sure as hell don't.

  • by mbstone (457308) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:23PM (#30729952)

    I have stayed at the Venetian/Palazzo many times. When you check in, there is a four page agreement that appears on a little LCD screen that you have to sign. It specifically says you agree not to display merchandise or conduct business in your suite.

    So this entire thread is in the category of Whining.

  • by Fencepost (107992) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:37PM (#30730134) Journal
    If nothing else, the companies that booked directly with the hotels and were not getting CES/CEA special rates should be able to initiate chargebacks (because odds are high it was all paid for on someone's credit card). They contracted for a service, that service was aggressively not delivered.

    The drawback to this is the possibility of not being able to book into the same hotel in the future, at least not under the same name. Similarly, if the hotels share information (any legal issues with that?) possibly being effectively blacklisted from that whole area of Vegas.

    If you want to get lawyers involved, there may be other claims as others have pointed out, but that probably gets more risky and potentially expensive.
  • by Uzik2 (679490) on Monday January 11, 2010 @08:49PM (#30731582)
    Should be easily dealt with in court.

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