One of Nippon 2007's main hotels -- adjacent to the Pacifico Yokohama Convention Center -- is the
Intercontinental Grand Yokohama. The longest possible stay you can book through the convention's official travel agency is an arrival on Tuesday, August 28, departing Tuesday, September 4. The rate from the official agency is JPY 15,500 per person double occupancy, a rate that is said to include all taxes and fees. The agency also insists on advance payment of the entire stay in advance. They charged me JPY 217,000 (USD 1,850).
Intercontinental is the chain that includes Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, and while I was checking my points balance in their program, I decided to check what the availability for that hotel was through their web site. Imagine my surprise when I found that you can book rooms for two adults during the convention dates for rates of JPY 18,000-28,000 total (not per person). the JPY 28K rate is Friday night only; all the others are JPY 18K. Net of taxes and fees, the cost is JPY 156,400 (About USD 1,335). That's for "1 Queen bed, Superior Park View," 2 adults, 7 nights. And while it's still expensive, it's $500 less than the official convention rate, and somewhat closer to the rate I was actually expecting to pay. Moreover, this is not an advance-purchase rate; you pay when you get there, like I'm used to doing.
I booked a reservation through the IC Hotels site, and canceled my original reservation through the booking agency. I hope the agency doesn't take forever to issue my refund. (They claim I will get 100% refund as I canceled more than 13 days before the stay.)
I advised their North American agent of this. She and I are both former Worldcon chairs. We both understand the importance of a convention making its room block. However, this $500 difference in rate is just wrong. Nippon 2007 is aware of it, and is trying to persuade the agency to see reason. Any sensible person will book a cheaper rate if it's easily available.
Now there are numerous rate bands available -- go look at the hotel's web site to see them -- some of which are more expensive than the one I booked. Some of them are about what the agency is charging, and some are more, particularly if they have Bay views. As I don't expect to be spending a lot of time in my room other than when I'm sleeping in it, the view isn't that much of a consideration, but I did want to be in the main hotel.