CIAA Partners with Charlotte Hotels and Officials to Bring Fans Courtside to 2016 Tournament Action

What’s second-best to being where all the exciting action is taking place during the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (CIAA) Men’s and Women’s Basketball tournament? Lodging within a short walk, Lynx rail stop, or quick Uber drive from where its official events are being held.

 This experience is possible through the CIAA’s partnership with ConferenceDirect, a program that provides individual incentives for fans who book through them. Overall rates for more than 25 hotel brands located within the CIAA’s housing block have been negotiated, in efforts to offer a lower price for tournament fans and member institutions than in prior years.

 “The CIAA’s continued focus is to provide our student-athletes, alumni and fans with the best tournament experience possible, and each year we make improvements to those processes and programs to ensure just that,” states Jacqie McWilliams, CIAA Commissioner. “Creating a partnership with ConferenceDirect to provide a housing program allowing discounted room rates for tournament week, is a solution to the concerns alumni and fans expressed; and it provides CIAA with control of our event by being able to manage who is coming into town and booking rooms during tournament week. We want to provide the best rooms to our alumni for the best experience at the best price.”

 Reservations can be made online at www.ciaatournament.org/hotelsor via phone at (844) 293-6678. The primary deadline to book your hotel room at the discounted rate through ConferenceDirect is today, Thursday, February 4 at 11:59 p.m. Select hotels have extended their cut off date to Thursday, February 11, so CIAA alumni and fans still have time to book their rooms within the CIAA hotel housing block.

 The tournament will also maintain communication with the Ritz Carlton Hotel to ensure the best experience is provided for upper echelon guests affiliated with the CIAA who elect to lodge there, including celebrity talent. During the 2015 CIAA Tournament, the Ritz Carlton was investigated by the NC Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division for applying an undisclosed surcharge fee to customers who patronized its Lobby Lounge. Since the investigation, the hotel has refunded those who were impacted by the charge, donated $75,000 in scholarship dollars to the CIAA and offered space for the VIP reception, which will welcome esteemed constituents of the CIAA, Charlotte city officials and other distinguished guests.

 The CIAA is attempting to make the overall experience more cost effective for institutions, spectators, sponsors, the conference and other affiliates. By staying in the Uptown area, attending guests will be in close proximity to Time Warner Cable Arena and other venues in which ancillary events are being held.

“ConferenceDirect is pleased to be partnering with CIAA in 2016 to provide an enhanced attendee experience for housing services. Through this partnership, we have negotiated the best possible rates, in a wide range of prices, to provide value selection for attendees,” Adam M. Briggs, vice president, Housing & Registration, ConferenceDirect. “You will find approximately 25 hotels to choose from with a user-friendly housing web-page experience, and personalized assistance from ConferenceDirect should any issues arise concerning housing. Reserving within the official CIAA housing reservation system is what enables CIAA to secure better rates for attendees, as well as to contract desirable space and dates for the future of CIAA.”

 Last year, there were safety concerns about violence that took place at an event of no affiliation with the CIAA, but occurring during the conference tournament week. Fans are encouraged to support events that are sanctioned, as security measures are taken by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, city officials and the CIAA, to ensure the safety of attending guests. There have been no reported incidences since the tournament’s arrival to Charlotte in 2006.

 Information about events associated with the CIAA tournament can be found at www.ciaatournament.org. For details about the CIAA conference and its championship sports visit, www.theciaa.com

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