Reservation Policies

Read carefully below for cancellation penalty deadlines, hotel payment policies, reservation agreements, and waitlist information.

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Austin Hotel

Reserve SXSW Hotel Rooms at SXSW Rates


SXSW Housing & Travel services all hotel accommodations for official SXSW attendees including conference Registrants, Speakers, Filmmakers, Exhibitors, Artists, Press, Sponsors, Presenters, and Sales clients. SXSW Housing & Travel does not charge a booking fee, but penalties can be incurred. See details below.

Hotel reservations can be booked through the custom booking link in your Registration confirmation email, your SXSW Cart, or your SXSW Social Account. Email if you have questions.

SXSW Hotel Reservations can be changed and canceled until 28 days before your arrival date without penalty.

  • If booking a room within 28 days of arrival, any reduction in number of nights or cancellation will result in a penalty of $50.

  • Other changes such as adding nights to your stay (if nights are available), changing room types (if available), adding or editing an additional guest, changing the payment details, or adding notes/requests for the hotel will NOT incur any penalty. Your changes are welcome. We want to provide the hotels with accurate details for your visit.

SXSW Housing & Travel charges a $50 penalty fee for canceling or reducing the number of nights on any reservation within 28 days of the scheduled arrival.

You will NOT incur a fee if you add nights, change or add a room share’s name, change/update payment details, change room type, add a hotel loyalty number, or add a request. We want to provide the hotels with all of your details, so your changes are welcome.

Hotel Cancellation Penalties, Early Departure Fees & Taxes


All hotel charges are processed by the hotel only. SXSW Housing & Travel will NOT charge the reservations credit card for any charges related to the hotel.

Hotel Cancellation Penalties

We know plans change, so SXSW Housing & Travel has negotiated flexible cancellation policies with our hotels. Reservations booked outside of SXSW Housing often require a full pre-payment and include strict cancellation restrictions.

All hotels charge penalties for no-shows and cancellations within 72 hours to 14 days prior to your scheduled arrival date. Most penalties are equivalent to the deposit each hotel charges in late February or early March. Each hotel’s specific deposit and cancellation policies can be found on our Hotel Availability page, or in the Reservation Agreement section of your registration confirmation email after booking.

Early Departure

After check-in, any early departures will incur an Early Departure Fee. Review your confirmation email for your hotel’s specific fees and policies.

If an early departure cannot be avoided, making that change before check-in will save you the hotel’s Early Departure Fee. Be sure to keep in mind that if your hotel has a minimum length of stay, you may not be able to reduce the number of nights. For example, if your hotel requires a 3-night minimum stay, you will be responsible to pay for all 3 nights, then the early check-out fee would apply to any additional canceled nights.

Rates & Tax

SXSW hotel rates are only available to confirmed attendees who book through SXSW Housing & Travel. Room rates are USD per night and may increase based on additional guests in the room. Rates do not include occupancy tax (currently 17%) or personal incidental charges.

Many hotels also add a “State Cost – Recovery Fee” of less than 1% to the total bill. This is an optional fee that some businesses in Texas can charge to offset their franchise taxes but this is not a local tax.

Payment & Deposits


Credit Card Guarantee

A valid credit card is required to secure and book your reservation but is not charged at the time of booking. Hotels will charge an advance deposit to the credit card on file when they receive SXSW Housing & Travel reservations in the month leading up to the event. If you need to update the credit card number on file you must provide the new card information to SXSW no later than Friday, February 16. After February 16, we cannot guarantee that the deposit will be charged to the updated card.

If a card is no longer valid and the hotel is unable to charge your deposit, they may cancel your reservation. It is your responsibility to maintain a valid credit card number on your reservation from booking to arrival.


Guests are required to present a physical credit card at check-in for payment of room, tax, and incidental charges. It is your responsibility to know your method of payment upon check-in.

If you are traveling without the credit card to be charged or the credit card is not in your own name (e.g. a company card that does not belong to the employee) you must provide a Credit Card Pre-Authorization form directly to the hotel before arrival. Hotels will not accept these forms until they have provided your confirmation number in late February/early March.

Credit Card Pre-Authorization

Once you receive a reservation confirmation number from the hotel in late February or early March, you can submit your credit card details directly to the hotel. The hotel must have your confirmation number in order to be able to process your Credit Card Authorization. Credit Card Authorization forms and instructions can be found here in mid-February 2025.

It is your responsibility to know your method of payment upon check-in. If you don’t intend to travel with the credit card you plan to use to pay for the reservation, you must submit a Credit Card Authorization form to the hotel before you arrive to charge your reservation, tax, or incidentals to a card that isn’t in your name (e.g. a company card that does not belong to the employee).


Credit card pre-authorization is the best method to pay for your stay without a physical credit card. If you need to pay for your room & tax in advance you can do so when the hotel charges a deposit. Please note that the hotel will still require a card to guarantee incidentals at check-in.

If you still have questions, please contact for further instruction.


Most hotels charge a deposit to the card on the reservation when they receive the SXSW reservations in late-February or early-March. This information is outlined in the ‘Reservation Agreement’ section of your reservation confirmation email.

If you’d like to update the credit card details on file you must provide the new card information to SXSW no later than Friday, February 16. After February 16, we cannot guarantee the deposit will be charged to the updated card. If a credit card is no longer valid the hotel will be unable to charge the deposit, and may cancel your reservation.

You can update your credit card details via the Request for Change link in your confirmation email, your SXSW Social Account, or the same Shopping Cart used to purchase your registration.

How to Change or Cancel Reservations & Waitlist Requests

Changes and cancellations must be made through SXSW Housing & Travel only. You cannot make changes or cancellations with the hotel directly. See below for instructions.

  1. To change or cancel use the Request for Change link in your reservation confirmation email.
  2. Choose your reservation from the drop-down menu.
  3. Make your changes or choose Cancel.
  4. Click Submit at the bottom of the page.

Questions? Check out our FAQs.

Please review all change requests carefully before submitting. Canceled nights will likely not be reinstated.

Hotel Waitlists


Waitlist Tips & Facts

  • Attendees can submit waitlist requests for an entire stay or add nights to an existing reservation.
  • Attendees cannot hold a confirmed reservation and waitlist for another hotel for the same dates.
  • The waitlist has limited availability based on the number of attendees we have been able to accommodate in the past.
  • Getting on our waitlist doesn’t guarantee a room, but we do have a high success rate of accommodating attendees from our waitlist.
  • The most movement on the waitlist occurs between mid-January and late-February as travel plans begin to firm up.
  • If you’re flexible with your hotel needs or need something very specific (i.e. room type, location, price range), add those details to the Special Request field once you’ve confirmed your hotel and room type. It will help us look for only what you need and also let us know if it’s ok to look for options outside your request.
  • If you are not comfortable waiting until a few weeks before your arrival to confirm your accommodations, then the wait list may not be for you. We recommend you book a hotel from one of our available options.
  • SXSW Housing & Travel will work with you until your check-in date to help you find accommodations, even if it’s not your first choice. We won’t leave you without a room!

Contact for questions about locations, amenities, or for suggestions about what, when, and how to book your room. Our housing team of local Austin travel professionals can help guide you to the best available hotel to fit your needs.

Waitlist to Extend Your Stay

If you can’t find the hotel you want for all of the nights you need, then check to see which nights are available and book those nights. You can waitlist the remaining nights to extend your stay.

To extend the nights of a confirmed reservation:

  1. From your SXSW Shopping Cart or your SXSW Social, book the available nights.
  2. Include a request for your preferred arrival and/or departure dates in the Special Request field.
  3. The Housing & Travel team will then add you to the waitlist for the nights you need, contact you with any questions, or to discuss other options.

If you already have a confirmed reservation and would like to extend your stay in the same hotel please use the Request for Change button at the bottom of your confirmation email to do so. Add a note in the Special Request field of your reservation and the Housing team will add you to the waitlist.

Waitlist Fulfillment

SXSW Housing & Travel will work until your check-in date to accommodate your waitlist request. Most requests are fulfilled in the month leading up to SXSW as attendees with confirmed reservations finalize travel plans and cancel nights. If you need to secure a reservation before February, the waitlist may not be the best option for you.

Should a room become available for you, SXSW Housing will immediately book your reservation and send you a confirmation email. Be sure to check your email for a waitlist confirmation and add to your contact list to be sure you receive your reservation confirmation.

Waitlist Fees & Penalties

If your waitlist request is fulfilled within the hotel’s cancellation period (usually 7-14 days) you may be responsible for any hotel cancellation fees. It is very important to cancel or adjust your waitlist request if you no longer need it or it is no longer accurate.

Check the reservation policy section of your waitlist request confirmation for your hotel's cancellation policy.

How to Cancel Your Waitlist Request

There is never a fee to cancel your waitlist request. To cancel, use the Request for Change link located at the bottom of your waitlist confirmation email.

Housing & Travel Resources

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