Reservation Policies

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

Photo by Dylan Johnson

Photo by Dylan Johnson

Reserve SXSW Hotel Rooms at SXSW Rates


SXSW Housing & Travel is the department of SXSW that handles all hotel accommodations for official SXSW attendees including Conference registrants, exhibitors, SXSW Showcasing Artists, filmmakers, and their crews. SXSW Housing & Travel does not charge a booking fee, but penalties can be incurred. See details below.

Registrants include Speakers, Mentors, Filmmakers, Press, Sponsors, Sales/Trade Clients, Media Partners, and Presenters. All badgeholders are registrants.

Reservations should be made online through the SXSW Cart where registration is completed, through your SXSW Social account, or through a link provided for your specific participation. Please email if you have questions.

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

SXSW Housing & Travel charges a penalty of $50 for reducing the number of nights in any reservation if done within 28 days of the arrival listed on the reservation. The same penalty applies for canceling any reservation within 28 days of arrival listed on the reservation. Therefore, if booking a room within 28 days of arrival, any reduction in number of nights or cancelation will result in a penalty of $50.

Other changes such as adding nights to your stay (if nights are available), changing or adding a room share’s name, changing the payment details, changing room types (if available), 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.

Cancellation Penalties, Early Departure Fees & Taxes


All hotel costs are charged by the hotel and not collected by SXSW Housing & Travel.

Hotel Cancellation Penalties

We know plans change, so SXSW Housing & Travel has negotiated flexible cancellation policies with our hotels. You’ll find that hotels often require a full pre-payment for rooms booked outside of SXSW.

All hotels charge penalties to SXSW attendees booked through SXSW Housing & Travel for no-shows and cancellations within 72 hours to 14 days prior to your scheduled arrival date.

Each hotel’s cancellation penalty period is located on our Hotel Availability page and at the ‘reservation agreement’ section of your reservation confirmation.

Most penalties are equivalent to the deposit hotel charges in February (a 1 or 2 nights stay) and are outlined in the reservation agreement section of your reservation confirmation email.

Early Departure

Most hotels will charge a penalty for checking-out before your scheduled departure date after check-in. The amount will be listed in your hotel confirmation and on the reservation agreement when booking your room.

To avoid any penalty your dates should be correct at least 28 days prior to arrival. If a late change cannot be avoided, making that change before check-in will save you the hotel’s Early Departure Fee and cost only $50.

If you shorten your stay after checking in, you will be subject to the hotel’s early departure fee. Be sure to keep in mind that if your hotel has a minimum night stay, you may not be able to modify your reservation to fewer room nights at all. For example, if your hotel requires a 3-night minimum stay, you will be responsible for all 3 nights. The early check-out fee will apply after you’ve completed 3 nights of your stay.

Rates & Tax

SXSW Conference rates are only available to confirmed SXSW 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 SXSW. 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 18. After February 18, 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 will be 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 supply a credit card pre-authorization form directly with the hotel before arrival. Hotels will not accept these forms until the month prior to arrival.

Credit Card Pre-Authorization

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).

How to Submit Your Credit Card Authorization Form

You are able to pre-authorize your credit card directly with your hotel in late February or early March when you receive your reservation confirmation number.

You must have already received your confirmation number from the hotel in order to be able to process your credit card authorization.

Use the PDF below to either contact the hotel directly or fill out their online form or PDF.

Credit Card Authorization Details by Hotel


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 file when they receive the SXSW reservations from us 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 number on file you must provide the new card information to SXSW no later than Friday, February 18. After February 18, 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.

You can update your credit card via the link to make changes in your reservation confirmation, 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 (not the hotel). This can be done in one of 3 ways:

  1. To change or cancel use the ‘Request for Change’ link in your reservation confirmation
  2. Choose your reservation from the drop-down (only your reservation should be listed).
  3. Make the changes you need to the reservation or choose ‘Cancel.’
  4. Choose ‘submit’ at the bottom of the page.

Questions? Check out our .

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

Hotel Waitlists


Who Can Join the Waitlist

SXSW Registrants and confirmed official attendees may get on the waitlist for their entire stay or to add nights to an existing reservation if they can’t find the availability for the nights they need.

Waitlist Tips & Facts

  • Attendees are not able to both book a confirmed reservation and get on the waitlist for the same dates of stay.
  • 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 SXSW attendees from our waitlist.
  • 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!
  • We see the most movement in our waitlist between mid January and late February.
  • If you’re flexible with your hotel needs or need something very specific (i.e. room type, location, price range), add that 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.

We have a high success rate for our waitlist but we don’t see much movement in it until the month leading up to SXSW. So if you’re uncomfortable waiting until the last minute to secure your accommodations for SXSW, we recommend you book an option from one of our available properties.

Contact for questions about location, amenities, or for suggestions on what to book and our housing team of local Austin travel professionals can help guide you to the best available property and potential transportation options to fit your needs.

Waitlist to Extend Your Stay

If you’re flexible with your dates when booking, try a few sets of dates to see different availability. You can get on the waitlist to extend your stay if you’re able to book most of the nights you need.

To waitlist to extend: 1. Book the nights that are available from your SXSW Shopping Cart or SXSW Social 2. Note your desired check-in and/or out date(s) in the “special request field” when finalizing your reservation (Step 4). 3. Our Housing & Travel team will then add you to the waitlist for the nights you need, or reach out with any questions or to communicate further about your options.

If you’ve already booked a reservation and dates you’d like to add nights that are no longer available email to waitlist for or add the dates you need.

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 face their cancellation deadlines. If you need to secure a reservation before February, the waitlist may not be the best option for you.

We strive to accommodate all waitlist requests until their arrival date. Should a room become available for you, SXSW Housing immediately books your reservation and sends you a confirmation email.

Be sure to check that you’ve received your waitlist confirmation email and add to your contact list to be sure you receive your reservation confirmation if we accommodate your waitlist request.

Waitlist Fees & Penalties

If your waitlist request is accommodated 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 to make changes. Email with any questions.

Housing & Travel Resources

Housing & Travel FAQs

From booking your hotel to traveling to Austin, explore our list of frequently asked questions.

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