Two years ago, hotel rooms in Austin were completely sold out for SXSW's interactive portion by early December.
Last year, it was even worse. All of the hotels within a 20-mile radius were booked by October.
This year, I finally got smart. I booked a hotel the same day SXSW registration opened in August and I got my top hotel pick.
If you haven't gotten yourself a room, go on SXSW's site and register for housing. You can email the housing committee at SXSW to advise you on next steps. There's also Airbnb, but rates are as high or higher than local hotels, and most of those rentals are booked up too.
You can also call hotels in downtown Austin and find openings that aren't listed on the SXSW website. Often, those rooms are absurdly expensive, but there will be some last minute cancellations so you might get lucky if you call early in the morning.
Your best bet may be to surf LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for others in your situation. People set up message boards to help stragglers find housing.
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