Obviously it's inconvenient to have to keep returning to your room at intervals throughout the day to do surgery on the crappy little coffee packets for your in-room set-up; you need to be down there on the floor learning, growing, networking! Presenting and being presented to! Who knows what life-changing PowerPoint slide might flit by while you're waiting for the elevator, what hottie you've been following with your eyes all weekend might duck into what breakout session on what subtopic of what plenary theme.
Usually as long as you jump start with one solid, strong cup of your own stuff in the morning you can make do with the convention coffee in the big urns they stick out in the mill-around areas outside the dimly lit, freezing cold little minitheaters where the PowerPoint lurks. But sometimes you can't because the convention coffee is spectacularly bad or because they're stingy with it.
In that situation, you need to know how to pass*.
First, understand that it is not possible that there is NO good coffee anywhere in the tower. Somewhere, somebody, guest or host, is enjoying something hot and strong and black and delicious. It's only the conventioneers that are being served the tepid brownwater. So you shake off your conventioneer skin and you go and get some of the good stuff, and you don't pay for it.
This takes some pre-planning.
Soon after you arrived at the hotel, as you were riding up to your floor with your luggage, did the kindly porter say, "Are you here for the convention?" Of course. And what did you say? Water under the bridge now, of course, but what you ought to have said is, "Oooo, what convention? How exciting!" And then you ought to have tipped the porter as lavishly as possible.
When you unpacked those bags. What did you find inside? Not drab conventionwear, please. The look you want to aim for is upscale and relaxed. Your clothes need to say "on my honeymoon!" or "ready to shop!" or "please direct me to the humidor!" Bring along one convention blazer to put on over your resortwear and render it network-appropriate.
When you descended and registered for this sojourn in corporate limbo, they handed you a pile of badswag. A name tag, an ugly shoulder bag, a stack of literature, possibly a logo-slathered beer coozey or potmetal lapel pin. Most of this stuff should be shoved somewhere out of sight and left there forever, but you are usually required to carry the name tag around. The name tag marks you as Someone Undeserving. Put it on your convention blazer. Carry--do not wear--your convention blazer down to the convention floor and find a place to stash it when you wish to leave the convention floor. Behind a potted palm. In the drop ceiling in one of the restrooms. You will wear it ONLY when you are at play in the fields of the lord of PowerPoint. It will not leave that area until you are ready to pack to go home. Jettison the shoulder bag they give you immediately. Throw it into the hotel pool. You must not carry it, not now, not ever. You will have brought something appropriate to put your various printed-out PowerPoint shows and other essential convention claptrap in. Something that says, "Could you get me a taxi to the theater district?" rather than screaming, "I'm the kind of Willy Loman who will wear any godawful thing, as long as it's free!"
When you go down in the morning, take along a mug from your hotel room (because the room mugs are branded separately from the public area mugs; the public area mugs make you look like a conventioneer) and stash it where you stash your blazer. When you're ready to go for coffee, ditch the blazer, grab the mug and stroll, don't stride, to the restaurant or bar area--wherever they have the good stuff. If you can't find the urn and serve yourself, feel free to ask a hotel lackey--look affable and slightly drowsy and explain that you can't drink the stuff in the room, or better yet, your new spouse can't, so you're down here on a mission. Grin ruefully during the explanation phase and both thank and tip effusively upon receiving satisfaction. (Don't get in a swivet about all the tipping I'm recommending because no matter what, you're spending less than you'd spend if you had to pay Starbucks every day.) Do this regularly and they will allow you to fill your own cup or thermos from home, if you had the foresight to bring one.
*From the OED: pass, v. 43. intr. d. To be accepted as or believed to be, or to represent oneself successfully as, a member of an ethnic or religious group other than one's own, esp. one having higher social status; spec. (of a person of black ancestry in a racially segregated society) to be accepted as white. Later also: (of a transsexual) to be accepted as a member of a different sex.
1929 N. LARSEN Passing II. ii. 38 ‘I see. They were “passing” too.’ ‘No. They weren't. They were white.’ 1953 E. H. BROOKES S. Afr. in Changing World vii. 147 Because of the permutations of nature, a coloured man white enough to ‘pass’ can have children or grandchildren who look ‘Coloured’. 1963 M. MCCARTHY Group xiv. 319 ‘Freddy's parents were trying to pass,’ she went on sombrely. ‘Like so many rich German Jews.’ 1994 City Life 24 Aug. 61 The author documents hundreds of cases of individual women who lived most of their adult lives as menwomen who managed to ‘pass’ in all kinds of situations.