Your flight was canceled or you missed your connection. The airline staff is too busy to help find you a room near the airport, so you are on your own. Most passengers head downstairs to the hotel "board' to call various airport hotels or they head to the Travelers Aid desk. What do you do when they or all the hotels tell you there is a convention in town and there are no room to be had AT ANY PRICE?
Here are a couple of tips straight out of my book that MAY locate you a room and maybe at a decent price!
Bypass the hordes heading to the airport's hotel board. Those are the FIRST places sold out. If you have access to the internet, find your airport on Expedia or Hotels.com and look for the high rates. (Most will say no rooms available if truly sold out) Expedia punishes hotels that say they are sold out but have no problem when you raise the rate to the sky. Recently, this situation happened and a local hotel that ALWAYS has a rate of $99 on Expedia suddenly was up to $583.00. Do NOT book this room! You should locate a phone number through local information for this hotel and CALL them. They may be holding rooms just for Expedia but they do not really expect anyone would pay $583.00. But they may have a room for $150 - just don't mention that you saw the $583 rate on the internet or they will steer you to book it through Expedia.
Another tip is to find hotels and motels within 15 miles of the airport and call them on a cell phone. Since they will not have a shuttle to the airport (most likely), they will be overlooked by the masses trying to book near the airport. For only $20 or so, ($40 round trip) you can get a cab there and back and may score a room for under $100.
If these prices seem unreasonable to you, weigh the cost of sleeping in an airport plastic chair until your flight the next day. If it is worth saving $140, find a comfy spot and camp out. But if you are with your spouse and/or kids, sleeping at the gate may not be a valid option.