I can do a quick estimation of how many people actually attend Trade Day, as a TD attendee myself. According to my TD program book, the average time slot has 13 or so seminars. Most seminars have about 10-20 attendees, so that gives 130-260 total TD attendees who actually participate in the seminars and other Wednesday activities. If we add in a few more who only attend one or two sessions, maybe bump it to 300.
That seems reasonable to me as generally by 4 PM on Wednesday I recognize most of the other Education TD participants from previous seminars.
Therefore, if the bulk of the early access line is made up of TD people, most of them are not attending any of the actual TD events.
Gencon should be expanding this program by at least 2x and maybe 3x - 4x. Not doing so is foolish IMHO. As I continue to say, it's free money for Gencon.
Also a lot of the complaints with the VIG program should really go to the vendors. If you have what you think is a hot limited release game you should do something online ahead of time to reserve copies or set up demos. Even better if they know they are going to have 150 copies they could make it a ticketed event to get one or to do a demo.
When the VIG thing started, I thought "why would anyone do this"? $500 to get first choice of hotel and a few other things seemed weird when you could always get a downtown hotel. Now, of course, that is much more valuable. I figure the people who paid the extra money back then deserve to get the benefit now, I suppose, but can't help but think gencon is (now) way underpricing them.
If you want to take a large step toward addressing some of the downtown hotel issues move the volunteers and vendors out of downtown and give them shuttle buses. This would be foolish for Gencon to do as the only reason Gencon is able to continue is volunteer labor but it would address the issues more than anything else discussed.