Isn't that why hotels have posted rates, they can't charge any more than the posted rate? I thought the ones at the JW were really high. I think if it was gouging the rate would be higher than the posted rate, and would then be illegal.
Also, it seems some people are willing to pay the really high rates to be able to stay downtown. If people didn't pay that rate, then it wouldn't be charged and the price would go down. The rate that the convention gets I see as a courtesy and not a right that I have. I would rather Gen Con get the rates and I have a chance to get a much lower than supply-demand hotel rate than to be completly free market and the prices be so high.
Websters defines price gouging as increasing the price when no alternative is available. No downtown alternative exists.
There are other factors in play that contribute to colusion and gouging, the fact that all of the "market" is owned by 3 or 4 major players whom themselves are tightly knit. There is no choice but to pay it.
The gas during a disaster isa great exzmple. You have to buy gas. Even if they charge 20 dollars a gallon. If all 4 corner gas stations decide to charge 20 dollars a gallon, this would be gouging and colusion. Despite the fact that there is an illusion of free market.
And -- yes -- I've paid rack rate before (in the days before the VIG program) when the hotel block couldn't get me into the hotel I wanted to.
To the people who insist this is "gouging" and "collusion." Try booking a hotel room in San Jose next weekend, Friday February 5th - Monday the 8th:
Quality Inn? $400 a night.
2.5 star motel Santa Clara Inn? $750 a night.
Best Western Inn Santa Clara? $422 a night.
Days Inn San Jose Convention Center? $699 a night.
It's because the superbowl is in town, and demand drives prices. No collusion or gouging required.
You'll note that in San Jose, unlike downtown Indy, there are literally dozens of hotels with rooms available, and their rates are still stratospheric.
To believe GenCon hotel block prices are legally actionable "gouging" you have to literally believe that either there is not a single class action lawyer interested in pursuing this issue which occurs every time a major event occurs - every Superbowl, every GenCon, every SDCC or PAX, every CES, every World Series game, every Oscars ceremony, every Presidential Inaguration, etc., etc.., or you have to conclude that the hotel pricing in these events is not legally actionable.
Now believe it or not, it's in Gen Con's interest to keep housing prices as low as possible. If I have a budget of $1,000 for the con (ha ha, I don't have that much money for the convention. Not even close) and I spend $800 of it on housing, I only have $200 to spend on everything else. After my badge, I only have $100, and I probably want to eat at some point during the con. If I'm very frugal, I may have $50 to play with at the con, which probably means a few RPGs at $4 each and maybe some souvenir dice. Gen Con doesn't make much off of me that way, the merchants' sales are lower so they're less likely to come back in the future, and True Dungeon becomes less tenable as fewer people can afford it. In short, the more of everyone's budget that goes into housing, the less money everyone spends at the con.
Conversely, if my housing only costs $200, I can do some extra-cost larps and the con gets a cut of that. I can buy some game books and maybe some art that keeps dealers coming back year after year and renting vendor space. I may treat myself to a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant, which makes them happy to work with Gen Con to funnel people into their hotel.
Believe it or not, Gen Con wants housing costs to stay low. They have every incentive to do so. What they can't do, however, is completely shelter us from the laws of economics, and when 60,000 people try and get 6,000 rooms you're going to see supply and demand in real-time.
Great example, except,
1. Gencon Hotels take hotels off the market Months ahead of time and put them in a special "box". This box has prices that are fairly, scarily, similar to each other in all areas of the city, despite being different chains.
Now, from a legal point of view, this is the definition of collusion as fair market is eliminated from the equation. Add that to the point that you can only find all of these hotel rooms from different chains in one place. It would be akin to going and buying every Tickle me Elmo from every toy chain and putting them in one store. Then astronomically raising the prices yet hiding behind the idea that you have a "posted" price that allows you. The problem is, legally, you do have to charge that price on a consisitent basis. Thus, like i said, if you wanted to take them to task legally you could, it would take a while, u'd be fighting corporate and city lawyers but if you had the money to stay the course you'd have the law on your side.
2. Demand can only be determined if the market is allowed access to the material. Again, see above. Everyone has always had access to the superbowl hotels. They range in a number of prices but have been available for months to book at various prices. This is not hte case with Gencon.
In a crisis you actually don't need gas. That can be argued. The point is that there is one place to get something and the companies that have it are colluding to arrange the price to something that is not equal to the "fair" market. Again, research the legal definition of fair. You wil lfind words like accessible and determined upon the market. Market being it has to be available. If the hotel authority removes the hotels from the market, it can not possibly be market value. The hotel authority removes the hotels from the market and determines a preconconeived price before allowing them to sell. These prices are colluded with every other hotel chain.
You are speaking from an emotional point of view and not legal or business. Gencon has no need to keep housing low. They profit directly from high housing costs. They also get nothing from "repeat" business. Gencon has steadily increased their marketing locally to attract residents who do not need hotels, knowing that the out of towners will come regardless. As is now, Gencon has a fullproof business.
The point of the thread was to determine the overall consensus as to who Gencon is meant for. I hear the word luxury thrown around, and I can't think of too many places where a luxury is walking to the place you are suppose to attend. In the beginning, luxury was an attached hotel. Now luxury is a hotel within 10 blocks. This does not fit the standard definition of luxury.
I'd need to see evidience that gencon "cares" about hotel prices. Businesses don't have feelings and I hardly think that with steadily growing profits and attendance , not to mention growing a reputation and bringing income into the city (through those very same raised hotel prices) that its a sweat to them. And this is not a bad thing. I do worry that if Gencon is going to join the SCC and Disney World as far as priced attractions, it's an interesting fight that I don't think they would win.
@dontadow - Hotels have been available for months, just not in the block GenCon has already bought. The prices were already higher because the hotels took discounts away in response to public knowledge that an event was scheduled on a certain date that would increase demand.
also IN BLOCK prices are set by a contract that Gen Con has with the city and the hotels. Just because the prices at the different chains are close, does not mean that they are all working together to set the price point.
Personally, I wish Gen Con would restructure so it is more affordable to attendees. Make exhibitors bear more of the brunt - I'd like a smaller exhibit hall with better booths. No way I can see everything now. Cap attendance instead of growing as much as possible and making it more and more of a sardine can experience. Put pressure on the hotels to reduce rates and be more in line with Indy's other cons (especially as 2020 looms). Just make it better and not bigger. I don't get any more value out of 60,000 attendees than 40,000. In fact, in most ways it gets worse. I pulled up an old sheet I had. We paid $139 in 2005 for the Westin. Now it is $206. If it were just inflation, it would be about $160. More attendees mean the hotels make more money with less risk, yet they charge more. Something is wrong with this picture.
For example, if the Westin has 1,000 rooms, it doesn't matter if Gen Con's attendance is 50,000 or 100,000, or 1,000,000.... Westin is only going to make $roomCost * 1,000 per night.
And that's absolutely enough. Dontadow, you are not a lawyer. I am. You should be very, very, careful when you are accusing someone of doing something illegal. Very careful that you actually have some idea of what legal precedent you are talking about. You don't. It is in no way illegal for a hotel to raise its rates during a period of high demand. That's exactly how a free market economy works. There's no law against that. There are some states that have laws against raising prices during crisis situations; this is not a crisis situation, this a a recreational gaming convention.
Gen Con does not profit directly from high hotel costs. Gen Con doesn't profit at all from high hotel costs.
Your arguments have no merit. This discussion is pointless. I'm going to close it now. Any further discussion of hotel pricing being in any way illegal will be deleted.