The recent newsletter indicated that suburban hotels are a viable alternative to attached downtown hotels. I disagree, and not only because of the time for travel. If there were a reasonably-priced AND reliable all-hours transportation option to the suburban hotels, that would make them a viable alternative. Please let your suburban hotels know that if they can help solve this problem, more people would consider staying out there.
Also, I hope that the randomized hotel signup access will include prioritization of 4-day badge holders for the attached hotels, or at least a determination that last year's minimum stays were actually used as intended.
I'll second this. After seeing that you needed to arrange ahead of time when you're going to use the shuttles, and that historically they were late and overcrowded, I ruled out suburban hotels for Gen Con.
Agreed. The poor shuttle system makes an outlying hotel a worse experience.
Something needs to be done before Gencon 2016.
I think the airlines solved this problem years ago- a hub system. Use hree of the hotels with small conventions centers like the Marriott east as the hubs. Busses only go from the ICC to the hubs. Everyone on the bus gets off so you know exactly how many people can get on, then run three circulator routes from the hubs. Take generics to get on the " express" busses to the hubs and let anyone with a badge ride the circulators. A request for proposal in a transportation trade journal would probably get a company with real experience in setting up something like this to bid. Lease unused school busses for the circulator routes from local scool districts and hire some of their bus drivers and you could likely both have enough vehicles to keep the wait times and the costs down.
What I think needs to happen is they need to expand the shuttle routes to the Southport Crossing area as well, and to run all shuttles on a continuous loop on every single route, so that there's a bus no more than every 15-20 minutes at all times, 24/7. Will it cost more? Absolutely. Would it make those remote hotels an actual, viable alternative? Absolutely.
I agree with this 100%. A 24 hour shuttle (or at least 6AM to 12AM) on a continuous loop would make suburban hotels a viable alternative.
I will agree if you need other transportation it sucks. I used the shuttle service that Gen Con had provided for only the first day mind you I had paid for 4 day pass for the shuttle. I drove into town the other days. If you have your own car I think it is worth it to stay outside of the city. I don't need anything fancy just a place to rest and you can't beat the prices. Travel into town only took about 15 - 20 minutes. What we did was leave early in the moring got great parking right across the street in a garage then had some breakfast, played some light games then it was time for the dealer hall to open. Had a great time and going to do the same this year minus the shuttle tickets.
I agree that the shuttle was less than ideal this year. That's very true.
I strongly, strongly, recommend you consider doing things like using UBER and finding other people in your same hotel to ride share with. The Southport hotels are a good deal, and there's plenty to eat out there and plenty of shopping, and it's really only about 15 minutes away. If you could find some friends to rideshare with, maybe in the AM, and then UBER at night, you'll be saving a lot of money staying out there.
Any idea on the round trip UBER costs for the outlying hotels? That certainly sounds like a better plan than the shuttle system that is less than reliable.
It basically costs $20 to park in a garage downtown if you're attending the con. If you are bringing more than one other person, it's the most cost effective way *and* you can come and go as you please.
Looks like the newsletter that just was emailed states that Gen Con won't be using the transportation company that did the shuttles last year, which is good. However, they don't have a replacement option lined up either, and "stay tuned" for updates if they do. Not a good situation for suburban hotels this close to hotel registration.
As pointed out above, most of the garages right around the mall charge a max of $22/day. There are surface lots that are cheaper though. You can see a list of the lots and their rates here: http://www.downtownindy.org/get-around-downtown/park/
Two years ago when I parked there, they were hitting people with $35/day. Expect surge/event pricing.
If you can't get a downtown hotel, then do what I did last year: find a hotel next to a bus line - preferrably one that runs late at night and/or on Sundays (not all of them do). For example, the Courtyard by Marriott Northwest is literally across the street from a #10 route bus stop. Okay, it takes an hour to get downtown, mainly because it has to go in the opposite direction first, and you end up about three or four blocks from the Convention Center, but if driving isn't really an option, it's pretty much this or taxi/Uber.
For example, the "east campus" hotels are on the #21 route, which takes about 30 minutes to get downtown; it runs every 30 minutes on weekdays (the last bus leaves downtown at 6:40), every hour on Saturday (last bus at 6:10), and no service on Sunday. The fare is currently $1.75 each way. Yes, that does pretty much restrict your gaming to daytime...
Indy's bus service website: http://www.indygo.net/
Biking is becoming a viable option as well. Indy has some fantastic bike routes. http://www.indycog.org/rideguide
They also have a handy ride share option that costs $8 per 24 hour time period.
I would def stay away from an attached hotel again if there was reliable transportation options besides cabs/uber that I could go back to the hotel take meds, take a nap and come back within a reasonable timetable.
I have stayed outside of downtown 4 times (out of 5 Gen Con trips). I have never been able to get a downtown hotel through the Gen Con service. The one time I stayed in downtown was because I purchased a room through a thrid party service (which is always hit or miss). I live in California, so the option of bringing my own car is out the window. This means I will have to rent a car, or I will have to rely on other inconvienent forms of travel each day. I have done this. It is a hassle.
It is well worth the mark-up for a downtown hotel room. I think the demand for downtown rooms indicates that everyone seems to agree. Although the outside hotels are very nice, and are a bargain compared to downtown hotels, nevertheless, the inconvienance of getting back and forth from an outside hotel is just too much. I would gladly pay double or triple the price to have the convienance of access to my hotel room during the convention at any time.
The idea of using Uber each day, or driving your own car into downtown each day, is not a reasonable solution.
1. Paying $20 or more per trip for ridesharing (x2 to get back to the hotel $40) is just too expensive. The cost will also likely be higher during the gen con when peak rates are in effect. If you drive your own car, you can expect to pay this cost in parking fees and gas, if you can find parking that is.
2. The idea of using Uber each day or driving your own car ignores one of the best reasons for wanting to stay in downtown: the ability to come and go from your hotel room as you please. Being able to go back to your room when you are tired or want a meal, or simply on a whim is priceless. The Gen Con is exhausting, and you simply don't know when your body will crash and need some downtime.
3. The idea of using Uber or driving your own car ignores another reason for wanting to stay in downtown: the ability for your party to split up. When you have a room in downtown your party can easily split up at any time for some of your party to head back to the room. This does not work when you have to coordinate a vehicle trip to a hotel out of town.
4.The idea of using Uber or driving your own car ignores another reason for wanting to stay in downtown: the ability to go back to your room to drop off stuff, or to pick up stuff, whenever it is convienent (such as gen con merch, or gaming materials). Staying outside of downtown makes this simply not realistic.
5. The idea of using Uber or driving your own car ignores another reason for wanting to stay in downtown: if you have someone in your party with special needs or a disability who will need periodic access to the hotel room, staying outside of downtown is not going to be practical. I think Gen Con does provide a seperate procedure for people with disabilities to be able to get a downtown room, but I am sure that not everyone who needs one due to a disability in the family is able to make use the seperate procedure.
The solution to these comments is to have a reliable and constantly running round the clock shuttle service. This will make outside hotels more convienent, and alleviate the demand for downtown rooms.The shuttle service should be constantly running throughout the con 24 hours a day. I think the wait for a shuttle should never be more than 15 minutes (note that a 15 minute wait for a shuttle is followed by the time it takes to actually travel to and from the hotel and the con, so the total travel time will be much more than 15 minutes). If the shuttle service is not convienent then it will not be an adequate solution.
Also note, having a reliable, fast, shuttle service to outside hotels would also open up the possiblity for Gen Con to expand events into these hotels as well. Gen Con doesn't have to expand to outside hotels, this is just a bonus option that arises if a convienent shuttle service were implimented.
I completely agree that having a connected/downtown hotel is the ideal situation. I also agree that having a convenient shuttle system to the outer hotels would also be ideal. However, it doesn't appear that most people think about the key part of that equation: Who's paying for it? There has to be an adequate ROI for whoever is going to take on those costs. Apparently, the company that tried it the last couple of years has determined that they didn't make enough profit for it to be worthwhile to continue. That says something right there.
Some have suggested that GenCon pay for this. Why would they want to take on that additional cost? Attendance has been rising and will likely continue that trend with or without a shuttle system. The issue with housing has been ongoing for a few years now but again, attendance is still rising. The vocal minority of people stating they are no longer coming to GenCon due to not getting a downtown hotel, is immediately replaced by new attendees. I do believe that the people who run GenCon are actively trying to help in this situation but without them ponying up some money or a big sponsor coming in with a bag of cash, I don't think the situation is going to get better soon.