It wasn't a matter of prime real estate so much as transparency. As stated previously, I understand why registration is required to book a room. It's a great policy, it makes sense, it prevents individuals from profiteering off the convention, though it apparently fails to prevent hotels.com/orbitz/etc from doing the same thing buying blocks of room and selling them only if you pay up front (ocassionally overselling and leaving people without rooms, I might add).
What is the honest purpose in obfuscating the availability of housing, especially considering how important housing for a 4 day convention is?
Why should an administrative fee apply to a cancelation made day of badge reservation when no credit card fees would yet be processed?
Causing the illusion of unavailability, and only lifting that illusion for non-refundable fee seems unfriendly at best. Is asking to at least see the housing situation before throwing down cash unreasonable?
To be completely clear, rooms are still, as of the last time I checked, available in the housing block. There is no obfuscating of housing availability.
I see Hypevosa's point here.
It would be disingenuous to say that staying downtown isn't important to people, and doesn't sometimes work as the deciding factor on whether they attend the Con in the end. Some of us will go anyway, even if we're staying out by the airport. But others won't do that for various reasons. It's important.
So someone is saying to themselves "Well, I'll go to Gen Con if there's a good chance I can get a downtown room (for say a health/mobility issue)", and they have to buy a badge not just to get a room, but to even see what rooms are available, and then pay $20 to refund that badge if there aren't rooms that fit their needs available...that's the complaint.
I think it makes some sense. You wouldn't buy a car by saying "I hope it has all the features I want, but the dealer won't let me look inside before I buy it, and will charge me a refund policy if I find out it doesn't have a radio and don't want it".
That said, I don't know if Q-rooms is equipped to handle this issue. I'm not sure if they can allow guest access with view-only permissions to the Housing Portal. In theory that's something a lot of software can do, I just don't know their software. But it might be a very simple fix to what does seem to me to be a legitimate concern.
For this gentleman's specific issue, as he stated he initially attempted to book a room costing about $100 a night, which would not be a downtown hotel room, and as he stated his issue was not "prime" real estate, it does not appear that his concern is with not getting a downtown hotel room, but a room at all. At no time to my knowledge has the housing block been completely sold out, and I just checked, and right now in the block, there are 6 hotels with rooms available, mostly at about a 10-15 car or cab ride away from the convention center. So, in addressing what appears to be this gentleman's specific concern, general availability of housing, I point out that there is, and continues to remain, available housing in the Gen Con hotel block.
As to the point you've brought up, downtown housing, a completely different issue, again I'd say that yes, it is a concern for many attendees; however, I know of no other fan convention that ties badge purchases to a guaranteed hotel room in a guaranteed area or guaranteed hotel. Plenty of people do not want/need downtown hotel rooms; plenty of people would rather stay 15 minutes away and save money, at a hotel or a friend's house. And, as we've seen on these forums, rooms drop all the time, and with persistence and patience you have a very good chance of picking up a downtown room. I do not ever forsee a time when not getting your room of choice at Gen Con allows for a full bage refund.
Gen Con LLC
I'm not saying that not getting the room of your choice would or should allow for a full refund. But as he said, the system is "unfriendly", and in this particular instance I would agree.
All it would take would be a window into room availability before badge purchase--a guest access account to the Housing Portal, one that doesn't allow room purchase. You pop in, see what the housing situation is like, and then make your call about whether or not to buy a badge. This doesn't seem either complex technically or terribly demanding to me, nor does it seem like it would hurt either GC or the hotels.
What Hypevosa said was not about downtown rooms, yes. But his post back on the first page indicated that there was only one room that fit his particualr criteria. He wrote: "Now I cannot find a room I can afford, even split with 4 people (because it's always best to assume others will cancel last minute and I'll shoulder all the burden)." I used the example of downtown rooms above to make a point that this issue is likely one important to an even larger number of people. But the point remains that Hypevosa found his options limited, and he became frustrated. A good system should not leave people frustrated, even if they end up getting a room in the end. And one way to help this would have been his ability to look into room availability before buying a badge.
Now granted--had he seen that one room that he could afford as available, and then went to buy his badge, it very likely may have been gone when he returned to Housing. But he at least has the knowledge at that point that there is in fact only one room that he can afford (at the moment). That allows him to willingly take a more informed risk.
The Housing system is not horrible overall, even bad. It is far better than the old crush of crashing servers, and perhaps the best we can do while there are too many people attending Gen Con. But this is one place where an easy change could make the system more friendly. That's all I'm saying. :)
Ninja Edit: I'd also say that the current method of not hosting a waiting list for those who don't have a room at all is actually a good idea--it gives those people who thought the old housing system was better a chance to overcome the randomness of the lottery by, if they choose to, putting in effort to get a room over the following months. (I never thought the old system rewarded effort myself--it was as much up to luck as anything. I was shut out, or let in, regardless of the network connection I was on over the years. This is just more obvious luck.)
Marian, you're painting us as making an unreasonable demand - to house 100% of 200+ thousands attendees. I know you probably get frivilous complaints like that all the time, and it is likely very jading and exhausting. I do not envy someone in your position, just, please, hear me out.
What I've been attempting to convey is that housing is the single most important thing needed to determine if one can attend a convention. Even if you don't pre-register you can walk in on Wednesday and get a badge. Housing alone will cost the attendee between 4 and 12 times the cost of a badge if they don't live locally or have someone to stay with.
Ignoring cost for a moment, as brotherbock had previously stated, for some it is imperitive that they be next to the convention center, be it mobility issues, needing room access to do things like use kidney dialysis bags like my father inlaw, etc.
Knowing there are possibly 200+ thousand people attending, it is simply prudent and responsible to try and ensure one has a place to stay for a 4 day convention before paying to attend said convention.
The inability to view current housing options before buying a badge is a hinderance to those who desire any level of security in their arrangements. Being locked into an "administrative fee" just to see if the housing you require is available still is unkind.
How would you feel if you budgeted $1000 for a vacation, and they charged you $100 just to see if there were any flights available, and then cheapest you could find was $1200? How would you feel if you required a handicap accessible room and had to pay $100 to see if any were available and there weren't any?
It felt pretty bad at my end. And, while I was able to work things out in the end and have experience I can draw on for future endeavors, I wanted to provide you with a suggestion that would prevent others from feeling negatively towards their experience, and prevent potential harm to those who would lose out entirely.
For the purposes getting a downtown hotel, a preview sounds pretty useless. All of those hotel rooms are taken during the lottery, and a preview would just put a lot of unnecessary stress on the system.
But outside of that, it would be pretty useful if just to see what's available and what the expected cost would be. That being said, it may be simpler to just a grace period on the cancellation fee.
Those don't sound like unreasonable requests.
I know it doesn't show the availability, but the full list of hotels with prices can be found here:
That solves the problem of at least seeing the prices. I understand that doesn't solve the problem of knowing what is still available, but as others have also said, even if something shows as available, it might no longer be by the time you buy the badge.
But to have that window after the initial rush of hotels is over is as you say another matter (although the grace period of maybe a same-day cancellation could help too--the window into housing would save some time and work on the admin end).
And we can say "Well, you could check out the forums and ask around to see what housing is available first". And that could be done. But it's an unfriendly system that forces you to do that. A friendly system would allow someone who first heard of Gen Con yesterday to come to the website, find out about badge costs before buying (which can be done), and then find out about hotel pricing before buying--which can only be done in the vaguest of senses right now, with the total hotel list. If instead that person could see a list of currently available hotels, right along with the badge costs (and maybe a disclaimer that hotel availability changes rapidly), their decision would be much more well-informed.
And it also seems relatively easy to accomplish (granted that I am not looking at the system code).
And to say any of that isn't to say that anyone at Gen Con or Q-Rooms is doing anything nefarious or is trying to hinder people in any way. It's to point out that the system could help people in a particular way.
Ok I didn't have problem with my housing until now.
I purchased a Regular Badge and when the housing portal opened I had a really good place in line and got a Standard King at the Hilton Downtown.
Then I got a GM Badge from Paizo for my volunteeing with them. Since I didn't need two badges, I asked for refund. I got a refund.
But now, when I look at my housing it says I need to get a Badge!
I have emailed Marian McBrine at GenCon about this but I thought I would post here as well.
I hope this is a mix up and I still have a room a the Hilton under my name!
Did I not respond to you? I responded to someone yesterday about this same issue. You do still have the reservation, it is still good. You just can't see it now because you have a GM badge; you should have the email you got when you made the reservation, and if you have any concerns, you can call housing directly, but you should still be fine, the reservation was not removed.
Gen Con LLC
Ah, you literally emailed me 10 minutes ago. I'm not always going to be that fast on the email trigger. :)
Gen Con LLC.
I did say I was a little frantic.
Thank you for the quick response to ease my mind.
I guess I am a second person with same concern.
Hi I managed to book a hotel downtown yesterday but I can not now review the booking or enter the housing portal.
I get the following error when I press the green button.
and says on page
"You cannot access an existing Reservation via this method."
I have hit refresh and the booking does not appear, I have had an e-mail saying booking confirmed and I have an Acknowledgement number.
As I am based in UK I do not want to pay for long distance call to just check that all is OK? Is there anyone I can e-mail to discuss and share the Ack Number with to check that all is OK?
You can certainly email Q rooms at:
Thanks for the address, I have mailed them, no response to my e-mail - but some one has done something as I can now view the booking. Cheers
I don't understand the reservation process. I go to the housing portal and select my dates and click the green Select button on the available hotel of my choice. After that, it shows my hotel selected in the box where you enter the dates and click find. But that's it. I don't ever see any step to officially make the reservation or enter a payment method or anything. And if I refresh the other page like it says, it doesn't show anything new. It simply says my status is Housing Portal Accessible and a code beneath it. What am I doing wrong?
I finally found a video that explains the reservation process and I can confirm that I am doing everything correct. However, when I get to the point where the video says that the total amount will be calculated and a Next button will appear, this doesn't happen for me. No amount appears and no Next button. Also, the site admin who started this thread was online just a short while ago, but never responded to my help request, which has me worried that I'm not going to get help in time to make my reservations.