Curious why rooms went quicker this time
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Posted by mattnaik

Last year I think the cutoff for downtown rooms was sometime after the 2 hour mark (2.5 if i remember correctly). This year it seemed to be around the 1.5 hour mark. Any speculation why that would change? Especially with the snafu of people "cutting in line" due to the glitch last year. If the people are flowing into the system at the same rate as last year, why would they be gone quicker?

Possibilities:


  • Less rooms in the block
  • Staggering of queue times was less (more people given access in a shorter period of time)

Can anyone else think of any reasons why this would happen?

Posted by hawkeye

More people in general? Maybe someone from Gen Con can confirm with how many badges were sold between badge registration and housing opening last year and this year. I think that would be a big factor.

Posted by mattnaik

But more people would just mean a longer queue. The idea is with the timer people are entering the housing site at the same rate each year. Or so I thought. 

Posted by truelink

Last year I had a 2 - 2.5 hour time like this year, after that time, I don't believe there were any downtown rooms available.

But still, I can think of a two major reasons that rooms were purchased faster this year:

1. Experience. Attendees are now used to the system. They've had time to digest it. They know that everyone in their party needs a badge within 2 hours of release to maximize chances. They know that everyone should be ready to grab a room, even if they are not typically the person who does that. This means that there will be less blanks--lottery slots resulting in no change to the hotel pool. But really, this shouldn't surprise us. We're gamers: breaking down rules and fitting them to our advantage is what we do.

2. Speed. One of the primary reasons behind the hotel lottery is to reduce server load and prevent the crashing and kick-outs that occurred in the past. Last year was the trial run, and as such they may have purposefully underestimated what their servers can handle to keep things smooth. Let's say they let one more person grab a room every minute (just an example.) After looking back, they may have realized that they can let one person grab a room every 40 seconds. This will cause the rooms to disappear faster in time, but won't affect the number of people that had to go through the line.

Posted by cbudoris

It did seem like the downtown rooms went quicker this year.  Since GC has never told anyone what % of the rooms the hotels dedicate to the block, its almost impossible to say that was a factor.  The one thing I noticed was that most hotels didn't even offer rooms in the months leading up to the hotel reg, even at the hyper-inflated rates; that doesn't support any kind of theory that the block shrunk. 

Could be that there were more set-asides for GMs, volunteers and VIGs.  Pure speculatoin on my part, and not sure if that would have made the material impact we saw with housing going so quick. 

The one thing you didn't hear about this year was computer glitches with the portal.  So if technically everything was smooth sailing, more people got processed in the first hour or so (compared to last year) and the rooms just went quicker.

Posted by hawkeye

There was also the issue of rooms disapering from people's carts. That room would no longer be available since it was technically in a cart, but that person got kicked back to the beginning. Once that room expired it was release back into the pool. That would also cause the downtown rooms to be available later than this year.

Posted by mattnaik

All great ideas and all seem like very real possibilities.

Posted by david campbell

Is seemed to be around the same pace this year; there was a post on Reddit counting down what was availbile when, and it looked like all of downtown was gone by around 1:20 in.... my time was 1:30, of course. And my time was actually identical to last year (an hour thirty) and they were gone just before I hit the queue as well.

By 1:20 they were still reporting Kings at the Omni (my actual first choice) and I was optimistic, but when I actually got in the closest was Candlewood Suites two miles out. 

Posted by demadog

The downtown rooms definately went quicker this year.  Last year we were able to get a double at the conrad at the 1:15 hour mark and a king at the conrad at the 2:00 hour mark.  This year at the 50min mark there were no doubles available downtown, we did get a king at the JW.  Then at the 1:15 mark this year there were no downtown rooms available at all.

My guesses as to why;

1. Exhibit Hall expansion means more exhibitors who have preferenctial room selection.
2. Agree with above, people ready to best take advantage of the new system.
3. Agree with above, the system running smoothly for more people.
4. General growth, even another 5% this year tightens the room market some.

I guess the next question would be, what can be done?  The problem is they are under contract with Indy, but even if they weren't, Indy offers a fairly unique combination of contiguous exhibit space, hotel rooms within 6 blocks, central location in US, and near-by restuarants and bars.  The only place I can think that might be similar is Atlanta, but that is a HUGE space and many of the hotels would be in the 6-12 block range in the Georgia summer (whilt).  Besides I think Indy has grown to like us as much as it seems we like them, so I think they need to invest some of our economic influx back into infrastructure and build another 1000 rooms near the center.  They worried that when the JW went up it would split business, but it seems to have only attracted more, so hopefully any additional rooms would do the same.

Posted by jedibcg

Indy is looking at more hotels in the downtown area.  If I can find the article I will include a link.  It still is not that many more rooms.  And no clue how many if any would be part of the Gen Con block which we haven't a clue as to how many rooms that is because Gen Con says it is not public information.  It could be the number of in block rooms went down.

Here is an older article:
http://www.ibj.com/articles/50359-new-hotels-to-arrive-in-downtown-indy-just-as-visitor-traffic-slows
But I know I saw a more recently one that talked about 5 to 6 hotels in Indy's future.

Posted by demadog

Thanks jedibcg, perhaps those are the rooms we are looking for.

The article seems to indicate that there are at least 3 new hotels on the way, Home2Suites, Canopy, and Aloft/Element with about 565 rooms.  It also says that represents an 8% increase in supply, which would put the current amount of rooms around 7100,  but i think that takes off-campus rooms into account.  The Indy Convention website brags that more than half of the 7100+ plus rooms are within 6 blocks.  I thought i remember seeing the downtown hotel space at about 5600 rooms, comparable to Minneapolis.  If that is so, then those hotels would be more like a 10% increase to downtown capacity, which may be enough to carry Gencon through a few more years.

While I'm just speculating, it seems doubtful the hotel block decreased overall this year.  I believe the Alexander and Le Meridian were small but new additions this year.  Also, I think that prior to last year the Conrad was not part of the block either.

 

Posted by father bloodlust

No, Le Meridien was there last year. And before last year, it was called The Canterbury.

And the Conrad has been part of the block as long as I can remember (2011 or so). I know because it's always the most ridiculously overpriced hotel in the block.

Posted by jedibcg

Home2Suites will be open for Gen Con by the way it is an old article.  It opens April this year.  So I don't know how many block rooms it may have added but it is on this list.  As I mentioned there is a more recent article that had more hotels.  It also said Indy has passed Minneapolis with having more rooms connected to its convention center.

Found the article about connections
http://www.indystar.com/story/money/2014/04/19/convention-city-convention-centers-growth-vaults-indy-upper-tier/7925309/

Exactly 4,720 hotels rooms are connected via tunnels and skywalks to the Convention Center, more than any other city in the nation. (Minneapolis, which has 4,654 rooms, had been first in the nation prior to the Indiana Convention Center's 2011 expansion.)

Le Meridian used to be Canterbury so it isn't new.

And finally found the more recent article
http://www.ibj.com/articles/55356-rising-occupancies-spur-downtown-hotel-building-boom

It lists 5 new hotels with one of them being Homes2Suite.

Posted by taymaria cbudoris

cbudoris wrote:
It did seem like the downtown rooms went quicker this year.  Since GC has never told anyone what % of the rooms the hotels dedicate to the block, its almost impossible to say that was a factor.  The one thing I noticed was that most hotels didn't even offer rooms in the months leading up to the hotel reg, even at the hyper-inflated rates; that doesn't support any kind of theory that the block shrunk. 

I do know, however, that a lot of people reserved their rooms in advance after last GenCon because they didn't want to go through the lottery system again.  This had to have made some sort of an impact somewhere.  I would imagine the percentage of people reserving at check-out was higher, and - therefore - less rooms in the lottery this year.  

Can anyone confirm?

Posted by father bloodlust

I dunno about anyone else, but as far as looking for rooms right after last year's GenCon, when I checked Trivago the rooms either weren't there or were selling for the same inflated rates as they are now.

Posted by ryric

I'd argue with your basic premise - I had a 1 hour, 45 minute time last year and all the downtown rooms were gone. Hour and a half is extremely consistent with last year's outcome.

Posted by jbship628

It is probably a combination of all these factors.  I had a time at just under an hour, and I saw the last 4 person room get taken roughly at the 1-hour mark. After that, it seemed to be just king rooms that had a max occupancy of 2. (Uh huh, suuuuuuure)

I do know that pretty much every hotel did open rooms at insanely high prices between September and October. (I stopped checking after that)  Though with the issues of last year, I wouldn't doubt that some less budget-restricted folk actually took the hotels up on those rates, which may have reduced the amount of rooms in the block at certain hotels, especially when many of those rates became cancellable. Basically it allowed people to hedge their bets.

Something I just thought about is that with the rise in attendance the past few years, the cost of hotels in the relatively close proximity have been rising as hotels keep inching their rates higher and higher since they know they will sell.  I stayed at the Ramada by the airport in 2010 and had a 45 dollar rate per night, that was booked out of block.  That same room is currently 85 dollars per night. I have to imagine other hotels have also increased rates, which reduces the money saved by staying on the edges of Indy.

I am that way. It got to the point where I was like: "If we are going to pay 125 for a room 5 miles away and pay for parking and have to coordinate with everyone when we are coming and going, why not just spend the extra 50-75 bucks per night (as a group) and have full access to downtown.

So the value in downtown keeps increasing as it decreases elsewhere.

Posted by demadog

Thanks again jedibcg, i'm getting a not-so-bad feeling about this.

The latest article seems to indicate several more 150-200 room hotels coming soon.  Although it may lack the splashy impact of a mega-complex like JW, it may be enough to reverse the Gencon trend downtown.  Also, one great thing to see is that Chris Gahl continues working on the issue.  Still, it seems he had suspiciously similar quotes from one year to the next.  C'mon Chirs be original, we are counting on you like we did with Abrams.  Oh wait.

Additionaly, I can vouge for the rediculousness of the overpricing on the Conrad.  I stayed there last year and it was nothing special.  They did however offer us free bottles of water while we gabbed in the lobby at 3 am.  Maybe that was it.

Posted by jasonlbecker

Three of us logged in yesterday, each one of us were in a different time block, 1 hr, 2 hr, and 3 hr.  I was running a tournament and luckily someone arrived right at the time it was supposed to start, so I delay it a few minutes while the buddy with the 1 hr time was able to try and book at 1:01pm.  At that point there were no "downtown" rooms available, so we took one that was a couple miles away.  

Last year I was in about the 1.5 hour mark and was still able to get a room at the Spring Hill Suites, where my wife and I have been staying for the past 4 years.

Posted by kjelstad

better server?

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