Badge and Event Pre-pay
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Posted by tralex

I have enjoyed my GenCon experience that two years I have gone. So much so that I would like to bring my son and grandson along. But $330 (at last years price) is a fair amount of money at once. And I don't even know this year's price. That plus getting e-tickets to events can run to a lot of money.

I wish I could fund my GenCon a little at a time. If I could put money in my account every paycheck and/or fund my son's and grandson's accounts each paycheck that would be great. Plus I could afford more events rather than having to come up with all that money right after Christmas.

I think that would be a great idea for GenCon and would allow all of us to be more able to attend and to spend more money while there. Heck, it would be great if I could have an account that would be spendable at the event for games and merch. Then I really would spend more money there.

Bill Lambert
GenCon@Bill-Lambert.com

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Posted by helenbb

You only pay for badges in January. Event registration is in May and you will pay for those tickets at that time. 

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

You're asking Gen Con to become a bank/finance company?  That's not their job.  Find a bank with a free savings account and deposit your money there.

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Posted by cincinatas

Honestly if you want to spread out the cost of the badges you can. You do not have to buy the badges all at once or even have to buy them in January. You could very feasibly buy your badge in February, your son's in March, and your grandson's in April if you wanted to (or any order there of).  So long as you are not concerned about getting into the housing lottery, the last day you have to buy a badge and get your best shot at being able to get the tickets for the events you really want to attend is May 18th. Even then if you are buying the badges for others and you are also wanting to get a shot at the housing lottery, you still only need to buy one badge in January since the lottery time assignments are per account, not per badge.

As to paying for the event tickets those you don't even need to begin to worry about until you can start building your Wishlist probably around April 29th at the earliest. If you want to know how much to save up for that, it may be best to take whatever the average you spent on events the last few years and triple that to get an idea of the amount you should be targeting to save for that. Outside of really big ticket and continually high demand events like True Dungeon, a lot of event ticket costs stay pretty flat year to year.
 

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Posted by tralex

No, buffythecatslayer, I am asking GenCon to accept and make money. Something they are pretty good at doing. If they take in revenue early that gives them money they do not have to pay interest on and can work with. Why do you thing so many businesses give you premiums for buying gift or prepay cards? You need to understand the value of future money versus current money.

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Posted by tralex

I just checked. I have $38 in credit in my GenCon account. They are able to hold money for me. They do not need to become a "bank/finance company"; they all ready are.
Yes, I could put that money into an account elsewhere. I was suggesting a way for GenCon to make a few bucks and make it easier for their attendees. There is an advantage for them in that I may come up with a reason I could not attend this year and they would get to keep my money for another year. Heck, I could even die and they would get to keep those funds.,
Don't be surprised if, as a smart company, GenCon acts on my suggestion.
 

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

There is a difference between them holding credit as a refund for merchandise paid for, and accepting cash deposits into an account.  That makes them act like a bank, and there are probably a host of laws covering it, including possibly paying interest.  Even if they could do it legally, why should they?  They would have to have someone process deposits sent by check (kind of useless to take them by credit due to the fees they pay), which takes away employee time.

As a smart company, they definitely should not act on your suggestion.  Gen Con's job is to put on the convention, not to manage your money.

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Posted by andrewj.rager

There are plenty of people who have created savings accounts, have amounts taken out of each paycheck and placed directly into that savings account.

Just do that.

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Posted by braewe

I have suggested for the past year or so that they offer gift cards in various amounts to be purchased and they have never done that, but that would be a way for you to do it too, if they ever go that route. You'd just buy yourself the gift cards. ;)

It just would be so nice to buy some system credit for friends. :) that way THEY could decide where it goes(badge or games) and if I wanted to gift them a smaller amount than a badge, I could.

 

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Posted by gib_rebeg braewe

braewe wrote:
I have suggested for the past year or so that they offer gift cards in various amounts to be purchased and they have never done that, but that would be a way for you to do it too, if they ever go that route. You'd just buy yourself the gift cards. ;)
It just would be so nice to buy some system credit for friends. :) that way THEY could decide where it goes(badge or games) and if I wanted to gift them a smaller amount than a badge, I could.
 
I like the idea of gift cards. I know some who would love to give them out as xmas gifts. But I also think Gencon uses the system like this to counter multi accounts trying to game the hotel lottery system. By tracking the CC cards used.

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Posted by lord thrifty the cromulent tralex

tralex wrote:
I just checked. I have $38 in credit in my GenCon account. They are able to hold money for me. They do not need to become a "bank/finance company"; they all ready are.
Yes, I could put that money into an account elsewhere. I was suggesting a way for GenCon to make a few bucks and make it easier for their attendees. There is an advantage for them in that I may come up with a reason I could not attend this year and they would get to keep my money for another year. Heck, I could even die and they would get to keep those funds.,
Don't be surprised if, as a smart company, GenCon acts on my suggestion.
 

The problem is that a system like you propose does not just spring into existence.  If it were online, which it probably would be since it's 2018, they would have to hire programmers to design, implement, and maintain this system.  If it were entirely offline, they would still have to hire staff to keep track of it, albeit a different kind of staff. 

Point is, it would cost money.  It would be a risky expense too, because the appeal of this program is too narrow for wide adoption.  How many people will want to lock up their money for several months?  How does GenCon make money off this?

I don't see why you don't pay for things over the course of the year, or just put money in a savings account.  When I did my first two GenCons in 2003 and 2004, my whole group contributed money over the course of the year, which I put into a plastic box.  It was probably risky leaving that kind of cash lying around, but it worked.

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Posted by tralex

braewe, you shed some interesting light on this topic. Thanks.

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Posted by mikeboozer

I'll let you know that Gen Con has no plans to implement either of these (gift card/savings account) at this time.
We are of course very interested in your feedback, and like to hear suggestions to improve the convention whenever you have them. So please don't stop sending them to us.

Mike Boozer
Customer Service & Event Team Manager
Gen Con LLC

 

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Posted by audioslave

Holding credit is a function of any money generating company in the world, so it's not a matter of ability, but taking payments as a holding account is a banking function.

May I make a suggestion?

SmartyPig

We use this every year we go to GenCon, which is every year since 2005. Basically you go in, set up your bank routing number and account and either the frequency and amount in which you want money withdrawn and held in a separate account, or the total amount and the due date, and it will set up the withdrawal plan for you. Every year without fail, our finances line up perfectly, and we don't take a big hit (in terms of cash spent) all at once. As soon as the con is over, it starts again, and then we dump it into our checking account again the week before the next con. 

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

Gift cards would be nice, but they would probably be a money loser for Gen Con.  Setting up the system to handle them and possibly hiring additional personnel would be a substantial investment.  Offset this against how people would use those gift cards in a way that actually increases revenue.

Let's say you buy your friend Jan a $25 card.  There are only 2 ways that GC makes money off that.  Option one, Jan decides to take the extra money and attend the Con for an additional day.  This only works if she's local enough to commute there, and was not attending all 4 days already.  Option two, Jan now has enough money to attend events that she was not able to without it.  Option one is very situational.  Option two requires that the extra events she attends would have to be ones that would not have sold out without her, negating the popular & higher cost ones like TD.

Would there be enough of these extra day/event attendees to offset the cost of creating & administering the gift card program in the first place?  Seems doubtful to me.  Large retailers & restaurants sell cards because they have millions of customers.  The cards are a loss-leader to bring people in and spend even more money.  Also, they're a way to give gifts to people in lieu of cash.  Gen Con's pool of attendees is about 60,000, of whom only a fraction would use the cards.  Most of GC's attendees are going to attend anyway, so there is no loss-lead aspect.  For those not able to afford a badge, if their friend would give them a card to pay for it, they would most likely just give them the cash if there are no gift cards so no revenue there.

In all, a nice idea, but one that has to be tempered against the realities of cost vs. benefit.

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Posted by jamster2022 buffythecatslayer

buffythecatslayer wrote:
Gift cards would be nice, but they would probably be a money loser for Gen Con.  Setting up the system to handle them and possibly hiring additional personnel would be a substantial investment.  Offset this against how people would use those gift cards in a way that actually increases revenue.
Let's say you buy your friend Jan a $25 card.  There are only 2 ways that GC makes money off that.  ...
The third way Gen Con would make money would arguably be the most appealing to them: gift cards are essentially interest-free loans to Gen Con. Depending on how popular the program is (how intensely marketed), this could be a substantial amount of money for the company.

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

The third way Gen Con would make money would arguably be the most appealing to them: gift cards are essentially interest-free loans to Gen Con. Depending on how popular the program is (how intensely marketed), this could be a substantial amount of money for the company.

This is the same argument the OP made, and it's completely bogus.  First, Gen Con is not a finance company or a bank.  They make money by putting on the convention, not through playing games with floating interest.  Second, there is no substantial amount of money to be made.  With the best interest rates they could get, they would have to sell several million dollars worth of cards to make up the cost of the program.  Sorry, that's not going to happen.
 

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Posted by jamster2022 buffythecatslayer

buffythecatslayer wrote:
The third way Gen Con would make money would arguably be the most appealing to them: gift cards are essentially interest-free loans to Gen Con. Depending on how popular the program is (how intensely marketed), this could be a substantial amount of money for the company.

This is the same argument the OP made, and it's completely bogus.  First, Gen Con is not a finance company or a bank.  They make money by putting on the convention, not through playing games with floating interest.  Second, there is no substantial amount of money to be made.  With the best interest rates they could get, they would have to sell several million dollars worth of cards to make up the cost of the program.  Sorry, that's not going to happen.

 

I'm not saying it is or isn't going to happen, or that it should or shouldn't happen. I was simply pointing out a REASON that companies engage in this activity. The point is that IF there is demand, then there would be a substantial amount of money to made in this line (even at 5% (well, well below the yield that Gen Con could get for an issuance), that would be a lot of money if the sales were high enough). And, by the way, as far as I can tell, most purveyors of gift cards are not banks or financial institutions. They are direct-to-consumer retail and travel companies. 

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Posted by buffythecatslayer

It must be nice to live in your fantasy world, where companies get services and labor for free, and banks pay interest out at the prime rate.

I live in the real world, where each additional employee costs in excess of $25k/year, banks pay maybe 2-3% annually on significant deposits, and every credit card transaction has a 2-4% fee.  A quick back-of-the-napkin calculation shows Gen Con would have to sell about $40 worth of gift cards for each of the 60,000 attendees to just break even in the first year, and that’s without CC fees.  Add those in, and they would gain no money on cards, even if they held the money for months.

Also, you need to learn to read. I specifically said gift cards were sold by retailers and restaurants, because they can afford the cost due to the loss-lead aspect.  Gencon only sells badges and events, there is nothing to make up the cost of the cards.

But please, tell us all how to get to your world. I know my business would definitely do well there.

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Posted by roderick

Just a PSA: please watch the snark, or potential snark. I don't want to shut this thread down. 

Roderick Robertson
Forum Coordinator 
Gen Con, LLC. 

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