Best Practices for Being a Roommate?
Posted by rfsullivan

This will be my second year at GenCon, but my first year without a group. While the costs would be much more manageable with a roommate or roommates, I have never split lodging with strangers this way before, and had a few questions.

1) How does parking at a hotel (for in-city ones with restricted parking) work if it isn't your name on the room? Can you secure parking at the hotel, or do you need to park elsewhere in Indy?

2) How does one pay the person who has their name on the room? Partially up front, all up front or all on the day in question? Cash, check, or app?

3) How is the receipt of room keys coordinated? Are they picked up at the hotel desk, or exchanged face to face?

4) How much luggage/swag is acceptable to keep in a shared room? Last year my total load was 1 suitcase, 1 backpack, one mid-sized cooler, and a 24 pack of coke, would this need pared down or partially stored in the car?

5) Are there any matters of protocol/courtesy re: sharing living space with strangers in general or at GenCon in particular that would be beneficial to know in advance? 

Any guidance on the situation would be appreciated.

Posted by elvinlord

Assuming your talking about downtown hotels.
 1)The person that makes the reservation can add your name as a guest.  Generally the parking garages don't need a hotel room you treat them like a normal parking garage.  Usually I use gate ten parking because hotel parking is more expensive.

2) I generally have the person put down $100 up front money via PayPal then pay the rest when I hand over the keys.

3) it's best to set key exchange face to face.  I have had problems with hotels resetting the key cards if people pick up key cards after I have checked in.

4) your luggage loadout sounds normal.

5)I find it useful to discuss what time people are coming and going to figure out shower schedules & timesto get up and moving. It's also useful to determine if your roommate is looking for quiet room or room party central type of room.

Posted by chaoticneutral262

I would say don't be a slob.  Try not to make the room look like your suitcase exploded all over the place, dirty underwear and puddles of water all over the bathroom floor, etc.  And for the love of God, no mysterious hairs on the bar of soap.

Posted by nascragman

a complete stranger as a room mate is a big risk.

If your name is on the credit card that is reserving the room you have to be really careful.  Get the money up front, cash or app.  If they don't pay, don't give them the key.  If they don't have the money ready upfront, they have no intention of paying you ever.  Eat the cost and count yourself lucky.

Do not leave any valuables in the room. Check an ID so you know the persons actual name and address.  Take a picture of your room mate and send it to a friend or post it on-line.

How are you finding this person?  Do they have any references?  Are you capable of defending yourself if things go horribly wrong?

Posted by komoridarkclaw

I have had a random roommate several times over the years. I have never had a problem with any of them really. These are the steps I took.

First, I always tried to talk other friends into coming first. It was usually we had a group of 3 (all males of ~30 years old) and a 2 queen room. I left the one space open in our 2 queen rooms for a fourth person up until after event registration. At this point, those that are looking for a room are pretty serious about coming.

From there, if it looked like we weren't going to fill the last one, I would post in this forum (only the official gen con forums, don't look outside that) with the details, asking the people interested to DM me, not just reply to the thread. If they didn't DM, they didn't have the reading comprehension to be worth going further so that weeded out the worst.

Have some conversations in DMs. Be upfront with what you expect (Especially the payment amount, time, and method!) and what you are doing ("We have late events every night so plan for us to come back to the room after 2am" or whatever). You can get a decent feel for someone from these conversations.

I only ever took full payment for their share (1/4th of the total listed price in the housing portal, + you expect to get any incidental charges repaid) upfront, in cash (via paypal), usually at least a month in advance. That will weed out a potential scammer as they wont want to pay that much that early.

From there, most people still interested at this point are just looking for a place to crash and shower before going back to the convention center so you might never even see them except when sleeping. To be safe, I kept whatever cash I brought for the con on my person or locked up and locked my baggage when I was not in the room.

YMMV, Anecdotal evidence, 3 men are safer than 3 women, yadda yadda yadda, but it has worked out so far for about 4 years and we'll probably have a space again this year to try again.

~Komori
 

Posted by rfsullivan

Thank you to everyone for your responses. 

Usually I use gate ten parking because hotel parking is more expensive.

Is the Gate 10 shuttle ok with dropping off people w/luggage at hotels, or would I be better off securing a Lyft for the first and last full-load trips?
I would say don't be a slob...

Indeed. Unless it's something that needs to be left out (like a wet bathing suit), I do tend to repack my case as I go.
a complete stranger as a room mate is a big risk...

Is it a manageable risk, or one not worth the reward? Are reasonable precautions (seeing and photographing ID, keeping others in the loop, storing valuables/swag in the vehicle, locking luggage, etc.) sufficient, or is it a non-starter?
It was usually we had a group of 3 (all males of ~30 years old) and a 2 queen room...

In a two bed room with 3+ people, are people sleeping on the floor?

The DM requirement is good; reminds me of the old story about Van Halen putting the note in their rider about the green M&Ms to make sure the promoter/venue actually read it.

Posted by funny-shaped dice rfsullivan

rfsullivan wrote:In a two bed room with 3+ people, are people sleeping on the floor?

Depends.

You *really* want to work that out with the roommates before you show up. I’ve chosen to sleep on the floor rather than share a bed with someone I don’t know — but then I also expected to pay less than the people who slept in the beds.

You really have to over-communicate on expectations when the roomies are strangers.
 

Posted by brotherbock nascragman

nascragman wrote:
a complete stranger as a room mate is a big risk.
If your name is on the credit card that is reserving the room you have to be really careful.  Get the money up front, cash or app.  If they don't pay, don't give them the key.  If they don't have the money ready upfront, they have no intention of paying you ever.  Eat the cost and count yourself lucky.
Do not leave any valuables in the room. Check an ID so you know the persons actual name and address.  Take a picture of your room mate and send it to a friend or post it on-line.
How are you finding this person?  Do they have any references?  Are you capable of defending yourself if things go horribly wrong?

Post their picture online? With or without their permission?

Posted by rayken

1) How does parking at a hotel (for in-city ones with restricted parking) work if it isn't your name on the room? Can you secure parking at the hotel, or do you need to park elsewhere in Indy?

You simply park. Give them a room number, a guest last name, or tell them you need to check in. It's that simple. If it's a downtown hotel expect parking to be full, though. 

 2) How does one pay the person who has their name on the room? Partially up front, all up front or all on the day in question? Cash, check, or app?

As someone who has attended GenCon for 14 years, and has been rooming with a stranger for the past 4 years (my name is on the reservation), I require full payment up front from the tenant or the tenant doesn't get a room key. I ONLY accept payment via PayPal for goods and services.

Make sure this person is paying you with a secure app like PayPal and make sure you know their full first and last name, with phone number. Also get a picture of the reservation for proof. Or switch and reverse if you're paying them.

 3) How is the receipt of room keys coordinated? Are they picked up at the hotel desk, or exchanged face to face?

I meet the person who is staying with me face to face, shake his hand, talk to him, etc. and then hand over the room key. I usually go up with him, talk about beds, determine shared space, etc. and that's pretty much it. This is where I set extra ground rules if I didn't clarify before. Like no coming in drunk at 4 AM and vomiting.

 4) How much luggage/swag is acceptable to keep in a shared room? Last year my total load was 1 suitcase, 1 backpack, one mid-sized cooler, and a 24 pack of coke, would this need pared down or partially stored in the car?

Everything you can fit in your designated area is all yours. If you're paying, I would expect the person to be cool with that as long as your stuff isn't all over the room or in his space.

 5) Are there any matters of protocol/courtesy re: sharing living space with strangers in general or at GenCon in particular that would be beneficial to know in advance? 

Most people don't seem to mind. As long as you're not in their way and aren't trying to follow them around you should be good to go. 

Bit of a bad story: Keep convo light. I stayed with a guy who would not stop talking at night and kept me up for like 2 extra hours. He also waited until I left the following morning and started going with me to the con. This is not a buddy hang out or like, pay for a friend. You're there on your own, sharing a room. Needless to say I never stayed with that guy again.

Posted by funny-shaped dice rayken

rayken wrote:Bit of a bad story: Keep convo light. I stayed with a guy who would not stop talking at night and kept me up for like 2 extra hours. He also waited until I left the following morning and started going with me to the con. This is not a buddy hang out or like, pay for a friend. You're there on your own, sharing a room. Needless to say I never stayed with that guy again.

This is really good advice here.

Make sure you and your roomie are on the same page - if this is merely a financial transaction for you and its a "buddy adventure" for the other person, you need to firm up that line really quickly.

I've done the stranger-roomie thing before as well - and I'm with rayken: its a financial transaction, not a buddy romance.  :)

Posted by brotherbock

If you snore, tell your potential roomies about it in advance, and bring (new and sealed) earplugs to give to them. Do not suddenly surprise them with the fact that you will (unintentionally) be doing something that may keep them from getting to sleep.

Also, spend some time working out with everyone in the room when you all need to be leaving each morning, so a shower/bathroom schedule can be worked out. Do this in advance too, so no one wakes up to get to their early morning game and cannot get in for the shower they planned on taking.

General theme: talk about everything in advance.

Posted by rayken funny-shaped dice

funny-shaped dice wrote:
rayken wrote:Bit of a bad story: Keep convo light. I stayed with a guy who would not stop talking at night and kept me up for like 2 extra hours. He also waited until I left the following morning and started going with me to the con. This is not a buddy hang out or like, pay for a friend. You're there on your own, sharing a room. Needless to say I never stayed with that guy again.

This is really good advice here.Make sure you and your roomie are on the same page - if this is merely a financial transaction for you and its a "buddy adventure" for the other person, you need to firm up that line really quickly.
I've done the stranger-roomie thing before as well - and I'm with rayken: its a financial transaction, not a buddy romance.  :)

I realize now the way I wrote that could have sounded pretty mean/anti-social, but at the time it was really miserable and I didn't want to be rude. It put me in an overall bad position most of the con that year because I had to avoid all spaces where he was and had to stay out of the room longer than I wanted if he was around. It could potentially have ended up with him following me around or just talking non-stop. Or worse, walking and talking non-stop. 

ALSO... He paid less and agreed to sleep on the floor... And ended up sleeping in bed with the other roommate I had promised the bed to. The other person I was with was insanely nice and let it go, though. I apologized so much to that guy but he was so laid back about it. I think he knew the guy was just the kind of guy you had to ignore or get over.

When I did end up getting away from him all was fine. But there were moments at night when we were all in the room and moments where we bumped into each other during the con and those were hell. I will always want to avoid anything similar to that in the future because having that small concern on your mind is stupid for a 4 day fun event.

Posted by darkbrandon

bathroom schedule.  Keep one and use it (for shower and grooming).

Posted by nascragman brotherbock

brotherbock wrote:
nascragman wrote:
a complete stranger as a room mate is a big risk.
If your name is on the credit card that is reserving the room you have to be really careful.  Get the money up front, cash or app.  If they don't pay, don't give them the key.  If they don't have the money ready upfront, they have no intention of paying you ever.  Eat the cost and count yourself lucky.
Do not leave any valuables in the room. Check an ID so you know the persons actual name and address.  Take a picture of your room mate and send it to a friend or post it on-line.
How are you finding this person?  Do they have any references?  Are you capable of defending yourself if things go horribly wrong?

Post their picture online? With or without their permission?

I suppose it's more polite to ask.  My point is that you need to make an effort to turn this anonymous person into someone who is known to the people who care about you in case anything tragic happens.

Posted by brotherbock nascragman

nascragman wrote:
brotherbock wrote:
nascragman wrote:
a complete stranger as a room mate is a big risk.
If your name is on the credit card that is reserving the room you have to be really careful.  Get the money up front, cash or app.  If they don't pay, don't give them the key.  If they don't have the money ready upfront, they have no intention of paying you ever.  Eat the cost and count yourself lucky.
Do not leave any valuables in the room. Check an ID so you know the persons actual name and address.  Take a picture of your room mate and send it to a friend or post it on-line.
How are you finding this person?  Do they have any references?  Are you capable of defending yourself if things go horribly wrong?

Post their picture online? With or without their permission?

I suppose it's more polite to ask.  My point is that you need to make an effort to turn this anonymous person into someone who is known to the people who care about you in case anything tragic happens.

Agreed about that, to be sure. Make sure your friends know what they look like. But speaking as someone who three times in the last two months has had to tell people to stop Facetiming friends from the public locker room, I definitely am not agreeing to a potential roommate posting my picture online. I avoid social media these days for a reason :)

Posted by ericbaugh
#16

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