I'll keep this short so it gets read and hopefully a few replies.
A group of us are planning to attend 2019 Gen Con (Aug 1-4, 2019) and we'll each be registering here and buying our badges individually once they become available.
I THINK is it too soon to think about hotels (the connected ones seem to not be available).
So I THINK I should wait until the badges go on sale here (sometime in Jan or Feb of 2019), and then we should each immediately reserve a room through this site once we have our badge #s (or whatever we use to prove we've purchased badges). We'd then plan to make flight plans immediately after that.
Reasonable plan? Or am I missing something obvious?
Thanks for reading and for any comments ;)
I haven't had to bother with housing this year or last, because I am local. When I went in 2003 and 2004 I wasn't, but GenCon wasn't quite as popular then so I got downtown hotels pretty easily. From what I've heard, getting downtown rooms at an affordable price is pretty tricky no matter how far in advance you plan. People get those through the housing portal, which is on a lottery system.
If you can't get a good downtown hotel, as a contingency plan I always recommend getting an outlier hotel and parking at the World Wonders Garage in the Circle Center Mall. It is connected to the convention center via walkway. I keep forgetting the price for daily parking. Now, this will put a bit of a crimp in your group's ability to come and go since you will all have to leave at the same time if you're carpooling from your hotel. On the other hand, you'll be parked close to the convention center and can unload your swag in there throughout the day.
Thanks, mstabosz. Is there a section on the site that explains how the housing portal works? I looked quickly and couldn't find it. I didn't realize it was lottery based and based on comments of last year, they seemed to still have rooms until around July or so.
I'm flying in but don't plan to rent a car. If I can't get something directly connected, I'll Uber/Lyft as needed.
The housing Portal opens at a later date than badge preregistration.
When the housing portal does open, it is a lottery system that randomly assigns times to each badge.
Depending on what time you get greatly affects what is available downtown.
If I'm not picky, and just want some room connected to (or within walking distance of) the convention no matter what lottery generated time I get, is that likely? Or probably too much to ask?
Is there a page that describes how the lottery works?
From what I hear, all the rooms within walking distance sell out. An outlier hotel is not terrible, although of course anything you buy at the convention you will have to lug around with you all day. I am sleeping in my apartment of course, in southern Indianapolis right off I-465 exit 2. Each day of the convention I drive only about 6 miles to get to my parking space. Now my parking space is a mile from the convention center, but the only reason I don't park closer is because I work downtown and I'm already paying a monthly fee for that space. However, near my home there are 4 hotels: a Holiday Inn, a Super 8, a Travelodge, and some seedy looking no-name motel. You could probably Uber back and forth. I don't know what that would cost though. You can also take the Indygo number 22 bus in to town on Thursday and Friday (number 22 doesn't run on weekends). It stops at the transit center a few blocks from the convention. I wouldn't try to take the bus to get back though.
mikeboozer, thanks! That link answers all my questions. (I couldn't find it by navigating, probably just reading too quickly).
Thanks again all!
Rooms may become available outside of the block during the year - the hotels don't put 100% of their rooms in the portal - but you'll be paying full rack rate. If you're not willing to pay upwards of $500 per night, this won't help you, but if money is no object, a downtown room can usually be had if you look for it.
Essentially there is a lottery for your place in line to book a hotel room.
If four people create accounts and each buy a badge, you get four entries in the housing lottery, but each can only reserve one hotel room. If one account buys all four badges, you get one lottery entry and can reserve two rooms.
The housing block protects you from surge pricing on walking-distance hotel rooms. The block also contains hotels 7+ miles away, but there it isn't necessarily cheaper than booking a similar room directly from the hotel.
This year I believe the downtown rooms sold out in just under 4 hours.
Are the hotels within walking distance discounted when you go through the housing portal? I’ve been googling prices for them and they’re $200+ in July. I imagine they’re higher priced during the week of Gen Con.
Unless you have rewards with a hotel, it is generally better to get the portal rate.
Indy is the capital city so don't be surprised at the high hotel rates in and around the convention center. Even without the gencon, the city does a great deal of hotel business.
You can see 2018 hotel prices here.
We already booked a room about 10 minutes away for next year. I do this so I know what my worst option is and I keep my fingers crossed that I will get something good in the lottery. Has not happened for the last couple years so we just do the 10-minute Drive
A lot of the downtown hotels tend to let you book out-of-block starting September 1st. (Some may be in just a couple weeks) If you have some place in mind you'd like to stay, I suggest doing what ar6474 above said. Book a REFUNDABLE rate early, then do your best in the block lottery to see if you can get what you want for a better rate.
I was able to find a room downtown (out of block obviously) a mere 3 days before the con, and there were a handful of other hotels with single king rooms and larger suites still available as late as Tuesday being the last time I checked. The rates obviously were more than you would find in the block, but mine was $366 at The Conrad, with taxes/fees taking that up to about $425-ish per night.
It really comes down to how many people you are going to get in the room. If all you needed was sleeping space/game storage/shower, you could have easily gotten 5 people in the single king room I was at, and probably 6 if you know the people and are comfortable around them. (Just remember to keep those extra people on the DL if you are room-packing.)
deleted..... someone else already answered my question...
Already said but I would book something on your own as soon as you can, provided the hotel lets you cancel the reservation with no charge if you are able to get something you want in the housing block. I know people that literally check every day with the hotels they are interested in looking at to see if they can book a room on their own.
You'll have better luck booking directly with the hotel. Last year, I was able to book the Conrad at $200, 2 days after the convention. The have since fixed that issue this year! If you ABSOLUTELY have to stay downtown, get a backup room you can cancel with no penalties before the lottery. It takes away the stress.
I haven't seen anything pop up for next year at that good of a rate. I've seen about $400 a night at the Conrad and the Hilton. But that's all I've seen come up.
Maybe the Conrad had messed it up, but all the other hotels (Westin, both Marriots, Hilton) I tried to book last year right after the Con already had blocked out most of their rooms for this year's Con, and were charging high rates for any remaining rooms. I'm sure they have it figured out for next year as well.
I pity any poor sucker that has to travel to Indy the first week of August that isn't going to Gen Con, and wants to stay downtown. :-)