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Problems with Hotel Registration

Last post 02-14-2007 8:46 AM by MadCity. 101 replies.
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  • 02-12-2007 11:49 PM In reply to

    • AlanDeSmet
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    Here's my assessment of what went wrong (taken from my full complaint).

    No one double checked the start time. Someone from Gen Con probably should have checked that they and the convention center were in agreement.

    Use of "12:00 AM" instead of "midnight." Too many people get confused about the difference between 12:00 AM and 12:00 PM. It's easier to just have software say midnight or noon to keep things obvious. It's an easy mistake to make; I made it myself for years until I implemented software to do te 12:00 AM to midnight conversion, that really drove it home.

    Canceling the rooms. By canceling the rooms they created new problems. People who thought they had housing sorted out, then didn't check their email until the next evening would discover they went from having a great room to essentially having nothing. The time necessary to cancel all of the rooms meant that the official registration time had to be pushed back, causing problems for anyone who specifically arranged free time in the middle of the work day to register.

    The delay in sending email notifications. My room was canceled at 10:26 AM, but email notification about what was happening didn't get sent until 11:49 AM. The notification took about an hour to go out because they emailed their entire list, probably tens of thousands of messages. Notifying the 200 people who had reserved rooms early could have been nearly instantaneous.

    Too slow web site. Maybe they need to throw more hardware at the problem. Maybe they need more bandwidth. Maybe they need better software. It doesn't matter. Gen Con is one of the biggest conventions they host. If Indianapolis a reputation of being able to host large conventions, they need to prove that they have the ability to do it.

    Not enough rooms in the block. Sites like Expedia are offering rooms at some of the hotels. Gen Con can clearly consume all available space. Clearly those rooms should have been included in the block. If that's not enough rooms then there is a bigger problem and Indianapolis clearly fails at being able to handle Gen Con.

    Lack of a priority system. Even fixing all of the above, there is too much contention for the nearest hotels. When staggering back to your hotel tired, drunk, or both at 2 in the morning, proximity is important. Some people would like a lottery system, but I'm not fond of it. A lottery system would just encourage scalping, rewarding people who get lucky. The more honest system would be to let capitalism work. One option is to increase prices for the nearby hotels. Another option would be an auction system. Gen Con partially implemented this system with the "Very Important Gamer" passes, but it's bundled with stuff I expect your average gamer is uninterested in and overpriced. (Tellingly, at Gen Con Indy 2006 they said it would only be available through the end of Gen Con Indy 2006. More than half of the 150 or so tickets are still available for sale.)

    Ultimately hotel registration is run by the convention center. They have no incentive to improve the situation. Gen Con needs to lean hard on the convention center to fix this for next year. This debacle makes Gen Con look sloppy and incompetent.

    There isn't much Gen Con can do in the meanwhile to fix this year. One thing I certainly hope they do is to provide exceptional bus service to and from the further away hotels. The bus service will need to address real gaming hours, which means busses as early as, say, 7 AM so gamers can make 8 AM games with ease, and that run as late as 2 or 3 AM. To be useful they need to be frequent, perhaps running every fifteen minutes. A frequent, extended hours bus service would take much of the sting out of having to stay miles away.

  • 02-13-2007 4:02 AM In reply to

    • PatEllis15
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    AlanDeSmet:

    Here's my assessment of what went wrong (taken from my full complaint).

    No one double checked the start time.

    Use of "12:00 AM" instead of "midnight."

    Canceling the rooms.

    The delay in sending email notifications.

    Too slow web site.

    Not enough rooms in the block.

    Lack of a priority system.

    Ultimately hotel registration is run by the convention center. They have no incentive to improve the situation. Gen Con needs to lean hard on the convention center to fix this for next year. This debacle makes Gen Con look sloppy and incompetent.

    There isn't much Gen Con can do in the meanwhile to fix this year. One thing I certainly hope they do is to provide exceptional bus service to and from the further away hotels. The bus service will need to address real gaming hours, which means busses as early as, say, 7 AM so gamers can make 8 AM games with ease, and that run as late as 2 or 3 AM. To be useful they need to be frequent, perhaps running every fifteen minutes. A frequent, extended hours bus service would take much of the sting out of having to stay miles away.

     

    Great Summary.  They can make some amends if they quickly redo the hotels again with several days notice for people to make arrangements.  that is what is currently burning me up the most.  That I got I call 20 minutes to 12 saying I didn't have a reservation, and that I would have to be on at 2:00 (never part of my plan...) to get one.  Grrrr...

     

    Pat E

  • 02-13-2007 4:04 AM In reply to

    • Jenn
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    tabrumj:

    Jenn:
    The HIlton is pretty good - we stayed there a couple of years ago. The rooms are pretty big, and the outdoor pool on the roof is awesome. But the lack of breakfast is quite sad...*sniff*

     An outdoor pool on the Roof? That is so incredibly cool. Well I guess I know what I will be doing Wendsday night.

     

    Alas, I was wrong - I was thinking of the Radisson, where we stayed the year before. The Hilton does have an indoor pool, and whirlpool which are quite nice! 

  • 02-13-2007 4:09 AM In reply to

    • Jenn
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    PunkRockSonja:

    This is so odd, I don't ever remember it selling out this quickly years past. And if they are holding alot of rooms for the VIG's I hope they release some. At least after next week. I understand saying well if they buy it they want the same perks.

     

    That's what I'm confused about! In the past when we haven't need a suite, we've waited a day or so after housing reg began, and got double rooms w/out a problem. Why did they go so fast this year? Are more people planning on attending? Did they not block off enough rooms for some reason? Anyone know?

     

     

  • 02-13-2007 4:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    The only thing I can guess is they blocked off alot of these for the VIG's. But also I saw in another thread that the paskeey site took 50,000 hits at 2:00 pm. So if there were 50,000 people on the website at that time and let's just say 25,000 of those people got a room. What if I don't know where I was going with that.

    I just know it's obivious Gen Con just got a lot bigger this coming year. I just don't understand how the rooms went so fast, I mean I'd like to see numbers from the previous years. Is there a serious increase cause of the cancel of So-Cal? Is that what caused the server to crash yesterday? Maybe that's why it was so high? Maybe people just picked up extra rooms to pawn off later just to get what they wanted?

    I just hope we get some answers in the next few days.

     

    For all the naysayeers against Paskeey, to be fair since I've been coming to Gen Con which this will be my fourth. This is the first time in 4 years that Paskeey has ever had a problem. With anything, so before you go for their heads and claim they don't know what they're doing. Just give them another chance next year. Hopefully Gen Con is working their butts off to get more rooms added to the block.

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  • 02-13-2007 4:36 AM In reply to

    • indigo
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    I've seen more than a few people mention that they booked multiple rooms.  I'd like to see how many rooms were booked as compared to the number of passes sold before hotel reg opened up.
  • 02-13-2007 4:46 AM In reply to

    • PatEllis15
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    indigo:
    I've seen more than a few people mention that they booked multiple rooms.  I'd like to see how many rooms were booked as compared to the number of passes sold before hotel reg opened up.

     

    If YOU'VE got multiple rooms (and by You've, I'm pointing at ANYONE who is reading this thread...), and your looking to drop one that is near the center, please PM me, I'd love to have it...

     

    Pat E

  • 02-13-2007 6:18 AM In reply to

    • marimacc
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    Jenn:
    PunkRockSonja:

    This is so odd, I don't ever remember it selling out this quickly years past. And if they are holding alot of rooms for the VIG's I hope they release some. At least after next week. I understand saying well if they buy it they want the same perks.

     

    That's what I'm confused about! In the past when we haven't need a suite, we've waited a day or so after housing reg began, and got double rooms w/out a problem. Why did they go so fast this year? Are more people planning on attending? Did they not block off enough rooms for some reason? Anyone know?

    GenCon historically has tried to block off every room available in close by hotels, so I don't think it's that.  There are a few hotel rooms blocked off for VIGs, but not that many, less than 150 rooms total I believe.  At this point, I think there simply could be a much greater interest in Gen Con and booking hotels early by us attendees.

    Still, I ask you to not give up entirely and get put on a hotel waitlist and check the housing website periodically, I think there will be more rooms and even more hotels open up.

     

     

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  • 02-13-2007 6:25 AM In reply to

    • jgemrich
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    OK - tried the web link yesterday under 24 hours and was like???? Wheres embassy suites?  Stayed there 3 years running love it, love the service.

    So I wait and figure somethings wrong and NOPE.  This morning when I called housing they say all is full EVERYWHERE downtown for GC.

     

    Well.  I got on some individual hotel sites and was able to find rooms @ Hyatt Regency, Cantebury, and Omni Severin.  The last 2 choices aren't cheap and Hyatt isn't really either.  But rooms were available. 

     Just thought I'd give an FYI.

     The whole thing seems odd to me.

     

  • 02-13-2007 6:37 AM In reply to

    • NDGeekboy
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    PunkRockSonja:

    The only thing I can guess is they blocked off alot of these for the VIG's. But also I saw in another thread that the paskeey site took 50,000 hits at 2:00 pm. So if there were 50,000 people on the website at that time and let's just say 25,000 of those people got a room. What if I don't know where I was going with that.

    I just know it's obivious Gen Con just got a lot bigger this coming year. I just don't understand how the rooms went so fast, I mean I'd like to see numbers from the previous years. Is there a serious increase cause of the cancel of So-Cal? Is that what caused the server to crash yesterday? Maybe that's why it was so high? Maybe people just picked up extra rooms to pawn off later just to get what they wanted?

    I just hope we get some answers in the next few days.

    Could it be that people might've accidentally booked extra rooms?  There've been a number of posts where people have talked about reloading pages and resending information and whatnot.  All that pounding on the Enter key might explain the excessive number of hits.

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  • 02-13-2007 6:42 AM In reply to

    • Braelun
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    It is kinda weird that all those hotels would sell out so fast and I think this is one of the major issues that needs to be looked at.  Sure, the Passkey site/system needs to be overhauled imo but even if it ran slow, there should've been hotel rooms available.

    Gen Con outgrowing Indy?  I kinda doubt that but something is weird that Thursday wouldn't be available for the 3rd largest convention in the city.

  • 02-13-2007 7:01 AM In reply to

    • stove
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    Some perspective: 

    First year in Indy, a friend of mine said something to the effect of "Wow, they sold the downtown hotels out in under a month." That year we got 3 rooms at the Embassy, no real problem.

    In '04, I was a day late registering for hotel rooms and so could only get a king in the Embassy. Oh, poor me.

    Last year I was two hours late getting to the site and as a result couldn't get into the Embassy, but we had plenty of other choices. (And we ended up at the Hilton, no harm.)

    This year, if I'd been two hours late I might not have had a room downtown. As it was, I hit the site about as close to 2PM as it might be possible to be and still it took 45 minutes to get a room. If my wife hadn't been simultaniously trying to get a room for our friends on another computer, they might not have had one.

    As much as it pains my wallet to say it, I think this might be the last year our group goes through Gencon housing unless there's some recognition of this trend towards vanishing housing. (Though my suspicion is that the load that used to be spread out over a few days is now being compressed into the space of an hour or two, as everyone knows that if you don't get in early you don't get in at all, which means everyone registers early, which means if you don't get in early you don't get in at all... repeat...)

    WIth regards to passkey and load, the thing  is that this is the first year the passkey system has been the choke point. In previous years, the registration system was that chokepoint or, in the case of last year,  an email with the housing code (which would naturally arrive at different times) helped spread the load out a bit. This year, it was just the little passkey server and a whole lot of eager con attendees.


     


     

     


     

  • 02-13-2007 7:27 AM In reply to

    • bcarnes
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    I know that it is not a perfect system but one thing I did want to make sure got mentioned.  I was happy to have my code before hand so that way that was one less headache I had to worry about when getting my badge.  With all the bad stuff happening I thought I would mention a small bright spot.
  • 02-13-2007 7:33 AM In reply to

    • HolyOutlaw
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    If I could drive to the damn building and complain to your face you would just have to suck it up, that's customer service, can't hide when they are there or push aside their complaints.....  Yea I call ******** on the whole scam....   Will I get over it, sure eventually...
  • 02-13-2007 8:02 AM In reply to

    • Hand of Evil
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    What is getting to me is that I have been calling the Housing number to find out IF it is possible that 1 of my 7 finalizes took and getting 'sorry Mailbox is full message', not one confirmation but I you click the finalized button and I agree, makes me hope!  I did leave them a message Monday around 4 EST and yet to get a call back. 

     

     

  • 02-13-2007 8:05 AM In reply to

    • dtb
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    Let's collect all of our suggestions for improvements here: Hotel Registration: What We Want.
  • 02-13-2007 1:07 PM In reply to

    • wienhusen
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    I have been coming to GenCon every year it has been in Indy and with the exception of the first year (we only came up Saturday that year), we have stayed at the Westin. I have noticed that every year the downtown rooms have been going faster and faster. So, this year we decided not to risk getting bumped to another hotel, so we opted to pay more and booked the Westin a few weeks ago via hotels.com. About, three weeks before registrations, you could get Wed - Sat for an average of $200 a night, a week before registration is was up to $220 a night, so if you do decided to book your hotel outside the Indy Housing / passkey website, make sure you book early for the best rate.

     

     

  • 02-14-2007 6:19 AM In reply to

    • BobD716
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    Yesterday morning I sent an e-mail expressing my disappointment in the housing system and asking for information as to what went wrong. Last evening I recieved the following reply; 

    Hello,
    
    We are working on getting more hotel rooms from the hotels we contracts
    with as well as getting more hotels under contract. Please contact the
    ICVA (Housing bureau) and ask to be placed on the waiting list and you
    will be contacted as housing becomes available.
    
    Thank you,
    

  • 02-14-2007 8:26 AM In reply to

    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    BobD716:

    Yesterday morning I sent an e-mail expressing my disappointment in the housing system and asking for information as to what went wrong. Last evening I recieved the following reply; 

     

    Hello,

    We are working on getting more hotel rooms from the hotels we contracts
    with as well as getting more hotels under contract. Please contact the
    ICVA (Housing bureau) and ask to be placed on the waiting list and you
    will be contacted as housing becomes available.

    Thank you,

     

    This is good news for people without a room. I was hoping they would try and open up some more space, however I did not want to wait and wait only to be locked out of any room at all so I decided to get a room on my own. 

    Does anyone know how this will affect those of us that had to go ahead and spend the extra money, in some cases twice as much, to get a room outside of the GenCon block? Will there be any sort of adjustment allowed?


    Thanks for any info! 

     

  • 02-14-2007 8:38 AM In reply to

    • LarpPrincess
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    Re: Problems with Hotel Registration

    Hand of Evil:

    What is getting to me is that I have been calling the Housing number to find out IF it is possible that 1 of my 7 finalizes took and getting 'sorry Mailbox is full message', not one confirmation but I you click the finalized button and I agree, makes me hope!  I did leave them a message Monday around 4 EST and yet to get a call back. 

     

     

    I was thinking this. Someone, maybe you, said that they never got the confirmation e-mail. And forgot to print the confirmation page. Or they were finished and hit book it at the end. Then nothing happened. So they went in time and again to try again.
    Maybe people do have rooms? Maybe people booked to many rooms by mistake?  Maybe in a few days housing can clear those messages and let us knw what's going on.

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