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Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

Last post 07-29-2013 11:11 AM by Sherilyn. 65 replies.
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  • 07-19-2013 6:16 AM

    • grendelsoft
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    Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    Someone posted on a separate thread that "GenCon is committed to Indy through 2020". I verified that it is true that an extension through that year was committed to. That means seven more years... and GenCon is continuing to grow and grow (according to the numbers for attendance I have seen, there was a rough patch between 1995 and 2005, but is now climbing again)... two questions for folks on the forums: Do you believe Indy will be able to handle it (convention space, housing, hospitality venues) when attendence climbs to 45,000 or 50,000 attendees? What city do you think would be a suitable replacement? (For the later question, don't just pick your home town. Think about infrastructure and ability to support growth. If we have any event planners out there, I would be curious to hear their thoughts.)

    Obviously this isn't meant as any kind of protest/petition... we are committed for the next seven years regardless. (unless I misunderstand the legality of the extension) I am just curious what people's thoughts are.

  • 07-19-2013 6:27 AM In reply to

    • Kyaria
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    Honestly, this has been discussed to death already. Numerous cities have been looked at and Indy is the most cost effective and centrally located. If it moved, personally, I would not attend because I am comfortable with Indy (and not because I live close by). Places like Vegas have been looked at and the costs are too high for most attendees. It is hard to find a city that can accomodate this large of a crowd and still be affordable. Not trying to be a wet blanket and feel free to keep talking about it. I just don't see GC moving anytime soon, even after 2020.

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  • 07-19-2013 6:30 AM In reply to

    • Braewe
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    I like Indy. I think there is a lot of room still for expansion.

    I suppose other cities could handle us for size but I know of none with so many hotels AND secondary spaces within walking distance. Certainly not (for instance) Grand Rapids, MI, which often brags of its conventions downtown. No way could we handle anything even close to gen con.

    Larger cities--I'm sure some could handle our size, but not handle as many so close. I mean, c'mon. Right now Indy is handling us AND a motogp.

  • 07-19-2013 6:40 AM In reply to

    • grendelsoft
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    Braewe:

    I like Indy. I think there is a lot of room still for expansion.

    I suppose other cities could handle us for size but I know of none with so many hotels AND secondary spaces within walking distance. Certainly not (for instance) Grand Rapids, MI, which often brags of its conventions downtown. No way could we handle anything even close to gen con.

    Larger cities--I'm sure some could handle our size, but not handle as many so close. I mean, c'mon. Right now Indy is handling us AND a motogp.

    I like Indy too. I was skeptical when it moved from Milwaukee, because I loved Milwaukee. Indy turned out to be a good move at the time and what made Indy a great choice to me was the people who live in Indy who work in the service industry. I have always felt welcomed to the city by the folks who work there (under admittedly tough conditions, at times, I am sure with the number of geeks crammed into their restaurants, hotels, etc.).

    I think the fact that you point out "Indy is handling us AND a motoGP" highlights another issue- I would ask "Are they handling two major events, in the same downtown area, well?" I am sure if it was *just* GenCon in town, they could handle 50,000+ attendees at GenCon. There has been concern voiced on the board that motoGP has impacted GenCon attendees ability to find a hotel room and the whole of downtown was flooded with motorcycle enthusiasts last year- making getting restaurant reservations even harder or forcing longer waits to be seated. (This is what I experienced- maybe none of you had issues with this.)

  • 07-19-2013 6:42 AM In reply to

    • marimacc
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    It has been discussed to death, but I will say I have been to conventions all across the country, and even Japan, and I have found no better city convention wise than Indianapolis. In terms of about of convention space, close walkable hotel rooms, hamster tube access, and amount of bars/restaurants open late and welcoming to us, I find no equal. There are places with more hotel rooms in town, maybe, and more convention space in town, but in terms of all this being in proximity to the convention itself, I know of no better space.
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  • 07-19-2013 6:44 AM In reply to

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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    I would prefer my Meridian fri/sat night walks home NOT be strangled by 99999999999 motorcycles revving engines, yes.

    I think Indy would handle us better if we weren't BOTH downtown. They really need to move one of us. And we were here first! Weren't we? Maybe we weren't. Bah. Anyone know without me being energetic? Wait, I'll google I suppose.

    They came in 2008. HA. WE WERE FIRST. (I don't count the time they were there 99 years before that. Statute of limitations.

  • 07-19-2013 6:48 AM In reply to

    • Riss
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    I think I may have been the person who mentioned the contract for Indy. As for moving after, I can't think of a city that has better layout for Gen Con. I'm near Chicago, and have attended big conventions here, but none that have the number of attendees that GC boasts. The convention center in Rosemont is ok for anime and other conventions, but those also are only hosting panels and maybe a small gaming area and I just can't see having enough space for all the games. Not to mention that housing would still be an issue. Indy, to me, has a decent number of hotels (for games and rooms), and plenty of room and amenities to support GC. At this point in time I can't think of someplace that is better suited.
  • 07-19-2013 7:04 AM In reply to

    • grendelsoft
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    "It has been discussed to death..."

    Two posts already say this- and it is likely true. I don't want to beat a dead horse (being a new-comer to the forum) as the veteran forumites have already been over this ground- apparently many, many times.

    So I won't post further on this thread- but I just want to say, if this has been discussed to death- don't you think that could be a symptom of a problem?

  • 07-19-2013 7:14 AM In reply to

    • Watchdog
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    grendelsoft:
    "It has been discussed to death..."

    Two posts already say this- and it is likely true. I don't want to beat a dead horse (being a new-comer to the forum) as the veteran forumites have already been over this ground- apparently many, many times.

    So I won't post further on this thread- but I just want to say, if this has been discussed to death- don't you think that could be a symptom of a problem?

    Here's a link to threads that discussed this earlier this year: http://community.gencon.com/forums/t/30517.aspx

    Also http://community.gencon.com/forums/t/30440.aspx

    I see what you're saying, but part of the reason it was discussed to death, IMO, was because in the eyes of many "Not getting any of my top three hotel choices" or "I can't get a hotel within two blocks of my desired location" meant "Gen Con has outgrown Indy."

  • 07-19-2013 7:23 AM In reply to

    • Zaphod
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

     I really like Indianapolis, and I think the convention should stay there.  The housing issue will be less of a concern if other events aren't scheduled simultaneously.

    The MotoGP is a major problem for housing.  It doesn't limit the number of Gen Con block rooms, but it does limit the number of rooms available outside of the block.  These are rooms that Gen Con attendees dependent on, especially when the downtown rooms sell out so quickly.  On saturday night, many of the the motorcyclists stay downtown.  The Hilton Garden Inn, for example, was packed with people attending the downtown event.  Those rooms would have been available to Gen Con attendees.

    Not to mention having another loud and really invasive event ruins the entire atmosphere of the downtown area.  What we need is somebody from Gen Con LLC to act as our advocate in dealing with the city so this stops happening.  I can't believe its happened two years in a row, and that the convention hasn't worked with the city (or the speedway) to have these events scheduled at different dates.

  • 07-19-2013 7:35 AM In reply to

    • Kyaria
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    Every year this type of thread pops up, stemming from someones disstatisfaction. I think last year was the MotoGP issue and this year it was system issues and now the Crowne hotel issue. There will always be someone questioning Indy as the convention homebase. I didn't mean to not discuss it, just letting you know this comes up almost every year over something or other.

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  • 07-19-2013 7:49 AM In reply to

    • Jenn
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    Zaphod:

    Not to mention having another loud and really invasive event ruins the entire atmosphere of the downtown area.  What we need is somebody from Gen Con LLC to act as our advocate in dealing with the city so this stops happening.  I can't believe its happened two years in a row, and that the convention hasn't worked with the city (or the speedway) to have these events scheduled at different dates.

     

     

    While I'm not sure GenCon has enough pull to actually get anything to change - especially since we're already committed to Indy for awhile longer so the city has no real reason to placate us (and not that I want to leave Indy!), it would be interesting to know if they HAVE tried to resolve the both-scheduled-the-same-weekend issue.

     

  • 07-19-2013 8:36 AM In reply to

    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    Gen Con has plenty of room to grow. Its just going to turn into one of those cons that fills up all the hotels 10-15 minutes away as well. While the convention center is crowded I believe there was Hall A and B(Exhibitor halls before the renovation) weren't even in use so convention center space isn't overcrowded yet. It sucks that everyone can't stay downtown and party until 2 and stumble back to their hotel and crash. But I am already starting to regret or consider switching to staying out of town in the future if I continue to come anyway. I am not sure if the price of downtown space is worth it. I stayed downtown once and it was ok. I am staying downtown and directly connected this year so I'll see if that convenience changes my mind.

  • 07-19-2013 8:43 AM In reply to

    • mrwonx
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    I'm throwing my hat into the "It's not an issue with the city" bit. I think one way to look at it is this - what we've proven last year and this year is that this location can support up to almost double the GenCon total attendance. To have two large events going on at the same time in downtown proves this. Yes, there where motorcycle people in your hotel, yes there where loud motorcycles outside - but if that event was not on our weekend, and if those people where con goers - it could still handle it from a hotel and travel standpoint. Yes we'd be cursing the amount of parking there was, more people would have to drive in then not - but it can handle it to some extent.

    The question would be whether the actual convention center could hold that. There is still room to shift and expand a bit - and I'm sure it was a major factor when they made the 2020 decision.

    I don't think that GenCon and MotoGP both want to be on the same weekend - I can't see either group wanting the other group taking up space - so it just makes me wonder if/when someone from either group will go to the other one, and try to iron this out. Or maybe this has already happened and they, much like us, pre-schedule their event dates. Don't know. Cause I can imagine, just as we complain about the noise, there someone on their end complaining about the "Nerds taking up all the hotel rooms". XD
  • 07-19-2013 9:27 AM In reply to

    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    Indy is much better suited to Gencon than Milwaukee was. I live in Milwaukee, my office used to overlook the convention center and I am so grateful that Gencon moved.

    Indy has plenty of space for Gencon to grow (I used to have friends fighting over who was going to get floor space in my living room versus the basement because they couldn't get a hotel room in Milwaukee COUNTY.) The restaurants love us (just read a newspaper report about Gencon being one of the server's favorite cons.) And the city respects us. Most of the 'non gaming community locals' I have spoken to enjoy the variety we bring. In Milwaukee I used to get an email from my employer the Monday before Gencon warning me of the "freakshow" being headed into town. Best of all I haven't heard of games being cancelled/not run because of the lack of a space for them.

    Personally I am excited to return to Indy in a couple weeks and look forward to the next decade there.

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  • 07-19-2013 10:04 AM In reply to

    • Nestor
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    My concern is not whether GenCon has outgrown Indy or could do so, it's more whether Indy is starting to take GenCon for granted. Saying that the convention is committed to stay until 2020 certianly does not help in reducing that concern. My experience was not one of being unable to get a hotel room downtown, it was being unable to get a reservation at all, thanks to the Housing Portal refusing to load until long after all rooms had been snapped up. And the way waiting lists are being handled do not inspire me with any sense of confidence. Basically I talked to someone who half-heartedly took my contact information and said, "We'll call you." I have no guarantee that my request went any farther than the round file cabinet. Now with the news that there are now close to 100 more folks filling that list (and understandably jumping ahead of the others waiting)... well, I think you get my drift. Thankfully, I was extremely lucky to have a friend who's offered me crash space near the airport. Otherwise, I pretty much would've had to swallow the non-refundable cost of my badge and had to give GenCon a pass.
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  • 07-19-2013 10:38 AM In reply to

    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    There are tons of hotels available just outside the city. If you are ok with staying by the airport I don't see why it would be a problem to stay 15 minutes away from downtown. Its still a drive in. A hotel doesn't cease existing because its not in the housing portal. There are over 200 hotels available in the Indianpolis area if you do a search on expedia.

    Nestor:
    My concern is not whether GenCon has outgrown Indy or could do so, it's more whether Indy is starting to take GenCon for granted. Saying that the convention is committed to stay until 2020 certianly does not help in reducing that concern. My experience was not one of being unable to get a hotel room downtown, it was being unable to get a reservation at all, thanks to the Housing Portal refusing to load until long after all rooms had been snapped up. And the way waiting lists are being handled do not inspire me with any sense of confidence. Basically I talked to someone who half-heartedly took my contact information and said, "We'll call you." I have no guarantee that my request went any farther than the round file cabinet. Now with the news that there are now close to 100 more folks filling that list (and understandably jumping ahead of the others waiting)... well, I think you get my drift. Thankfully, I was extremely lucky to have a friend who's offered me crash space near the airport. Otherwise, I pretty much would've had to swallow the non-refundable cost of my badge and had to give GenCon a pass.

  • 07-19-2013 11:26 AM In reply to

    • andyfark
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    MonkeyKnifeFight:

    There are tons of hotels available just outside the city. If you are ok with staying by the airport I don't see why it would be a problem to stay 15 minutes away from downtown. Its still a drive in. A hotel doesn't cease existing because its not in the housing portal. There are over 200 hotels available in the Indianpolis area if you do a search on expedia.

    Nestor:
    My concern is not whether GenCon has outgrown Indy or could do so, it's more whether Indy is starting to take GenCon for granted. Saying that the convention is committed to stay until 2020 certianly does not help in reducing that concern. My experience was not one of being unable to get a hotel room downtown, it was being unable to get a reservation at all, thanks to the Housing Portal refusing to load until long after all rooms had been snapped up. And the way waiting lists are being handled do not inspire me with any sense of confidence. Basically I talked to someone who half-heartedly took my contact information and said, "We'll call you." I have no guarantee that my request went any farther than the round file cabinet. Now with the news that there are now close to 100 more folks filling that list (and understandably jumping ahead of the others waiting)... well, I think you get my drift. Thankfully, I was extremely lucky to have a friend who's offered me crash space near the airport. Otherwise, I pretty much would've had to swallow the non-refundable cost of my badge and had to give GenCon a pass.

     

     

    Totally agree. So what if you can't stay directly downtown. You were going to pay almost $150+/night at a downtown hotel. Now that you're staying out by the airport, there's waaaaaaaaay closer hotels than that. Stay in Southport. Stay in Greenwood. Stay in Franklin. It's all a drive no matter what. The convenience of staying downtown, I get it. The price of staying downtown? Not worth it, IMO....

     

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  • 07-19-2013 11:53 AM In reply to

    • chemrebel
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

     

    Nestor:
    My experience was not one of being unable to get a hotel room downtown, it was being unable to get a reservation at all, thanks to the Housing Portal refusing to load until long after all rooms had been snapped up. And the way waiting lists are being handled do not inspire me with any sense of confidence. Basically I talked to someone who half-heartedly took my contact information and said, "We'll call you." I have no guarantee that my request went any farther than the round file cabinet. Now with the news that there are now close to 100 more folks filling that list (and understandably jumping ahead of the others waiting)... well, I think you get my drift.

    I am sorry that you have not had the best of luck with the Housing Bureau and that you had a not-so-warm-and-fuzzy customer service experience.  But seriously, it is not the end of the world if you can't get a hotel that way.  I've done downtown stays, couch surfing at a friend's place on the northeast side, and staying at a hotel in Carmel.  Calm down, take a deep cleansing bong-hit-style breath, and thank your buddy profusely for the cheap crash space.  

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  • 07-19-2013 12:14 PM In reply to

    • jsfetzik
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    Re: Future of GenCon, growth and housing...

    grendelsoft:
    "It has been discussed to death..." Two posts already say this- and it is likely true. I don't want to beat a dead horse (being a new-comer to the forum) as the veteran forumites have already been over this ground- apparently many, many times. So I won't post further on this thread- but I just want to say, if this has been discussed to death- don't you think that could be a symptom of a problem?
    Yes, this has been discussed a lot in the past. No, it does not indicate a significant problem.

    What is does indicate is that there are new forum memebrs every year that are not aware of the past discussions. That is not bad in itself. It might indicate that we need a few more FAQ's in the forums.

    In general Gen Con is not all that close to the limits of what Indianapolis can host. Seeing as the Indy 500 handles 250,000-300,000 people it will be a while.Gen Con has reached the limits of being able to house everyone fairly close to the convention center. The thing is that there isn't much that can actually be done about this no matter what city you go to. From what I have seen Indianapolis has one of the highest number of hotels rooms within walking distance of convention facilities of any city ion the country. As an example when the move was made from Milwaukee 10 years ago there were more hotel rooms within 1 mile of the Indy convention center than there were in all of the city of Milwaukee! And there are significantly more rooms now with the JW Marriott complex.While there are plenty of cities with large convention spaces they do not have all that many rooms close to those facilities. Places like McCormick Place in Chicago are huge at about 5 times the square footage of Indy, but The Hyatt is the only one hotel within walking distance and that has at most 600 rooms. The next nearest hotel is almost 2 miles away.The only other place that might compete on rooms in close proximity to convention space would probably be Las Vegas. But if Gen Con moved there they would lose a huge number of current attendees that drive.Plus, in Indy, Gen Con is a relatively big fish and the city and businesses want it to stay because it is so very good for the economy. This gives Gen Con some pull and actually gets rooms at pretty good prices all things considered. I pay higher room prices when I go to conferences put on by Microsoft and I am stuck 5+ blocks from the convention center.

    So in the end Indy is actually a good home for Gen Con. If they grow very quickly that might change, but they would need to hit 75,000+ before moving would be a serious consideration, and that is not likely to happen any time soon.

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