Adrift

So, Gen Con housing opened up today.  I was hardly shocked when the new system, with its random slotting of when people get a chance to book a room, put me in a slot not remotely resembling when I normally book a room.

Where it used to be event registration that led to frustration and disappointment at missed opportunities, housing has just gotten to be absurd.  Last year, I ended up with a third choice with fewer nights than I wanted.  I don’t get it – why is it harder to book with Sunday night included than not?

Oh, right, perhaps because rather than clear the docket of other events going on at the same time, Indy has liked to have three or four things that get mentioned in the newspaper as occurring at the same time as Gen Con.

So, what does randomness look like rather than a fevered rush to book anything remotely plausible before everything is gone?  Lot like coming in fourth in the Olympics in that you still get to participate, just your results are irrelevant.

The closest hotel for five nights is 10 miles away.  For only four nights that shaves 3 miles and gains nothing in terms of enjoyment of the experience.

Sure, I’ve been off in my own little world of Gen Con planning for ages.  I just don’t know enough people.  While tons of people go from California, the number of people I can get to commit from the Bay Area has often been zero.  While I can theoretically stay with people from elsewhere, the ones I know often have their own groups figured out, and I’m really not that enthralled with piling a lot of people in a room … to the point where far too often I’ve been the only person in a room.  Four is my limit because, when you get old, sleep matters.  Three is optimal.  Two is fine with me.

If I was part of a larger group, we would just game the system best us nobodies can and everyone would try to book separately, hoping someone gets a real time slot and not the time slot I got.  But, somehow, I think everyone is aware of this and I think there’s a larger issue than people who don’t just try things like this getting screwed.

Gen Con has grown.  Other groups are taking advantage of discounted hotel rooms to have their own events at the same time.  A few years ago, I had no issue booking five nights at the Hyatt.  I did that 2005, 2007-2012.  It might be the case that there are so many people who either gaming the system much better or have ins or whatever that the actual available space is greatly diminished.

Not that I see a lot being done.  How many more hotels are going to open up?  It’s not like you have the Indy 500 and Gen Con year round.  It’s not like a bunch less people are going to decide that they won’t go because they have to commute where they didn’t have to before.  It’s just a sign of popularity.  Why should GC or Indy give a crap about me when I used to be one of 25k and am now one of 50k?

If volume doesn’t increase, why not price?  The average cost is around $200/night before the 30% bump for taxes and so forth.  I’m sure an average starting price of $300/night would slow down some of the bookings.  Does that really help me?  I don’t know.  I’ve gone to Gen Cons before where I had to commute, though I believe only in Milwaukee.  It was not the end of the world.  So, I spend probably much less staying at some distant hotel as long as I can get transportation somehow that isn’t prohibitive or I pay even more than what I’ve been paying for the downtown convenience or I hope to have more roommates?  Which matters most?

I guess I’ll find out, unless something comes up.  My first commuting to Indy GC means I’ll get a better feel for what it’s like and maybe decide I really don’t mind at all not being at the center of things.

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