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Subject: Hotel Reservation for Transfer? rss

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Eric McGlohon
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I have a reservation for Seven Springs, but I need to cancel at the last minute. Is anyone interested in taking it?

It's the 24th through the 30th, and I've put down a $438.18 non-refundable deposit. You are free to modify the check-in and check-out dates.

Thanks!
-Eric
 
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Chris
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It's not able to be transferred. That's against the WBC new rules.

You just lose your deposit.
 
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Sure is convenient they get to sell the same room twice...
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Andrew Drummond
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Statalyzer wrote:
Sure is convenient they get to sell the same room twice...


To be fair, it is WBC that insists on this rule, not the hotel. The hotel gets the extra $$$, but only because we are forcing them to.
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David E
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Yeah, the policy is kind of BS, and the tournament director's response to another situation had me more pissed off than I was before I lost a night's deposit. This may be my last WBC.
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Chris
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Called it a while ago (and everyone told me I was out of my mind ...)
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Andrew Drummond
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
Yeah, the policy is kind of BS, and the tournament director's response to another situation had me more pissed off than I was before I lost a night's deposit. This may be my last WBC.



I'm not sure I disagree with the policy, I was just trying to show who caused it.

The problem with 7 Springs is that the hotel only has about 400 rooms in it. Because those rooms are in such demand, WBC wants to prevent speculative reservations. They are in particular worried that people new to WBC will try and reserve in May and not come because they can't find a room.

For people who come to WBC often, the hope is that if they are unsure of booking that they will get one of the condos or other nearby options that don't have the same cancellation policy.
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David E
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I understand the reason for the policy, but I made a reservation in January that I cancelled after less than 24 hours (because I instead went in on a condo with some other folks). The TD decided to follow the letter of the law, even though making an exception (this was not a "speculative reservation" and cancelling it within 24 hours clearly would not affect anyone else's booking) was wholly within his discretion. That is his perogative, and it's my perogative to think he's more concerned with rules than with making attendees happy.

(True, I only contacted him about it recently, after it being suggested that was possible - earlier I kept going back and forth with the hotel until I fell off the radar with them. But his response that "I waited too long" was clearly BS.)
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Scott Saccenti
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I certainly sympathize with anyone who gets hosed by the policy. And one day it will likely be me, and that day will suck.

But I strongly agree with the policy. For every "this will be my last WBC" (and the occasional tiresome "I told you so" posts that we will endure), there would be dozens of examples of people who never come to the con--and we'd never hear from hardly any of them by the way--if the policy wasn't in place.

AmadanNaBriona wrote:
I understand the reason for the policy, but I made a reservation in January that I cancelled after less than 24 hours (because I instead went in on a condo with some other folks).


Man, I don't like to ever see anybody waste money and get nothing for it. But the scenario you just describe...isn't this pretty much the exact reason for the policy?! The idea is to dissuade people from making speculative reservations before their true plans are really in place...
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Greg Ziemba
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Last year, I had to stay at a condo because there was no room at the inn. It was fine.
This year, we were lucky enough to get a room at the hotel. Did this policy help me? Possibly.

This will be my 6th WBC, so does this new policy help attract new members or just cycle loyal WBC attendees to/from the condos? Don't know.

As a person who does both personal and corporate travel the policy seems rinky dink. Given the number of attendess ( 1800 - 2000) the odds of unforeseen life events causing some of these members to have to miss WBC is probably fair. Unfortunately these life events (illness, death etc) also come with a financial cost that losing a hotel deposit couldn't come at the worst possible time. For these people, saying "I'll never go back to WBC" may not be a childish knee jerk reaction but one of financial reality. WBC is also competing with many other cons both big and small. These people may just choose to take their money elsewhere.
saccenti wrote:
I certainly sympathize with anyone who gets hosed by the policy. And one day it will likely be me, and that day will suck.

But I strongly agree with the policy. For every "this will be my last WBC" (and the occasional tiresome "I told you so" posts that we will endure), there would be dozens of examples of people who never come to the con--and we'd never hear from hardly any of them by the way--if the policy wasn't in place.

AmadanNaBriona wrote:
I understand the reason for the policy, but I made a reservation in January that I cancelled after less than 24 hours (because I instead went in on a condo with some other folks).


Man, I don't like to ever see anybody waste money and get nothing for it. But the scenario you just describe...isn't this pretty much the exact reason for the policy?! The idea is to dissuade people from making speculative reservations before their true plans are really in place...
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David E
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saccenti wrote:
Man, I don't like to ever see anybody waste money and get nothing for it. But the scenario you just describe...isn't this pretty much the exact reason for the policy?! The idea is to dissuade people from making speculative reservations before their true plans are really in place...


My true plan was to get a hotel room - then a condo offer came up, and I thought if I cancelled the reservation right away there might be a grace period. I understand if I'd held it for a month or two and possibly denied someone else a reservation, but it was literally less than 24 hours.

Yes, I knew the rules so I can't say they weren't followed. I'd have only been annoyed (and not made the comment about this being my last WBC) but the tenor of communications from the TD made the experience even more sour. It is what it is.
 
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Chris Johnson
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Charging a substantial non-refundable deposit is totally reasonable. And prudent. Speculative reservations are a real, pernicious thing.

Making such reservations non-transferable is pernicious in and of itself.

That said, I wouldn't be shocked to see this policy evolve in the short term.
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Michael McKibbin
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gregz wrote:
Last year, I had to stay at a condo because there was no room at the inn. It was fine.
This year, we were lucky enough to get a room at the hotel. Did this policy help me? Possibly.

This will be my 6th WBC, so does this new policy help attract new members or just cycle loyal WBC attendees to/from the condos? Don't know.

As a person who does both personal and corporate travel the policy seems rinky dink. Given the number of attendess ( 1800 - 2000) the odds of unforeseen life events causing some of these members to have to miss WBC is probably fair. Unfortunately these life events (illness, death etc) also come with a financial cost that losing a hotel deposit couldn't come at the worst possible time. For these people, saying "I'll never go back to WBC" may not be a childish knee jerk reaction but one of financial reality. WBC is also competing with many other cons both big and small. These people may just choose to take their money elsewhere.
saccenti wrote:
I certainly sympathize with anyone who gets hosed by the policy. And one day it will likely be me, and that day will suck.

But I strongly agree with the policy. For every "this will be my last WBC" (and the occasional tiresome "I told you so" posts that we will endure), there would be dozens of examples of people who never come to the con--and we'd never hear from hardly any of them by the way--if the policy wasn't in place.

AmadanNaBriona wrote:
I understand the reason for the policy, but I made a reservation in January that I cancelled after less than 24 hours (because I instead went in on a condo with some other folks).


Man, I don't like to ever see anybody waste money and get nothing for it. But the scenario you just describe...isn't this pretty much the exact reason for the policy?! The idea is to dissuade people from making speculative reservations before their true plans are really in place...


I understand the reason for the policy as well, BUT from a PR standpoint this sees to me to be a far bigger negative than positive. It won't be the 95% of satisfied customers, those who managed to score a hotel room, who will be out in force on the forums. Instead, the loudest voices will belong to the dissatisfied few with stories of large deposits lost because they couldn't transfer their reservations. For potential first time WBC attendees, this could be a red flag.
A related question. What are the hotel policies for other comparable cons? I've never been to BGG con or Origins or Gen con so I don't know how WBC compared.
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Chris Johnson
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BGG.con was getting hammered by speculative reservations, especially once hotel rooms rather than badges became the priority for non-locals.

Last year they charged a $50/reservation non-refundable fee. That wasn't enough to really discourage speculation, and added extra hassle for everyone involved.

So, this year, once you reserved your badges, you got a code to reserve a room once the hotel block opened (with no fee). This mostly worked, but there were a few issues that I won't get into to avoid giving people ideas to game the system next year.

If it were me, for conventions like this, I'd just make you pay the entire cost when you booked the room (non-refundable), but make it fully transferable (at cost only). Easy. Simple.
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Frank McNally
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Not sure of policies at those cons, but they are shorter so perhaps backfilling is easier. Not much chance of refilling early in week reservations, because folks making week long trips plan pretty early.
 
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David desJardins
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hgman3 wrote:
Instead, the loudest voices will belong to the dissatisfied few with stories of large deposits lost because they couldn't transfer their reservations. For potential first time WBC attendees, this could be a red flag.


So far, loud vocal complaints from a few on BGG have pretty much never had any effect on anyone. This happens with all sorts of things. I think people know that the internets attract loud complaints.

Quote:
A related question. What are the hotel policies for other comparable cons? I've never been to BGG con or Origins or Gen con so I don't know how WBC compared.


Gencon has a very restrictive hotel reservation scheme. To get a reservation at a hotel near the con you have to reserve far in advance and pay a nonrefundable deposit. I think you also need to preregister for the con itself.
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Kevin C.
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Called it a while ago (and everyone told me I was out of my mind ...)


I don't recall anyone saying you were nuts...maybe I missed it. I do remember people like me arguing with you by saying this was all our fault with the bullshit we pulled at the Host every year.

On that last night, the damn reservation bowl was full with people making reservations for the next year with no idea if they were going to keep them or not.

I would wager the Host was "sold out" for the next year before the current year con officially ended.

I remember in one of the other threads it being mentioned that this policy is quite strident now but could become more lax as reservation habits become clear over the next few years.

I think the BPA came out swinging from the get-go to really give as many people as possible a chance to come with decent notice.

This is more important at Seven Springs since off-site accommodations are so far away. If people find the hotel or condos booked, they might not come at all. (No Red Roof right across the way.)

So, preventing loss of rooms to speculation is important, I think.

Policies like this are always the result of the population's behavior. You wouldn't put something like this into place on a whim or "just because." The BPA really wants to give Seven Springs a fighting chance and people being able to get rooms is a major part of that. Gobbling them up on speculation could really damage the con because a good many people might just say, "Screw it...I'm not staying 25 min away."

Now, having said all that, it sucks to lose your deposit when you weren't speculating. Hopefully, if things go well over the next few years, the policy can be on a case-by-case or something like that so people making honest mistakes don't get screwed over.

Kevin
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Kevin C.
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Yes, I knew the rules so I can't say they weren't followed. I'd have only been annoyed (and not made the comment about this being my last WBC) but the tenor of communications from the TD made the experience even more sour. It is what it is.


Was this Ken you were talking to?

I think it being his first year might have something to do with it. He probably wants to start his tenure off by obeying the rules and not making exceptions that could set precedent for him down the road.

This way, the precedent is, "I will follow the rules to the letter so you know where you stand."

As he gets more comfortable and gets his own vibe going, he might not stick to the letter of the law and look at the specific circumstances more.

Again, I am sorry for you that you got caught up in this. It does stink to lose you money. I'm just trying to offer an explanation that goes beyond the TD being a pedantic stick in the mud. He probably was trying to head off numerous "I want a refund, too, then," messages before his first WBC as TD.

Kevin
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Gareth Williams
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natsean wrote:
Quote:
Yes, I knew the rules so I can't say they weren't followed. I'd have only been annoyed (and not made the comment about this being my last WBC) but the tenor of communications from the TD made the experience even more sour. It is what it is.


Was this Ken you were talking to?

I think it being his first year might have something to do with it. He probably wants to start his tenure off by obeying the rules and not making exceptions that could set precedent for him down the road.

This way, the precedent is, "I will follow the rules to the letter so you know where you stand."



Agreed.

Also remember that the Convention Director does what the board tells him to do
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
Also remember that the Convention Director does what the board tells him to do


I wonder what Don would have to say about that.....whistle

Kevin
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John Shingara
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$438 non-refundable and non-transferrable deposit? That is insane! Perhaps a small non-refundable or not allowing transfers, but both policies together is anti-consumer and just plain greedy. I stopped going to WBC when they moved it to the most inconvenient place possible and forcing people to choose a 9-day stay or stay offsite. This is just icing on the cake.
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John Shingara
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emcglohon wrote:
I have a reservation for Seven Springs, but I need to cancel at the last minute. Is anyone interested in taking it?

It's the 24th through the 30th, and I've put down a $438.18 non-refundable deposit. You are free to modify the check-in and check-out dates.

Thanks!
-Eric


Given this conversation, you may want to work something out offline and directly with someone else. Perhaps find a trusting soul that will allow you to "manage" the reservation and reimburse you for their stay. Sorry you are in such a spot.
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Andrew E
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The host was always sold out for the next year at the end of the WBC week, then lots of rooms would sporadically open up as people made real plans and acquired roommates. That was a serious problem that needed addressing. Imo, the room policy is moving in the correct direction, though they might need to tweak it some. They can probably get the deterrence effect they're looking for while only requiring the forfeit of a quarter of the cost of the room, or something like that.

Hopefully the hotel keeps a good waiting list so that the room can go to somebody who will be there most of the days. That'll make it easier to have a lower deposit.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
$438 non-refundable and non-transferrable deposit? That is insane! Perhaps a small non-refundable or not allowing transfers, but both policies together is anti-consumer and just plain greedy. I stopped going to WBC when they moved it to the most inconvenient place possible and forcing people to choose a 9-day stay or stay offsite. This is just icing on the cake.


I think there are some factual issues with your position. First, Seven Springs isn't that far off the PA turnpike. Sure, it's more out of the way than Lancaster. But an hour or so west of Pittsburgh at a major ski resort isn't exactly Prudhoe Bay.

It's about 2.5 hours longer for me, but the upgrade was worth it, to my mind. Your personal situation might be different, but it's not nearly as remote and hard to get to as some people make out. Again, it's a major ski resort that is made for winter travel. The roads are quite peachy in late July.

I stayed in Somerset last year and made the drive to and fro each day. It was a pain, but I still had an awesome time. I made the decision to stay onsite this year mainly for my kids. They will be able to stay in the condo and get some breaks that a hotel 25min away didn't afford.

So, you can certainly stay offsite if you want to. It is inconvenient compared to Lancaster, but certainly not the "most" inconvenient place. Days Inn is like $65/night 25min away. If I didn't bring my kids, I would be staying there rather than onsite.

Also, you can absolute stay onsite for less than 9 days. I know several people personally that are doing just that. Anecdotally from posts here, I know of several more.

You just had to abide by a schedule that took longer stays first. People were getting condos and rooms as late a a few months ago for shorter stays. I got a condo for only 7 days, not 9.

Lastly, remember that is was the speculative behavior of your fellow members and gamers, not the "greed" of the hotel or board, that caused this kind of crap to begin with.

It will probably loosen up in the next few years, but the message needed to be sent that speculation like we saw at the Host won't be tolerated. It's a really punitive policy now to make that point and, as I said, getting caught in it for a legitimate reason sucks rotten eggs. Just bad timing with a new CD and the second year in our new home.

But I don't think greed or a desire to be anti-consumer had anything to do with it, really. The board is just trying to address a problem that they don't want to see follow us to Seven Springs. As had been said, the smart money is on the policy softening in the next few years.

If you do manage to ever make it to Seven Springs, you will find the same awesome gaming and people that you found in Lancaster, but the digs will be much nicer.

Kevin
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Andrew E
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I do want to point out that the speculative behavior was not some moral failing of our attendees, but a simple consequence of the old hotel policy. When the only time you can definitely book a room is a year in advance but you can cancel at no penalty for a very, very long time, unless you can come up with an iron-clad roommate agreement an entire year in advance, it only makes sense to reserve a room just in case, and figure out whether you'll use it later.

Asking nicely for people to cooperate on a prisoner's dilemma with no social aftereffects is not a winning strategy. You have to change the rules of the game. Incentives matter.

Obviously there are people for whom the new policy is worse, but at least in my case, having the commitment date pushed so far forward is the reason I'm in the hotel at all this year. I'd be in a condo or at Somerset if the rooms were being sold the same way they have been in the past.
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