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Subject: Hotel Reservation for Transfer? rss

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Kevin C.
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Quote:
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.


That's true. I don't think the reservations were made with malice or a conscious intent to deprive others of rooms. My point was that blaming Seven Springs or a greedy board for the new policy was off base.

It came about because, as you say, without it you had rampant speculation that caused issues. So, even though it wasn't a moral failing, the behavior of the attendees needed to be addressed and changed.

That is what this policy aims to do. It isn't about putting more money in the pockets of the BPA or the hotel, but rather trying to ensure as many people as possible can get rooms.

Kevin
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Chris
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AndrewE wrote:
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.



It wasn't even necessarily that -- in my case, I would book a handful of rooms, almost exclusively, so I could ensure they'd all be *near* each other (which was the easiest way to accomplish that, according to the Host).

In the years I did this, I *never* canceled a room nor abandoned it. But, one month before the con, we had a deadline (and that's when I needed to submit the names of the people in the rooms). Within a month of the event, you did forfeit a night's deposit.


On the other hand, earlier today, on Facebook, one of the board members did announce that he knew someone who had a room booked from first Friday to the last Sunday; and this person couldn't attend. He wanted to know if anyone needed a room - and to email him; and he'd put them in contact. So, maybe the key is to be friends with a board member, since -- I guess -- that is the way to get an exception?

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Chris
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natsean wrote:
That is what this policy aims to do. It isn't about putting more money in the pockets of the BPA or the hotel, but rather trying to ensure as many people as possible can get rooms.


Quote:
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.



So, the interesting thing is - if the emphasis is still on 'growing' the con (since the biggest concern is that new people won't come because they can't find a room); *and* the location isn't adding more rooms ... doesn't this seem like every year the same problems will happen (and, in fact, will increase?)

It's Year 2 - and the location is already not big enough to support the current attendee total (and, certainly won't be able to handle increased numbers. :/
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Peter Stein
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That board member got taken to task for putting that up there. It was removed.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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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.


Don't the rooms run out very quickly once they open up anyway?

Quote:
That is what this policy aims to do. It isn't about putting more money in the pockets of the BPA or the hotel, but rather trying to ensure as many people as possible can get rooms.


The same number of people get rooms regardless.
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Gareth Williams
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Statalyzer wrote:


The same number of people get rooms regardless.


Possibly, but there was the issue at the Host where rooms picked up at the last minute didn't count against the room allocation so WBC didn't get credit for filling the place

Also if someone books on spec for 9 days, someone else who would come from a long way (or abroad) sees the place is full and would come for nine days but doesn't come at all, then the room is released and goes to someone who books 5, then the hotel loses 4 days


Finally, remember you cannot book rooms at all until January, so there is not the "Next Year Sold Out before we even leave" there was at the host, and people have nearly 6 months of grace they didn't have before before they can even attempt to book rooms.

That is a lot of time for schedules to firm up
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Frank McNally
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I definitely have more visibility to summer in January. By that time some summer camps for kids need to start to being booked as well as vacation rentals.
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Chris
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Statalyzer wrote:
Quote:
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.


Don't the runs run out very quickly once they open up anyway?

Quote:
That is what this policy aims to do. It isn't about putting more money in the pockets of the BPA or the hotel, but rather trying to ensure as many people as possible can get rooms.


The same number of people get rooms regardless.



+1 on both counts
 
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Kevin C.
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On the other hand, earlier today, on Facebook, one of the board members did announce that he knew someone who had a room booked from first Friday to the last Sunday; and this person couldn't attend. He wanted to know if anyone needed a room - and to email him; and he'd put them in contact. So, maybe the key is to be friends with a board member, since -- I guess -- that is the way to get an exception?


Why is everything so cynical with you? Why couldn't this be a simple miscommunication or maybe there are extenuating circumstances? Regardless:

Quote:
That board member got taken to task for putting that up there. It was removed.


There you go.

Quote:
So, the interesting thing is - if the emphasis is still on 'growing' the con (since the biggest concern is that new people won't come because they can't find a room); *and* the location isn't adding more rooms ... doesn't this seem like every year the same problems will happen (and, in fact, will increase?)

It's Year 2 - and the location is already not big enough to support the current attendee total (and, certainly won't be able to handle increased numbers. :/


What does preventing speculation have to do with this? Or rather, how does preventing speculation go against growing the con?

As I understood it (and perhaps I don't), there are still condos and chalets available. They are more expensive, so some people are choosing to stay in Somerset or Dongegal. Those towns are part of the WBC now, I think. We will always have people that choose to stay there year after year, so in that sense, the con does have room to grow.

(I know someone that didn't come last year that is coming for three days this year. They are staying in Somerset. It is quite possible that we will see an increase in this type of "day tripper" as we did in Lancaster.)

It is a different model than Lancaster for sure with "overflow" hotels being 25min away, but as word gets out that for certain groups, it's quite doable and affordable, more people might choose that.

If I weren't coming with kids, I would stay in Somerset again.

And the opposite is true in that many people won't want to make that drive. We'll have to see how it plays out. From the board's perspective, they want as many people as possible to be able to stay on-site in whatever accommodations they choose. Again, the deposit policy aims to do this.

But, for sure, staying off-site is workable. Some people will choose this outright over staying on-site.

The 2nd con in Seven Springs hasn't happened yet. We'll see how it shakes out over the next few years.

I know we've done this dance before, but it just seems everything is so negative in your mind. I get you can't come and that sucks, but the move wasn't personal and the board isn't acting against the membership. They are trying to make the WBC better and sustainable so that it is still there when you can come back.

Kevin
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Kevin C.
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The same number of people get rooms regardless.


In theory, but what if that person can't find someone to transfer the room to because other people made different plans when they found the hotel sold out?

Or as Gareth said, you wind up with a shorter reservations from those released rooms?

If all the transfers work out, no harm no foul. But if these transfers don't work smoothly, then the hotel can lose out and that can harm the BPA in, perhaps, not making its contract numbers.

So, there is a bit of conjecture and prediction here and, for the time being at least, the board wants to take the guesswork out: if you make a reservation, you are stuck with it, so don't make one until you are sure you can make it.

Maybe there is a fairly high chance you could transfer the room without issue, but the board doesn't want to take that bet at the moment. As has been said numerous times, the policy probably won't be the same in the coming years.

Kevin



 
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Chris
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natsean wrote:
Why is everything so cynical with you?


It's a gift.

Quote:
Why couldn't this be a simple miscommunication or maybe there are extenuating circumstances?


I'd imagine *anyone* who booked a room and had to cancel last minute would have extenuating circumstances. That's the point.

We don't know why either of these rooms are available. Let's presume it's something really tragic -- a spouse or family member suddenly passed. So, as they're dealing with that; they have the additional thumb-in-the-eye of losing their entire deposit; because their family member couldn't plan their death during a more convenient time.

"Our condolences on the loss of your loved one. Thanks for the $440."

It's just not the way I'd do business.

Years ago - my wife and I were adopting a child. We were staying at a hotel. Two days before we were set to check out, the birth mother changed her mind; the new baby (our child) was ripped from my wife's hands.

So, we had no option but to head home. We went back to the hotel and grabbed our things and I headed to the front desk. It was around 6pm.

I explained we were checking out; and they explained, "Oh, well, it's after checkout; so we need to charge you for tonight." I (calmly, albeit while shaking) explained the situation; and the clerk (rightfully) said, "I'm so sorry -- forget what I said." *That's* the way to do business. Don't rub salt in a wound.


Quote:
What does preventing speculation have to do with this? Or rather, how does preventing speculation go against growing the con?


Because - let's say there are 500 rooms and only 300 are ever used for the con. Speculation *doesn't* matter then. No one is going without a room. The entire concern has been that "when people "speculate" (and, I use that in quotes because, the term "speculate" now means different things here; as compared to its real meaning -- "speculate" also means when you book a room that you know you'll be using; but you haven't decided which members of your group will be staying in it ... but ...) others who KNOW they will use the room get shut out."

In other words -- there aren't enough rooms for everyone who wants one. That's what's led to all the issues. So, if the con grows ... won't that issue be exacerbated?

Quote:
As I understood it (and perhaps I don't), there are still condos and chalets available. They are more expensive, so some people are choosing to stay in Somerset or Dongegal. Those towns are part of the WBC now, I think. We will always have people that choose to stay there year after year, so in that sense, the con does have room to grow.
But, for sure, staying off-site is workable. Some people will choose this outright over staying on-site.

The 2nd con in Seven Springs hasn't happened yet. We'll see how it shakes out over the next few years.


If it's this easy, then there's no issue - and, as such - the whole "lose your entire deposit" shouldn't even be an issue.

It's clearly not.


Quote:
I know we've done this dance before, but it just seems everything is so negative in your mind. I get you can't come and that sucks, but the move wasn't personal and the board isn't acting against the membership. They are trying to make the WBC better and sustainable so that it is still there when you can come back.



This isn't about the move. This is about a policy (that, in fact, I *know* I was partially responsible for; simply because the way I did things wasn't the 'preferred' way). So, in that vein, it "is" personal (this instance).

I don't care about the move, per se; I'd be saying this if the con had moved one town away from me; if this policy was still in place.
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Kevin C.
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*That's* the way to do business. Don't rub salt in a wound.


Do we know that Ken isn't operating this way? So far, someone said they decided the condo was a better deal, so they tried to cancel the hotel reservation and Ken said no.

I have no idea what other requests Ken has denied, but I would bet my collection that if someone were truly suffering a catastrophe like you relate above, Ken would chuck the policy and we would all understand.

In other words, the policy is strongly worded and we've seen a few people get screwed over by it, but we have no evidence that Ken is rejecting truly tragic requests. As I said, I would bet he wouldn't do that and we all understand the exceptions in such cases.

"Extenuating" doesn't necessarily equate to "tragic." What you were going through above isn't the same as your company revoking your vacation or the in-laws giving you the time share in Bermuda the week of the WBC on short notice.

You're right that anyone can make a case for "extenuating" circumstances and Ken probably doesn't want to be Judge Judy for every single, "This circumstance sucks for me, so I want a refund."

But I sure Ken has a "human" line in which he would make an exception and not rub salt in a legitimate wound.

Quote:
In other words -- there aren't enough rooms for everyone who wants one. That's what's led to all the issues. So, if the con grows ... won't that issue be exacerbated?


I don't think it is going to grow by leaps and bounds. There is probably a behavior/taste cap on a convention like the WBC. If the board finds that all of a sudden 100's of people want to come, then they would have to do some thinking about what to do about such a "problem."

When I say "grow," I'm talking about some short-stay people coming back like they did in Lancaster.

A sell-out is a win for the hotel and the board. Beyond that it is gravy and, perhaps, there isn't much that can be done in such a case beyond, "You'll have to stay somewhere else."

But, again, this would be a "good" problem to have. "Where do we put the extra people once every room on the property is sold for the week?," is akin to tickets and rooms to PAX or GenCon going so quickly. The WBC would become a super-hot commodity in gaming and some people simply couldn't come.

This is a pipe-dream for our type of convention, though. The idea is to try to allow as many people that want to come to be able to conveniently. We are up to 2,000 after 20+ years. I don't think we will see major growth that exacerbates the lodging problem anytime soon. Or at least, in numbers that make it a major problem.

Quote:
If it's this easy, then there's no issue - and, as such - the whole "lose your entire deposit" shouldn't even be an issue.


I don't know if it is easy or not, since we aren't through two years. I was just speculating () that some people that get turned out of a sold-out hotel might turn to Dongegal and Somerset. I know some people are going there as a first choice.

It might turn out, however, to be unattractive to the majority of potential attendees and they just decide not to come at all.

Give this a bit more of a chance to play out. We've got one convention down and one about to happen. There aren't really patterns to speak of yet like we had at the Host.

It could be a ton of people decide to stay in Somerset/Donegal next year or it could be a ton of people, like me, decide to go from Somerset to onsite. Or it could be a marginal move either way with no real impact.

Either way, again, I would expect to see the policy morph.

Kevin
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Andrew E
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Statalyzer wrote:
The same number of people get rooms regardless.

But do the same number of room-days get used?

It's possible they keep a good waiting list, but most hotels aren't set up for that, and these cancellations will simply be sold to the first lucky caller, which will probably be a weekend warrior on an impulse trip, meaning the room will sit empty for several weekdays.
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David E
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Lemur wrote:
On the other hand, earlier today, on Facebook, one of the board members did announce that he knew someone who had a room booked from first Friday to the last Sunday; and this person couldn't attend. He wanted to know if anyone needed a room - and to email him; and he'd put them in contact. So, maybe the key is to be friends with a board member, since -- I guess -- that is the way to get an exception?



...

huh.
 
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William Ramsay
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I don't believe we've even approached anywhere near capacity for the hotel, condos, and chalets.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Possibly, but there was the issue at the Host where rooms picked up at the last minute didn't count against the room allocation so WBC didn't get credit for filling the place


Any idea if this is true for 7 Springs?

Quote:
Also if someone books on spec for 9 days, someone else who would come from a long way (or abroad) sees the place is full and would come for nine days but doesn't come at all, then the room is released and goes to someone who books 5, then the hotel loses 4 days


That's easy enough to rule around. If I have a 9 day reservation and have to cancel, and someone else on the waitlist gets the room for 7 days, I'm still on the hook for the other 2 and they pay for the 7 they use. That seems quite fair to everyone involved.

Quote:
Finally, remember you cannot book rooms at all until January, so there is not the "Next Year Sold Out before we even leave" there was at the host, and people have nearly 6 months of grace they didn't have before before they can even attempt to book rooms.


Thus fixing most of the problem already, making it much less likely that speculation is going on and much more likely that any cancellations are unavoidable bad luck.

natsean wrote:
Quote:
The same number of people get rooms regardless.


In theory, but what if that person can't find someone to transfer the room to because other people made different plans when they found the hotel sold out?


Isn't there a waitlist? I've been under that impression but possibly that is not the case.
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