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I've been going to conventions since 2006, and it just seems that more often than not that hotels are renovating RIGHT as we get there. Now, I understand hotels need to do business, expand and etc. BUT it seems as though it happens year round (not just during the Summer) and it's often pretty extensive.

The WBC debacle with Open Gaming wasn't renovation, but I thought that was a little bit of a slap. And NOW Day's Inn with their renovation at Euroquest. I dunno, it just seems most times gamers get the short end of service this side of the country.

ANyone else anywhere else seeing this trend?
 
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Shellie Rose
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If you want to keep expenses down for an event for the event participants, you book when the rates are lower. The rates are lower during the times when a convention center has less business. Convention centers also schedule renovations during the times that they have the least business.
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Got two game tables and a microphone
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AH. So if they are discriminating against gamers, it's cuz gamers are cheap. OK.
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David desJardins
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I think the connection is even more direct. Hotels will offer lower rates at times they will be conducting renovations. Some conventions are very sensitive to things like that, and will avoid those times. Game conventions are less sensitive, people mostly just want to play games and don't really care about amenities. Personally I would be happy if game conventions were less price sensitive and had better facilities, but that would be bad for lots of other attendees, so I understand why it is what it is.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I think the connection is even more direct. Hotels will offer lower rates at times they will be conducting renovations. Some conventions are very sensitive to things like that, and will avoid those times. Game conventions are less sensitive, people mostly just want to play games and don't really care about amenities. Personally I would be happy if game conventions were less price sensitive and had better facilities, but that would be bad for lots of other attendees, so I understand why it is what it is.


Ironically, the only time I've really taken issue with hotel accomodation changes is during WBC. I believe it was 2006 when some people woke up to a huge draft only to find their windows had been removed. Then there was the whole comedy club thing this year. The outside tent was nasty, even by "gamer standards" (just kidding)...

BUT, your explanation regarding renovations make sense (from Prezcon to EuroQuest to WBC, all have had hotel renovations in the past two years while I've gamed there). And no one says we have to stay at the hosting hotel (which, by some stroke of fate, I won't be this year.) Just curious...
 
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Michelle Zentis
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DaviddesJ wrote:
I think the connection is even more direct. Hotels will offer lower rates at times they will be conducting renovations. Some conventions are very sensitive to things like that, and will avoid those times. Game conventions are less sensitive, people mostly just want to play games and don't really care about amenities. Personally I would be happy if game conventions were less price sensitive and had better facilities, but that would be bad for lots of other attendees, so I understand why it is what it is.


EuroQuest has been in the same place at the same time for years, so I think in this case we just happened to overlap with regularly-scheduled construction, and it's not surprising that the organizers wouldn't want to move the con just to avoid it. It sounds like it shouldn't be that big a deal, except for the possible closure of the first-floor bathrooms.
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Matthew Frederick
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Gamers (and scifi fans) are cheap in more than one way, which affects hotel attitudes about our desirability quite a bit. We not only don't want to play $100 a head for the space (much less the money needed to run the con), but we also -- compared to most business conventions -- don't drink much in the bar, eat much in the restaurant, or pay the hotel for a lot of catering (like in-convention-space group meals, open bars, etc.).

daveroswell wrote:
And no one says we have to stay at the hosting hotel (which, by some stroke of fate, I won't be this year.)

This is tricky, though, since the other reason that we're less-desirable than other groups is that we tend to buy many fewer room nights than most groups, either because we're cheap and so just drive back and forth to the hotel from home, because we're cheap and stay at nearby cheaper hotels, or cheap because we almost always have roommates.

Most commonly, the price the convention pays for hotel space is based on a guarantee of a certain number of room-nights our group will buy. This has a huge effect on what hotels we can use and when as well.

It's tough for gamers, but we're just not that profitable for hotels (and convention centers), and will take the badly-timed space in order to pay a reasonably-small amount.
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While agreeing with much of what's been stated here, I just want to take issue with the "gamers are cheap" thing. I don't think we are cheaper than many other hobbyists. The thing is, most conventions are attended by people who aren't paying for anything --typically, employers pick the tab for those, as most of them are business trips.

Gaming conventions, on the other hand, are very hard to get in expenses reports (not that I've tried).

In short, it's not that we're cheap, it's that a lot of the others are generous with other people's money.
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Mr.Baggins wrote:
While agreeing with much of what's been stated here, I just want to take issue with the "gamers are cheap" thing. I don't think we are cheaper than many other hobbyists. The thing is, most conventions are attended by people who aren't paying for anything --typically, employers pick the tab for those, as most of them are business trips.

Gaming conventions, on the other hand, are very hard to get in expenses reports (not that I've tried).

In short, it's not that we're cheap, it's that a lot of the others are generous with other people's money.


Yes. This is true. I worked as an event planner for three years. During conference season (usually mid Jan - mid April, in the northeast US), to get rooms, you have to purchase a certain amount of food service for the event, otherwise you have to pay absurdly high room rental fees. For an inexpensive conference (coffeee break and lunch), we needed to charge at least $100 per day per participant - more if we did a dinner. These fees, as well as participants' hotel bills were almost always paid by employers. During off season, which is July, August and November, we could get rooms by promising a certain number of room nights and, if we needed a lot of space, a certain amount of meals purchased by the participants (think the dinner set up at WBC). Off season was most often the time picked for events where individuals would be paying their own way.

I'm rather surprised that Game Days is able to get space in May, which is wedding season, and when rates typically sky rocket. The hotel they use must not do many weddings.
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caesarmom wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
I think the connection is even more direct. Hotels will offer lower rates at times they will be conducting renovations. Some conventions are very sensitive to things like that, and will avoid those times. Game conventions are less sensitive, people mostly just want to play games and don't really care about amenities. Personally I would be happy if game conventions were less price sensitive and had better facilities, but that would be bad for lots of other attendees, so I understand why it is what it is.


EuroQuest has been in the same place at the same time for years, so I think in this case we just happened to overlap with regularly-scheduled construction, and it's not surprising that the organizers wouldn't want to move the con just to avoid it. It sounds like it shouldn't be that big a deal, except for the possible closure of the first-floor bathrooms.


This is true. The Days Hotel has been renovating since August, I believe.
 
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Construction Issues during EuroQuest
Due to construction delays during ongoing renovations at Days Hotel, we regret to inform all potential attendees to expect construction-related difficulties on site. Consequently, this year we will be unable to provide our attendees the customary degree of amenities they have come to expect at this facility during our stay. Specifically,

1. Upon arrival and departure, you will need to use the rear entrance of the hotel for access to both the lobby and gaming space.
2. Access to Chili's will require exit of the hotel to reach the main entrance for the restaurant.
3. Restroom access may be limited to the second floor.
4. Some overflow open gaming may be moved to suites on the top floor if necessary.

We appreciate your patience!
 
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Quote:
Most commonly, the price the convention pays for hotel space is based on a guarantee of a certain number of room-nights our group will buy. This has a huge effect on what hotels we can use and when as well.


This is so true; I did research with the Marriott here in DC for the Plone Conference and the pricing they gave was dependent on the # of rooms they expected to fill and vice versa (meaning the room rate they were willing to give was a reflection on the services we going to use in the conference).
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It's a question of scale, and the hotel's economic model. At the small end (such as the convention I help run - see left - which will be capped at 100 attendees) there are differing models. The hotel we're at has no requirement on us to book rooms, or food constraints. (Obviously they had hopes there, and I think they got what we told them they should expect, without promises.) Others had requirements in these areas. We didn't go for the alternatives as having required room bookings was too high a risk for us, and the assumption of at least one hotel that there would be a big fixed meal where everyone was cleared out, then a meal was set up and served, then cleared away, was so far removed from what gamers want as to just be a quick "thanks, but no thanks".

Incidentally, nicest touch at that hotel (nothing to do with us). Instead of the "if you aren't staying here or attending something here, you can't use the car park, if you try we'll get nasty" sign there was a "if you use the car park while not staying here etc. please put a suitable donation in our charity box" (I forget if they suggested a figure).
 
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Well, I actually meant the "cheap" comment as a joke, but I would always like to keep hotel costs down, as would convention vendors I suppose. So we could BUY MO' STUFF!
 
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Heh.

It gets worse...one of the reasons the Strategicon conventions in Los Angeles changed venues was due to extensive renovation at the old venue.

The new venue proceeded to sell their parking structure to another company.

This company decided to knock down the parking structure right before the convention. Permit difficulties led to a reprieve.

Guess when the difficulties were resolved? Right before the *next* convention. (There are 3 a year.)

With less than a week's notice, boom, no on-site non-valet parking for *the* major gaming convention in Los Angeles. (Never mind this was an airport hotel with no parking for their *guests*.)

Yeah, we are not desirable clientele.
 
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Mr.Baggins wrote:
While agreeing with much of what's been stated here, I just want to take issue with the "gamers are cheap" thing. I don't think we are cheaper than many other hobbyists. The thing is, most conventions are attended by people who aren't paying for anything --typically, employers pick the tab for those, as most of them are business trips.

Yeah, don't misunderstand: I really do mean "we are cheap from the perspective of the hotels."
 
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Game conventioners are cheap thrifty.
 
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I'm familiar with the Lancaster Host where WBC is held from attending numerous HMGS-East miniatures cons there.

It's a fact that gamer reactions to convention center hospitality is all over the map. I know people who despise the Host and people who hope events stay there forever.

The most significant determiner of where gamers stand on such things seems to be personal affluence. For people who don't have to count their dollars, expectations for hosting locations are high and noted flaws are numerous.

For people who operate with a fixed budget both for convention attendance and purchases, tolerance for hosting locations is high and noted flaws are accepted as the price for affordable attendance (and money left over for dealers and flea markets).

As can probably be deduced, I have always been, and remain, in the second group.

Unfortunately my friends and I have come to recognize a distinct and not-always-subtle disdain for people in our situation on the part of those for whom such considerations are irrelevant.

Given the current and probable future state of the economy, I suspect that most dealers will side strongly with the budget-constrained attendees rather than see con attendance and consumer purchasing suffer.

Given the current and probable future state of the economy, I also suspect that convention centers will increase, rather than diminish, services to gamers at conventions.

I do not think there is a specific convention-site bias against gamers; I've been told by several resort people at three different locations that the con crowds are among the most orderly and generally among the most courteous (though tipping could be better).
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Just remember, if they're renovating they're not acquiring any fame... though it may help with the master designer bonus.
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Barry Kendall wrote:
Unfortunately my friends and I have come to recognize a distinct and not-always-subtle disdain for people in our situation on the part of those for whom such considerations are irrelevant.


I think the Lancaster Host is revolting. (I go there anyway, because I enjoy the convention.) But, just because I have disdain for the locale doesn't mean that I have disdain for people who are constrained by their budget. If that's what you're suggesting, I think it's really unfair.
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DaviddesJ wrote:

I think the Lancaster Host is revolting. (I go there anyway, because I enjoy the convention.) But, just because I have disdain for the locale doesn't mean that I have disdain for people who are constrained by their budget. If that's what you're suggesting, I think it's really unfair.


Heh. One of the few times David and I agree on something.

The Lancaster Host is a pit. A terrible hotel (facilities, amenities, staff, and service), and a total joke as a "resort".

This isn't an affluence thing; it is objectively an extremely poor venue, by any measure, including cost (for someplace that bad, I'd expect to be paying half of the going room-rate or less).

Seriously; it's one of the (major) reasons that my group from the West Coast aren't regular atttendees at the WBC.

I understand the difficulties inherent with finding a venue that fits all of "our" needs, but I think the WBC made a few too many compromises on this one, when the venue is actively driving attendees away.



 
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fnord23 wrote:


I think the WBC made a few too many compromises on this one, when the venue is actively driving attendees away.



This year was the first time I was able to make it to Lancaster, and while it wasn't the most accomodating (room A in the back where Vegas Showdown was held was about 300 degrees) it wasn't the worst "resort" I've been to either. I'll be back in 2009 as well.

I'm not sure the venue is driving too many folks away though, from the BPA newsletter in September:

BPA newsletter wrote:
Attendance again reached new heights in 2008, topping 2007's record level despite $4 gas and a sputtering economy. ... Our 154 tournaments included a record 16 events with triple digit entries, led by late-night favorite Liar's Dice with 212 players. Average event size grew to 47.1 participants overall and by the time everyone had left the Host was already 60% booked for 2009!
 
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sigtaulefty wrote:

I'm not sure the venue is driving too many folks away though,


Well, it's certainly keeping me and mine away, plus pretty much everyone that's on the fence that we tell about the venue. ;)

And the quality of the venue is just one of the reasons I tend to refer to the WBC as the World Boardgaming Championships of the Central Atlantic Coast and Near-Midwest. ;)

For whatever reason, people from those areas seem to have a lot less heartburn with the venue than people from other regions. (This based on a fairly large number of conversations with a bunch of people at the WBC, from all over.) Maybe those who have to fly in have higher expectations? I don't know, but the "locals" seem to be much more content with the venue.
 
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fnord23 wrote:
For whatever reason, people from those areas seem to have a lot less heartburn with the venue than people from other regions.


Well, obviously this ties in with Barry's earlier comment. People who can afford to fly across the country (or internationally) to attend a game convention are less likely to care about saving a few dollars on the room rate.
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fnord23 wrote:
sigtaulefty wrote:

I'm not sure the venue is driving too many folks away though,


Well, it's certainly keeping me and mine away, plus pretty much everyone that's on the fence that we tell about the venue.


And yet overall attendance increases. I think Barry nailed it as well.
 
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