Despite multi-year efforts to increase the total size of the housing block and a 13% growth of the room block this year alone, Gen Con’s housing block officially has sold out in less than a day. To put this in timing perspective, last year, open rooms existed in the block through March 18. In 2013, housing took seven weeks to ultimately sell out. This year’s sellout of rooms with three or more consecutive nights happened in less than three hours with all other rooms selling out quickly thereafter. Many new 4-Day Badge purchases poured in less than an hour prior to housing registration opening, creating a new, unforeseen spike in total requests just prior to housing going live. The total amount of badge purchases, to date, has increased by more than 200% from last year’s week one numbers.
One particularly frustrating aspect of the registration rush was that there were no consecutive blocks of rooms available from Thursday through Sunday. All the hotels listed indicated that Friday was sold out, a complaint repeated on Gen Con's Facebook page. The con disputes this in its release:
More than 99% of housing demand was used for 4-Day Badge attendees with equally high registration numbers for Friday and Saturday. 1-Day Badge holders account for less than 1% of the inventory needs and despite some speculation, Friday and Saturday received nearly equal booking nights throughout housing registration yesterday.
Other theories include technical glitches or scalpers. And yet, despite the system overload, some people did manage to book hotel rooms downtown after the initial deluge. Why? Given that registration took place at 12 p.m. EST, it's possible that after a half hour some attendees gave up, freeing the system so that others could get in at 12:30 p.m. The majority of successful registrants seem to have gotten in during the second half hour of it's opening. The apology is cold comfort for attendees who currently don't have a room or reserved a hotel at a much higher rate:
Gen Con apologizes for these technical inconveniences, and the team hopes to find and incorporate new solutions for growing housing placement needs.
No word yet as to whether or not Gen Con will waive the $50 cancellation fee for hotel reservations.
Want more? Subscribe to this column; follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and the web; buy my books: The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, The Well of Stars, and Awfully Familiar. Become an Examiner and get paid to write today!