Gen Con once again broke records this year, with weekend turnstile attendance of 159,364 and unique attendance of 49,058, growing the convention 20% from 2012’s record-setting 41,000+ unique attendees. Although this is good for gaming overall, it's not good news for attendees who are battling for a place to stay and to eat. Gen Con often coincides with the MotoGP or a Colts game. If all three land on one weekend, Indianapolis' hospitality may be stretched to the breaking point. Here's how the numbers match up:
- Gen Con: 41,000 attendees, $47 million in economic impact
- MotoGP: 60,000 spectators, $25 million in economic impact
- Colts Game: 65,000 spectators, $15 million in economic impact
For comparison, the Indy 500 (estimated) results in 124,000 visitors and $317 million in economic impact.
To put it another way, Gen Con generates the most value per visitor of all the events in Indianapolis. Gamers, it seems, spend a lot of money. Adding all these events up, over 160,000 visitors could descend on Indianapolis in one weekend. Indianapolis' hotels simply can't handle that volume:
Indianapolis offers more than 33,000 hotel rooms to visitors, with more than 7,100 of those rooms located in the downtown area. During any given week in 2012, Indianapolis has seen downtown hotel occupancy hover around 65 percent, a new record. So, on any given weekend in 2012, about 4,600 of the available 7,100 rooms in the downtown area are occupied.
Indianapolis's problem is good for the tourism industry, bad for attendees. Chris Gahl, vice president of marketing and communications for Visit Indy, said:
We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t project into the future—we can’t just sit idle. When the city sees a 70 percent occupancy rate at downtown and metropolitan hotels, we then can entertain another study to see about another hotel entering the marketplace...We feel that, currently, we have a sufficient number of hotel rooms in our inventory both downtown and in the metropolitan area to meet the supply and demand ratio that we’re seeing from a tourism perspective.
See the list for information about each of the events and what it might mean for Gen Con.
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