[UPDATE: Gen Con has responded to the customer issues many have faced since housing registration began. They have released a statement which you can see here: Gen Con Response to Attendees on Housing Issues.]
Gen Con’s housing for attendees opened up yesterday at noon. Thousands of gamers were glued to their computer screens, waiting for the clock to strike noon (Eastern Time) to begin their hotel reservation process. As we mentioned earlier, Gen Con switched from the Visit Indy Housing Bureau to a new partner, Q-Rooms, to set up their housing system for this year. While some attendees, like myself, found the new system a breeze and got their hotel rooms quickly, numerous other patrons were struck with site issues, leading them to lose their rooms or get logged out all together.
Over on the Gen Con forums, threads are flaming up with attendee issues. Some gamers report site lag on the Gen Con official site, causing hang-ups of 15+ minutes before they could even get into the housing portal. Others complain of a timeout by the “Passkey” system, the new system put in place to help manage reservations. Apparently when some attendees got through the housing portal to reserve a room, they were eventually greeted with a timeout message. This timeout would last for forever it seemed, and it eventually led to the user being logged out of the housing system completely.
Other attendees commented saying that they were able to have the rooms they wanted in-hand numerous times, but the Passkey system timed out and forced them to start their registration process over again each time. Even those who were waiting and ready right at the opening of housing. Forum member Fiddleback, a first-time Gen Con attendee, commented on how this affects his first trip to the convention:
Had the exact place and the exact days I wanted all ready to go. Clicked to go to the billing info and was sent back to the front page to enter my access code again. Then I couldn’t get the dates I’d had. Went for second choice, kicked back to the start. By then, after re-entering my code, everything within 2 miles was gone. Which if fine, because it then kicked me AGAIN to the front page after which everything under 6 miles is essentially gone. Unless I want to room hop. Every day. Which I don’t. Also, the housing phone line is swamped, so I’m waiting for them to call me back. Emailing would have been nice, but part of the info needed in the email is a reservation confirmation. If I had one of those, why would I need the wait list? so far, this is a great start to my first GenCon.
On the other hand, 20-time convention veteran ryric commented on how this system compared to previous years:
I never got the link through the gen con site. A friend that was trying to book at the same time sent me the direct link to the Passkey site. Strangely I made it through the queue using the link first, despite his being in the queue before me, in fact he ended up timing out twice in a row. I got the room I wanted but by the time he actually got through there were literally no downtown hotels available Wed-Sat. Hotels would look like they were available, but when you actually clicked on them they would have one or more days grayed out so not actually be available. Then he got booted and had to reenter the queue again.
This is not my first go at this rodeo (yay 20th Gen Con!) but this is the worst I’ve seen hotel registration behave in years. I’m accustomed to 5 minute waits, not 25 minutes of frantic reloading. And that’s just to get the Gen Con page to load, let alone actualy using the housing link.
Any chance of sending the Passkey link directly through our email receipts? Getting it early would save a step of having to load the Gen Con page before even getting in line to get a room.
The list of woes goes on for pages. As far as response from Gen Con goes, a forum moderator by the name of marimacc commented in the thread in an attempt to explain both lag and site issues to attendees:
Unfortunately, way more people want to stay in downtown hotels than we have space for. Please call/email the housing bureau to get your name on the waitlist. I know you feel outraged because you were here when you were supposed to be, but, so were many many other people wanting the same hotel as you. Just please watch the portal and the forums for drops, and add your name on the waitlist. A lot of people get in on the waitlist.
For those who had issues during hotel registration, make sure you send an email to email@example.com to ensure you’re put on the wait list. I know it seems daunting, but as the months draw nearer to the convention rooms start opening up. For those who made it through the system successfully, consider yourselves lucky – I know I do. For more information on housing, or to see what’s currently happening in the community, head over to the Gen Con forums. We can still make this a great Gen Con, so let’s stay positive!