I just got through GenCon hotel reservations. What a shitty system that is! I get the hotel rooms for a group of 7 people. We prefer to get the 3-bed suites, which are a bit more economical and we thus only need 2 total rooms. There are about 3 hotels that offer those kind of rooms, and they do go fast.
So there I am, logged into the site on two different computers, once as me and once as my wife. As they only let you reserve one room at a time, my hope is to reserve two rooms very rapidly with two different accounts so we have a better chance at getting the rooms we want, or at least rooms in the same hotel. Both computers get a “you’re in line” message. OK, waiting…
One gets in. I select the room I want: 3-bed suite at the Hilton. I enter guest names and email addresses. Why is it required to enter a separate email for each guest? What a pain. I get that all in. I enter the CC #, and the room is booked. By now the second computer has made it in. I select another 3-bed suite at the Hilton. I enter more guest names and email addresses (as a cheat, I’m just copy/pasting my own email address 3 times). I get to the CC entry point, and I get an error: the room you selected is no longer available. WTF? It went away while I was entering freaking guest info?!
I go back, the Hilton is gone as a choice entirely. I select the Comfort Suites instead, which I’ve never heard of, but seems to have 3-bed suites. This time I successfully reserve a room. I go back to computer #1 and see if I can somehow switch my reservation to this other hotel. I find the hotel still has another room available. Screw it, I book it, now we have 3 rooms. Two at least are in the same hotel. I figure eventually when the dust settles I’ll cancel one.
OK, lest I just complain without offering a solution, here’s how to do it right Housing Bureau:
You know this is coming months in advance. So do many of the people attending. Let us log into a site and enter exactly which hotel rooms we want. Allow us to enter multiple rooms per account, and enter all the guest info at our leisure. Maybe even the CC info if we’re comfortable with that. Let us create a prioritized list: 1st choice: 2 3-bed suites at the Hilton, 2nd choice: 2 3-bed suites at Embassy Suites, etc. Then, on the day the thing officially opens, just hold an automated lotto and send us out emails about which rooms we got.
OK, you don’t like the site holding onto your CC # that long? You can still do all of the above, and then just make us log in and enter that last piece of crucial info on the date registration opens. Sure, we still have to queue up, but at least it’s quick and immediate about which rooms we get.
Hey GenCon, here’s a hint: do event registration the same way.
Will this get me better rooms or into more events I like? Probably not. Will it prevent me from having an extremely stressful experience at your website? Definitely.