Sunday, May 17, 2020

Guest Post: Is North Texas RPG Convention Still Happening

Guest Poster Frugal GM
Ok, right off the bat big disclaimer: I'm not Erik. He's busy doing things none of us would want to be occupied doing and I volunteered to post on his behalf until he can resume.

I apologize in advance.

Yeah..right. I've finally got a captive audience of more than 12 13 readers and you'll just have to suck it up.

So here we are, mid-May, with a scant three weeks before North Texas RPG Con and the big question is really if the con is going to happen or not this year. It's obviously a complicated question and the answer is a definitive Yes and No, which I personally find a bit infuriating.

Nothing on the con at all, but really the hotel. Now I used to travel a lot for work, allegedly still do, and I'm very much a Marriott guy. I used to be Hilton all the way, but one horrific stay and I turned my back on them. I'm fast on my way to Lifetime Titanium with Marriott and if I never stay in another Hilton again in my life, I'm good.

Yeah, I know...you don't care. You probably shouldn't. I mention this because as a frequent business traveler Marriott is bending over backwards to cater to it's individual guests. I haven't spent a night on the road this year (unfortunately), but Marriott is carrying over my status, my earned rewards, and I can cancel any of my upcoming reservations as little as 24 hours prior to a visit.

Business (Corporate) events have their own set of rules events are under contract with deposits, along with fees and fines. Marriott is NOT catering to these guests, which makes little to no sense to me. As a business client, NTRPG cannot simply cancel or move back the con because of the contract, which makes sense.....in a normal year. As of now nobody knows if Texas is even going to allow events like NTPRG to occur.

I get that, BUT........Marriott is already catering to some guests and let's be blunt, they largely cater to travelers and allegedly have a clue about travel. I mean, this location is an airport hotel for a reason, right?

For those of you who do not travel frequently, or travel by air frequently. There are normally specific gates (as in timelines) when it comes to purchasing airline tickets. You'll generally see a price spike a two months to six weeks before the date of travel, again a month out, two weeks out, three days out....you get the point. Realistically we've already approached the appropriate gate for deciding to get tickets to NTRPG Con. If people were going to come, they need to have made the decision already. You cannot count on last-minute plane tickets.

Now I'm still online to come, but I'm within driving distance. I'll be cancelling one of my reserved rooms, because the guy I reserved it for isn't coming. Marriott is taking care of me because they want my future business......

See where I'm going with this? Marriott has to know that realistically NTRPG Con isn't going to happen, but instead of taking care of this customer, and their future business, they seem to be more concerned with this single transaction. This is the kind of thing that can make or break a convention.....and any decent Business Manager (basically the Hotel's Business-to-Business liaison) is going to know this.

Now Bad Mike and NTRPG really hasn't been complaining (I've seen none), but they have been clear what is going on. From today on Facebook (about an hour ago): "The state of Texas is unclear at this time whether gatherings of over 10 people who are not relatives are allowed, so we are proceeding with both virtual and face to face cons. If the face to face con is cancelled, we will have games virtual. If not, we will still have games virtual, with some at a tabletop. Flexibility."

The Spirit to ServeClearly they con is going on in some capacity, but the staff is having to jump through a bunch of hoops needlessly. If there is no call now, when really the majority of travelers have already had to make the decision to go/not go, Marriott should really step up and take care of their business partner. You want to now what is harder than organizing a convention? Organizing two conventions, one physical that may or may not happen, and a virtual convention.

Now all this is clearly my opinion, but I'm guessing a few people would share my sentiment. It's really a shame that Marriott would do this to a business customer and through them, to all of the other customer who would otherwise be spending time & money on their properties. Sure you'll take care of my room this year, but you're ok with making it so I don't need a room next year or the years after that because you ran the con into the ground?

I'm thinking someone needs to re-read The Spirit to Serve.


  1. One of our issues is that it's very obvious the hotel itself has no clue how to interpret the orders as it comes to conventions, since these aren't specifically mentioned (no guidelines on hotels or conventions in the governor's orders). Their decision in this time of not knowing more is to assume everything will go ahead as planned, even with cancellations that will put us at about 50 people or so when the con comes around. I wish they had been more helpful in this regard but I suspect legally they were obligated to "pretend" everything is fine and will go on as planned.

  2. Good read i really would love to see more guest post on the blog.

  3. Good points all, CS. I put in four years of service stripes as a plankholder at a Fairfield Inn, and I agree that this hotel should just step up and say, one way or the other.


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