Friday, October 18, 2013

Convention Hotel Roommates

Finding roommates can be an arduous task. I have heard lots of horror stories about bad roommates and here is what I have learned.

Splitting the costs.
There are two ways to go about deciding costs for the hotel. First you can do what I have done in the past and that is split it by the day per person. This can get complicated, especially if you’re not very good at math. Say you’re at a hotel for 2 nights at $200 a night with 4 roommates. One roommate is only staying one night (Sally). Sally pays $50 for one night. Now the other night you only have three roommates so each of you pay $67 for the night plus the $50 for the second night that includes Sally. So Sally is paying $50 total and the other 3 people pay $177, add them together for a total of $401 for the two nights. I do math and I am pretty good at it and it confuses me sometimes. You basically have to break a room out by days and the amount of people. This is what I have been doing.

The second method is splitting the costs evenly regardless of the amount of days. So for that $400 for two nights it’s $100 per person regardless of the amount of days. This is how I will be running hotels in the future. What winds up happening with the crazy method above is you lose out on other roommates that would be able to stay the entire time, there for lowering the costs for everyone rather than a person staying on the one night everyone wants a hotel room. Thankfully, my hotels for next year are booked and I am not running them.

Ask Your Roommates to Pay in Advance.
The last two conventions I asked my roommates to pay two weeks in advance and this worked out wonderfully as they could PayPal me and then I could deposit it in time for check in. Cash is perfectly fine if you live near each other, often my roommates do not live near me.

Cancelations and References.
I have had the unfortunate experience of having roommates cancel very late in the game. Luckily one time with some help I was able to find a replacement roommate. Sometimes it’s so late (after check in late) that finding a replacement roommate is impossible. The proper thing to do by the person canceling is to still pay for their spot. It’s not fair to the rest of the roommates to foot the bill the person agreed upon paying. In both of these cases it was well past the cancelation date for the hotel so it’s not as though I could have canceled the room without a penalty, so why should roommates cancel with no intent to follow through on their agreement. At one convention we had a roommate that did this. The person canceled but still paid since it was last minute and we could not find a replacement. If I were the person canceling I would still pay for the room and then if either myself or my roommates found a replacement I would ask to be reimbursed. However, when finding new roommates I highly suggest getting references much like a job interview or when one is apartment hunting. You don’t want to be the person left footing the entire bill because everyone canceled last minute and never paid you.

Body Paint.
Decide if you are okay with airbrushing in the hotel. If you are the person running the hotel airbrushing can be nerve racking as the paint (from what I hear) is not always noticeable until the shower turns on and paint starts dripping down that walls. I don’t want to be charged for damages. If you are not okay with air brushing or body paint (because I am guessing that can get messy also) make sure to ask your potential roommates if they intend to use paints.

Party Animals and Sleeping Beauties.
I like my sleep. I am not a party girl. This does not mean I won’t go out, but it does mean I don’t normally go out past midnight (things tend to get crazy after that hour). It’s important to know if you’re comfortable rooming with someone who mind loudly stumble in at 4am and not want to be awake at 9am (or hear movement at that hour). Try to make sure you and you’re roommates are on the same page in regards to after parties. So far I have been very lucky with all of my roommates.

Introverts and Extroverts.
If you’re an introvert (like me) I suggest rooming with introverts. If you’re an extrovert then congrats you can room peacefully with an introvert and an extrovert but you might wear you’re introvert to pieces. I am an introvert and when I leave a convention I need a somewhat quiet wind down time. Much like I am used to at home. I am busy being social all day long but when I come home it’s pretty quiet and this is how I recharge for the next day. I can’t recharge if my batteries need to be on 100% of the time in the convention and outside. I will get through it but odds are I will get very cranky. I get cranky if I don’t get my wind down time. I am not going to be upset with my roomies for having different personalities but I will be cranky none-the-less. Extroverts need social activity to charge their batteries and feel alive. Introverts need quiet time as social activities drain us.

Assess You’re Comfort Level with the Amount of People in the Room.
No I don’t mean how comfortable you are with the actual roommates, but the amount of people in the room. Some people like to pay the least amount of money for a hotel room and to do this they are more than okay sleeping on the bathroom floor in order to do this. Often at conventions you will find 4 person rooms (maybe smaller) packed out with 7 people (or more). This is not my style. Just like I like sleep and wind down quiet time, I also like to have some room in the hotel. So to me a 4 person room is maxed out with 5 people (and that’s stretching it as I prefer 4). So make sure you know what you are comfortable with in regards to the amount of people. Some people don’t mind not having space for their luggage or to sleep. I do.

Extra Guests.
A note to all hotel roommates, it is considered in proper manners to ask your roommates before bringing guests into the hotel room especially when all roommates may not be in the room. The average person reading this might think well that makes perfect sense why even post this? This is because often during conventions people forget basic manners and bring friends into hotel rooms that can disrupt the other roommates. Let’s not forget that cosplay can be an expensive hobby and we do not want costumes or props broken or stolen. I tend to make friends easily and quickly in this community so that doesn’t mean I know them all very well. Imagine I bring someone to the hotel I don’t know well and something goes missing whose fault is it then? Not to mention roommates bring guests in for relations, just don’t do it.

Extra Guests Part 2.
Don’t offer floor space to extra guests if you are not running the hotel room. Ask the person running it first and make sure the extra person doesn’t expect a free night on the floor. Yes it’s the floor or a chair but hotels are expensive and the costs should be shared by whomever is in the room for the night.

Of course in addition there are always personalities to consider depending on the amount of time you will all be together, but I think those kinds of differences you learn from experience.

I hope this blog post is helpful and offers you some things to think about and consider when picking roommates. Convention roommates are awesome and I have had some friendships strengthened from rooming together and of course some not so much, but in the end it’s always a fun time rooming with friends especially when things go smoothly.