In search for a new venue: THE Dungeons + Geekdoms NJ 2018
Hey, gang. Cat, here. I have some news. I just heard from the Radisson in Piscataway, NJ, that they have declined to host our event in November. I want to be transparent about what happened. I contacted the hotel when we bought the event and asked them for a contract. They sent me an old contract with the old owner's name all over it and 2017 instead of 2018 and told me to sign that. I declined to do so and asked them to send me a contract with my name and 2018 on it. They didn't do so for quite some time. I assumed they were busy dealing with the SPWF situation and gave them the benefit of the doubt and time to sort things out.
I work with a professional meeting planner and had her call the hotel. She left multiple messages but never heard back. I finally wrote the hotel again a couple of months ago and asked them to address the issues with the contract and talk to my planner. They assured me they would talk with her and sent me another copy of the contract with the wrong year on it again. I assumed (my big mistake) that they were working on fixing things and that it would get sorted out. So I kept promoting and building the event.
Fast forward to July 18, 2018. An attendee sent me a note telling me that he'd tried to book a room and been told the weekend was sold out. I wrote to the hotel asking what was going on and if the hotel was, in fact, sold out. They replied telling me that they had decided to cancel the event since I hadn't signed the contract (with errors in it) that they sent me last time around.
I want to be clear with you all. I intended to take on the hotel contract. I was clear in my communication with the hotel that I was going to do so. They didn't even do me the courtesy of telling me they were going to release the dates before doing so, but they've indicated to me that they did notify the former owner. I guess, legally, they didn't have to notify me since I never formally had a contract, just a verbal agreement to sign one.
I'm incredibly frustrated by this situation. If the hotel had told me months ago that they didn't want to move forward, I would have begun the search for a new venue then. As it is, I doubt I will be able to find a new venue for an event to be held this November.
So here's the deal: I am going to search for a venue, but I don't think it's right for me to continue to hold your money. If you've paid THE for tickets to THE D+G NJ 2018, you are entitled to a full refund of your money, and if you want it, you will get it. I wish I could extend that offer to those of you who bought your tickets from the old owner, but I just don't have that money.
The best I can do is this: If you would still like to attend an event of ours this year, and you've bought a ticket to the NJ event, I will transfer that ticket free of charge to the August event being held the 10th-12th in Hartford, CT. We have some great stuff planned and would love to see you there. There are still hotel rooms available in our terrific and friendly host hotel, and if we sell out they've assured me they'll help me find a good room rate nearby. It doesn't matter whether you bought your NJ ticket from THE or the old company. We'll honor it for NE. If you're already going to NE, too, we'll extend that offer to next year's NE event. Just write us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "NJ to NE Transfer" and we'll make it happen for you, no muss, no fuss.
If we don't hear from you that you want to transfer your THE-purchased NJ ticket by July 31st, we will automatically issue you a refund of your ticket purchase and all fees associated with it.
We will begin the search for another venue in the mid-Atlantic right away and as soon as we have a contract in hand (lesson learned) we'll announce those dates.
I know I speak for my whole team when I tell you that we're incredibly disappointed in this situation and frustrated by what's happened. I'm sure many of you are, too. I apologize for my part in what's happened and can assure you that I'm never going to make the mistake of announcing a hotel event I don't have a signed contract in hand for again.