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BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2019 9:48 a.m. PST

From the Lancaster area newspaper today:

link

Since you have to register to read this, I have copied the article below:

Bigger conventions expected from addition of downtown hotel rooms

This spring, there will be a major jump in the number of convention-quality hotel rooms in the vicinity of Lancaster County Convention Center.

The 300-room Marriott is soon to open a 110-room addition. Meanwhile, Hotel Lancaster will soon wrap up renovations and debut as a Holiday Inn. It will bring its full complement of more than 210 rooms online, up from about 130 when the renovation commenced.

The Holiday Inn will be "quite competitive" and expects to increase its market share for events and rooms, developer John Meeder said.

Kevin Molloy, the convention center authority's executive director, said the additional rooms will allow the venue to attract larger events, lure back some events that left Lancaster and retain others that are starting to outgrow current room capacity.

Marketing staff target around 20 events that fall into one of those three categories, he said, though he declined to name specific examples.

Some familiar with the county's hospitality industry have questioned how more rooms could bring larger events to a convention center that's staying the same size.

But Molloy said solid market research drove the decision to expand the Marriott. Moreover, the added downtown rooms are likely to increase the number of spillover rooms elsewhere, he said, because additional downtown rooms change the economics of providing shuttle service.

If a large event has enough people staying downtown, it can afford a shuttle to bring in the remainder from outlying hotels, he said. With too few downtown rooms, it's harder to absorb that cost, raising the chance that the event will go elsewhere instead.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2019 10:03 a.m. PST

Wonder how/when HMGS will inform the membership of this impending availability?

BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2019 10:21 a.m. PST

I am sure they will when the rooms officially become available. Can't reserve a room that is not in the hotel's system yet.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2019 11:26 a.m. PST

Trying to imagine myself maneuvering a two-wheel cart full of flea market stuff from one motel to another--three times. All between start of legal set-up and the opening, you understand.

Dynaman878910 Feb 2019 11:36 a.m. PST

Don't which is whinier – HMGS con threads or the people in my HOA.

corzin10 Feb 2019 12:29 p.m. PST

reading is fundamental…i kept wondering where the holiday inn was…

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Feb 2019 12:41 p.m. PST

"Trying to imagine myself maneuvering a two-wheel cart full of flea market stuff from one motel to another--three times. All between start of legal set-up and the opening, you understand."

Yeah, but you won't need a coal miners helmet to see the merchandise and the elevator works, so you've got that going for you, which is nice.

No venue is perfect, just keep saying that and you'll be able to soldier your way through it soldier.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2019 4:51 p.m. PST

Double G, I can't remember you saying "no venue is perfect" and tasking it so calmly when you were discussing the Host.

Point you may have missed is that if I don't flea market, I don't attend. Dealers generally seem to like me to attend.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Feb 2019 5:04 p.m. PST

"Point you may have missed is that if I don't flea market, I don't attend."

Ok, here we go; why is that?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 5:22 a.m. PST

Not that it's any of your business, Double G, but two reasons.
First, I realized in retirement that I am horrendously overbought in miniatures. If I don't find the bulk of them good homes, I'm leaving a mess for my son--which he may choose to evade by dropping them all in the nearest dumpster. To get myself down to my target 15 combinations of period and scale and find good homes for the rest, I've needed about 10 conventions so far, and need another six to 12. As HMGS continues to search for more inaccessible locations, we may be talking about driving years I don't have.

Second, it mitigates the expense. The old gang is gone, and neither driving nor room expenses shared. If you calculate the mileage at Federal rates, showing up in Lancaster costs me:
$450 USD in gas, wear on the car and tolls.
$400 USD in motel bill
$50 USD+ in HMGS fees
Toss in eating out Thursday through Sunday, and one of these little pleasure jaunts costs me $1,000 USD before you or any other vendor gets a dime. Selling off a hatchback full of surplus wargaming gear lets me buy a few figures and accessories to those 15 keeper projects while trimming the overall damage--in a good show, if I'm lucky--by about a quarter.

So if the organizers aren't interested in getting me to a flea market table, they obviously would prefer I not attend. And you certainly would rather I wasn't there. Why go where I am not welcome? For the short, simple horse and musket games?

Al Swearengen Inactive Member11 Feb 2019 6:57 a.m. PST

On a related subject an article on the Host:

link

I don't even recognize the lobby.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 8:05 a.m. PST

Thank you, Al. So still no restaurant? Elevators? It will be good when it's done, though.

You know, I actually downloaded pictures of the old facility to remember it by. I doubt the new one will ever be home in the same way.

47Ronin11 Feb 2019 10:33 a.m. PST

Thanks for posting the article, Al.

Not only does it talk about the changes at The Host, it also mentions the renovations and expansions to the Valley Forge Convention Center and the downtown Lancaster Convention Center, each of which will host an HMGS convention in 2019.

Nice to have options. Let's give the HMGS BOD some credit for not putting all the HMGS eggs in one basket and for leveraging the three locations against each other to get a better deal for those attending the conventions.

I suspect that HMGS might be the only group using all three venues.

Hope to see you there.

dapeters11 Feb 2019 11:10 a.m. PST

Why are they cutting down on the Flea Market? If they want to do mid night madness then fine, but don't cut out the day stuff?

Puddinhead Johnson11 Feb 2019 11:23 a.m. PST

Trying to imagine myself maneuvering a two-wheel cart full of flea market stuff from one motel to another--three times. All between start of legal set-up and the opening, you understand.

I suppose they'll have to find a way to struggle on without you, as crazy as that sounds.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 11:47 a.m. PST

I suppose they'll have to find a way to struggle on without you, as crazy as that sounds.

Yeah. Hard to imagine, isn't it?

Ploogak11 Feb 2019 11:51 a.m. PST

dapeters – I don't think anyone said anything about cutting down the Flea Market. If it was mentioned here and I missed it, there aren't any plans to do that that I know of.

robert – Historicon will have secure areas in the convention center where we can store your flea market items once you drop them off the first day for the duration of the show.

Joby

Grumble8710611 Feb 2019 12:08 p.m. PST

For those who can't access the LNP link, here are excerpts from the article on the Host renovation.

The bottom line -- literally -- Rates for a weekday stay in May start at $135 USD, according to the Wyndham website. while a Friday or Saturday stay that month starts at $152. USD

The line that jumped out at me: "Few customers will get excited by essential but out-of-sight construction features like new plumbing, of course." The writer obviously has not read recent TMP threads.

Here are the quotes (warning -- long post ahead).

No matter how many costly surprises he encountered, Kalpesh Vakil kept his eyes on the prize.

Vakil and business partner Jason Cheng bought the Lancaster Host Resort in 2016 for $6 USD million, aiming to revitalize the faded property.

They figured it would cost about $15 USD million and take about 18 months until the resort was poised to take full advantage of its prime Lincoln Highway East location.
Soon, however, Vakil and Cheng discovered that the county's largest hotel had many more issues than they had realized.

Undeterred, they roughly doubled their renovation budget to $27 USD million and the timeline to three years.

Now their "extreme makeover" to transform, modernize and reposition the landmark is 90 percent complete.

Renamed the Wyndham Lancaster Resort & Convention Center, the 317-room luxury facility anticipates having a grand reopening in May.

The resort has stayed open during the renovation process, serving its group and meeting clientele.

In the meantime, all guest rooms have been refurbished and are available to be booked.

Work continues to revamp and slightly relocate the main entrance, redo the lobby, replace the restaurant, add a spa, upgrade the golf course's pro shop and complete other changes.

As that grand opening nears, the Wyndham is increasing its workforce. With 40 employees currently, it anticipates having 100 by June, 180 by October and 300 by spring 2021.

Vakil believes a key to winning that competition with the Hersheys and Valley Forges of the mid-Atlantic region will be the upgraded facility and the Wyndham flag.
Becoming a Wyndham franchise, which took effect in December, brings a strong reputation, powerful reservation system and robust appeal to the group, business and leisure markets, he said.

Then there's the numerous extra touches to improve the guest experience at his property.

These range from installing extra padding under the new carpet, to giving guests the option of a tub or shower stall in their bathroom, to installing a refrigerator in every guest room, not just the suites.

"I believe in customer service," he said. "If I make my customers very happy, I don't have to go and hunt for business. They will come automatically.

"If I take their money, I want to make sure they feel like they got more than they spent," Vakil said.
Vakil hopes he and Cheng get more in return than they're spending, too.

Initially, he acknowledged, "I didn't know what I was getting into. … It's like building a brand new hotel."
From the outset, he knew he had a long to-do list: gut and rebuild all the guest rooms, replace the single-pane windows with double pane, improve access for people with disabilities, replace the carpet, shift the main entrance, add a tower at the entrance (with a lounge and office space) and replace the restaurant.
Then complications arose.

Some things ended up costing far more than expected, such as replacing the bathrooms and the gas-fired boiler that produces hot water.

But the bigger problem was the discovery of major deficiencies to the building. The roof needed to be replaced, as did the plumbing, kitchen, electrical transformer, fire-safety sprinkler system and outdoor pool.

Another pricey additional project involved the standalone 1,800-seat expo hall. To make it more appealing, its windows, roof, siding, concessions area, floor and bathrooms were replaced and a kitchen installed.
The majority of the renovations throughout the entire property were done by local contractors, Vakil noted.
Vakil credited the positive attitude and diligent work ethic of his team for accomplishing the raft of changes, expected and otherwise. "They all stuck by me," he said.

Few customers will get excited by essential but out-of-sight construction features like new plumbing, of course.
But there will be plenty of visible improvements as well.
To anyone who remembers the Lancaster Host's look, the difference is striking as soon as you walk in the main entrance.

Guests entering the sleek lobby will travel past the Starbucks Lounge, a coffee bar with a fireplace and big-screen TV. The menu will include pastries, salads and sandwiches.

Next to the lounge will be the Public Greens bar, restaurant and cafe, with 200 seats. Its name is a play on its organic, farm-to-table, locally sourced menu and the Wyndham's 18-hole golf course, where all 48 bunkers were rebuilt and sprinkler system rebuilt.

Guests also will see sweeping upgrades to the guest rooms.

Besides the refrigerators, all have gotten a new contemporary decor, their own digitally controlled air conditioning and heating units, as well as flat-screen TVs, wall safes, back-lit mirrors, a magnifying makeup mirror and free wireless internet service.

Twenty-four of the rooms are Wyndham Stay Well rooms, which have air purifiers, dawn-simulator wakeup lighting, memory-foam mattresses and an aroma-therapy unit. The rooms are cleaned with hypoallergenic products and a UV wand.

With all the improvements comes a higher price for rooms, Vakil acknowledged. Past rates were low, reflecting the condition of the property, he said, while new rates are competitive with comparable resorts.

Rates for a weekday stay in May start at $135 USD, according to the Wyndham website. while a Friday or Saturday stay that month starts at $152. USD

HMGSColdWarsCD Inactive Member11 Feb 2019 1:51 p.m. PST

For those of you who missed it here is a link to the Cold Wars convention brochure – https://www.hmgs.org/page/CWBrochure19

There is information on the Wyndham Lancaster Resort renovations and status (formerly the Host) as well as a link to additional photos of the lobby and bar area.

I have another site visit scheduled for February 15th and will be making a report shortly after.

*****

Changing the flea market hours was simple economics based on analysis of attendance patterns and overall events at the convention. This is an ongoing evaluation, but table sales as well as available participants (butts) vs available events (seats) are a factor in the decision to move the Friday session from the afternoon to the evening to optimize the convention offering rather than "just doing it the way it's always been"

Heather

Al Swearengen Inactive Member11 Feb 2019 1:52 p.m. PST

A look at rates in mid July shows weekend rates approaching $180. USD And you can bet the function room space is gonna cost more as well. So if the old Host was seen as too expensive by some, the new Host is def gonna be pricing people out. Be careful of what you wish for…

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 2:02 p.m. PST

"Not that it's any of your business, Double G…………………I am horrendously overbought in miniatures. If I don't find the bulk of them good homes, I'm leaving a mess for my son--which he may choose to evade by dropping them all in the nearest dumpster……………………….So if the organizers aren't interested in getting me to a flea market table, they obviously would prefer I not attend. And you certainly would rather I wasn't there. Why go where I am not welcome?"

Some interesting points here I'd like to address……

Well see it is my business because as a dealer, if a lot of other people have the same issues you do, less and less of them will show up, then there is a problem.

As far as being overbought; who's not? The next person I meet at a wargaming show who tells me he's all caught up and all of his figures are painted will be the first one.

But truth be told, isn't that half the fun; ie, all the projects people have planned that they want/hope to get to.

This really jumped out at me "And you certainly would rather I wasn't there. Why go where I am not welcome?"


Wow.

Sorry, but where have I ever written or said I don't want you there? Sorry if you feel that way, but that is not the case at all, not sure where that's coming from.

As far as your dilemma; if you have that much unwanted stuff, have you ever considered getting a booth in the dealer hall? You wouldn't have to hump your stuff back and forth, anytime you want to take a break/go play in a game/hit the flea market, just throw some sheets over your merchandise.


HMGS sells inexpensive, smaller booths that I think hold one or two tables, have ever thought about that?


Hell Robert, I might be able to assist you and you can put some of your stuff on my tables if I have room, it won't cost you anything in that regard other than my standard 90% commission…………;)………..(I kid).


Bottom line is you should be having fun at these events, not worrying about humping back and forth to the flea market, trying to cover your expenses, trying to sell off your unwanted items before you can't make the trip anymore.


Again, if you want to put some stuff on my tables, let me know and I'll see what I can do for you.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 6:15 p.m. PST

Ploogak, thank you, but I only rent for one flea session. If I keep my prices low, I can move as much stuff in one session as I can fit in the car. The trick, as a one-man band, is that HMGS seems determined to stretch the distance between the car and the flea market. It's awkward at the Host, and effectively impossible at the Lancaster Convention Center unless I have a room at the Center itself--which was what I was pointing out earlier. Close is fine if you're just going for the gaming, but it won't do for the flea marketeers, and I suspect the GMs will have similar problems. It is, of course, better than NOT having other motels nearby, if only because it provides accommodations for those who don't need to be transporting stuff. But it doesn't help us directly.

Double G, overbuying is a separate thread, I think. I'll try to start one tomorrow. But when you keep jumping up and down and cheering every time something happens to make life worse for the flea marketeers, we'd have to be pretty dull not to figure out you'd rather we didn't show.

Heather, I can only say it wasn't "optimized" for me or any attendee I know. If this is the new normal, how about at least keeping Friday registration open into the evening next year so I can skip Thursday night and save $150 USD or so? (Actually $200 USD next year, so the dealers would thank you too.)

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Feb 2019 7:14 p.m. PST

"But when you keep jumping up and down and cheering every time something happens to make life worse for the flea marketeers, we'd have to be pretty dull not to figure out you'd rather we didn't show."

Ok then.

Believe what you want to believe.

Good luck selling off your items.

dapeters15 Feb 2019 2:01 p.m. PST

Ploogak when I look at the HMGS page it looks like there is just one session on Saturday and the Brochure above, so yes it would seem that they are trying to cut it back.

Brian9815 Feb 2019 4:21 p.m. PST

It might be a typo. If you look further down the brochure under the Wally's Basement session, it says there are two sessions. 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. The registration system also has the correct information. Hope this helps.

Ploogak15 Feb 2019 5:16 p.m. PST

dapeters, I see what you mean. I went into the system and there are two Saturday events in there to register for so I agree with Brian that it looks like a typo.

HMGSColdWarsCD Inactive Member15 Feb 2019 7:26 p.m. PST

Hi All –

It's a typo. There are two Wally's Basement sessions on Saturday. I am having the website and the brochure fixed now.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Heather

dapeters18 Feb 2019 9:50 a.m. PST

Thanks all

Personal logo vonLoudon Supporting Member of TMP12 Mar 2019 7:49 a.m. PST

Well I actually learned something. I wondered if I needed to be at Historicon on Thursday to be at the flea markets for Friday. But if they keep screwing with the flea markets my current plan to arrive Friday is spot on. I don't see where a night session improves the situation however. Gamers pay good money, $25 USD, for three hours to sell used or unwanted items that the Dealers might sell new? Is that the argument? Seems like apples and oranges to me. Enjoy it while you can gamers.

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