On Tuesday, a lot of things went wrong—and a lot of things went well. We predicted a lot of badge sales this first week, and anticipated a rise due to hotel demand, but nothing anywhere near this level of craziness. In the past three days, we've sold well over 9,000 badges, which took us OVER TWO MONTHS last year. Our tiered pricing system, which we introduced last year to help maintain our necessary income as people continue to register earlier, is configured to automatically adjust prices based on the number of tickets sold. We anticipated that our early-bird availability would last at least a week, but with the unexpected traffic, we blew through 6,000 badges and two price tiers in 75 minutes. We are taken aback, and humbled, and we are the first to admit we were unprepared.
After last year’s registration technical issues, we made major efficiency improvements to our registration software, without which we would have been completely unable to accept the amount of traffic we received. While our system handled the load as best it could, we regret the negative experience many of you had during registration. We strive to make our registration process as easy as possible for our attendees, and we hear you loud and clear: It was anything but easy. We appreciate your patience as we tie up loose ends and ensure that every single one of you has been registered correctly. We’ll be rethinking the way our pricing works next year for fairness across the board, and will prepare our registration system for a massive amount of registrations all at once. We won’t let this happen again.
Many of you have concerns about nabbing a hotel in National Harbor. We regret that space in the Harbor is limited; there are only a couple thousand rooms near MAGFest, while there are many more thousands of you who have purchased badges. We try our best to compensate for that by offering deals on parking, coupon codes for rideshares, and very affordable room blocks in nearby Oxon Hill and Alexandria. We are taking a hard look at how we planned on proceeding with hotel booking this year, and once we decide on a process, we will make it as transparent as possible. Have faith that we are trying to make this as fair and equitable as we can, but at the end of the day, there just aren’t enough nearby hotel rooms to satisfy demand. Our original plan was to send out the hotel booking information this evening, but for obvious reasons, we’re going to take a week or two to do a full technical review of our release plans. We will continue to allow new registrants to sign up for hotel updates until Sunday, August 13, at 11:59 PM EDT. After that, you will not be able to alter your hotel update settings and new pre-registrants will not get the hotel booking link.
MAGFest has always been about passion. We’re a nonprofit organization (which means all proceeds from the event go back into the organization, not shareholders), the VAST majority of our staff are volunteering crazy hours to keep us afloat, and all we want is to bring the joy of music and gaming to the world. We started out as a tiny event in a tiny hotel nestled next to a lumberjack convention, and now we’ve grown to levels we never dreamed. We’re going to keep rocking it out, keep gaming, and most importantly, keep learning. We hope you’ll join us; we’re here for YOU.
MAGFest Executive Director