The CONvergence Board of Directors has been meeting with the management of the DoubleTree and with our respective legal teams to resolve concerns brought forward by the hotel concerning the way CONvergence handles fan-run party rooms. These concerns include the serving of alcohol and food, the collection of tips/donations, and security risks viewed as associated with parties.
The hotel has taken the position that it can ban party hosts from distributing alcohol on its property because the unlicensed distribution of alcohol jeopardizes the hotel’s liquor license and exposes the hotel to liability if anything were to happen. We disagree with the hotel’s position for various reasons, but recognize that it has some support. We negotiated with the hotel over the course of several months trying to resolve the disagreement, but reached an impasse on this point. Room parties are not barred from serving alcohol; they may provide sealed bottles to the hotel and hire a hotel employee to serve drinks for them. Rather than pursue an uncertain and expensive legal battle in the courts that may not be resolved before the convention, we concluded that the best option for our members and the event was to move forward with the convention.
For many reasons, including the party restrictions, we did consider canceling the 2018 convention. We discovered it was not feasible for us to cancel the convention as it would incur costly penalties for the organization, possibly resulting in bankruptcy. This does not even take into consideration everything that you, our membership, have spent in time, energy, and monetary expenses up to this point in time.
We, like you, want CONvergence to continue and to thrive. That is why earlier today we shared our announcement of our move to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Minneapolis for CONvergence 2019. We and the staff of the Hyatt are very excited for this move and we anticipate that room parties will be able to return to operating in much of the same manner as they have previously upon our move.
We understand and agree that this is not ideal for many reasons, and we wish we could have come to a more favorable agreement sooner. We understand your frustration, but we ask that as we stand together as a community that we support each other. We would also like to offer our special thanks to the room parties that have been coming up with creative ways to work within this year’s restrictions. Come to the con, come to the parties, come to the panels, come to the activities, come to Cinema Rex. Come in your cosplay, come in your pajamas, come in your best geeky shirts. Come support the artists, come support the vendors, come support the volunteers, come support your friends. And remember, always: We are CONvergence.
We have received a few requests for refunds and have even become aware of members encouraging people to seek out refunds. While we understand the anger and frustration, since the memberships are freely transferable until badge pick-up and always have been, CONvergence does not issue refunds. CONvergence memberships are memberships to our community, not tickets to an event. If you would like to transfer your badge, you can coordinate the sale on your own or through CONvergence Connections Facebook Group found at facebook.com/groups/convergenceconnections. Instructions for transferring your membership are on the CONvergence website.
Membership in CONvergence is more than any one individual event that happens at the convention; it is about this community, sharing in our passions, and supporting our fandoms collectively. Included in that is weathering the storm together. CONvergence has been through years when the hotel flooded, when Harmonic CONvergence couldn’t continue for space reasons, and when Artists Alley was put on hiatus, and we all managed to come through those events together and to build a stronger community afterward. We will continue to make CONvergence a great event, and we look forward to seeing you at the DoubleTree in 2018 and hope to see you in 2019 at the Hyatt in Downtown Minneapolis.