Teton Con isn’t cheap, but we think we are priced competitively, but now we finally have an alternative to compare against. Before we continue I want to mention that I have been on a few cruises and understand what is and isn't included in a cruise. I also want to mention that I've priced that exact cruise as a possible destination for Icarus Tours, and that BGG’s price is quite competitive and extremely close to what I would have offered the cruise for.
Both vacations include lodging, some portion of meals and all the gaming. The cruise offers a lot of the on board entertainment included and Teton Con includes the two tours and the tram tickets. I’d be willing to bet that the number of meals eaten out would be very similar; 4 dinners for Teton Con (and a few lunches probably) and 3 days of port visits for the cruise. I think additional money spent on activities would actually favor Teton Con. Although Jackson is not cheap there is a lot to do that isn't a big money sink, getting out and about and enjoying the day in a Caribbean town is expensive, ask anyone who’s been on a cruise. It’s really fun, but it’s expensive. Most of our guests report that they spent surprisingly little outside the price of the vacation.
A couple attending Teton Con is $2195, or $1995 if booked during the early promotion we run every year. A couple attending BGG@Sea is $2150 for the smallest of staterooms, or $2400 for a slightly larger stateroom. Lodging is tough to compare, cruise staterooms are tiny and our condos are spacious, but on a cruise you don’t spend much time in your stateroom, so I don’t think it’s fair to say one is better than the other. However, our housing arrangement definitely encourages you to meet the other guests and ensures that you will immediately know someone at the event.
The other big cost for the events is travel. The simple truth is getting to Galveston (Houston) is quite a bit cheaper than Jackson WY. We ran an estimate of flights from NY, LA and Chicago to the two destinations and found on average it was $600 more for a couple to fly into Jackson than Houston, which is a major expense. However, you have to fly into Houston and take a shuttle to Galveston, which will run a couple $150, cutting the difference to $450. Also don’t forget that traveling to and from a cruise is risky, delayed flights can cause you to miss THE WHOLE THING, so most travelers fly in a day early and spend the night, which would effectively reduce the travel cost difference to $300 at the most.
You could argue over costs forever, but with the increased cost of travel balanced by the increased cost of enjoying the Caribbean I think the two trips would be within a few hundred dollars of each other. That’s a good sign for both trips, meaning they are priced competitively. What I think really sets both trips apart from each other is the experience. Both are gaming vacations, but are trying to provide a slightly different experience. Teton Con aims to offer a much more intimate atmosphere and play at your pace experience, where BGG@Sea is offering a much more intense gaming experience and a more rigid schedule. I don’t think either is better than the other, but will appeal to different groups. For example, I think for a couple that are both really into gaming and want to get as much in as possible, BGG@Sea, might be a great fit. For a couple that one may not be as excited about gaming, they would enjoy Teton Con more because the gaming experience won’t be as concentrated as it will be for BGG@Sea. I personally think the vacation aspect of Teton Con will shine through more and overall the experience will be more restful than BGG@Sea, but not everyone is looking for a restful, relaxing vacation.
We think BGG is going to put on a quality event, but the most important thing for people to remember is that they have choices now and we think Teton Con is an awesome choice!