Let’s start with Teton Con. We pride ourselves in putting most of the major costs of attending up front. It does cause a bit of sticker shock for some, but not nickel and diming our guests is a big part of what makes us who we are. The registration for a couple is $2195 and $65 tax, which includes lodging, breakfast and lunch and 3 days worth of activities. Every year we run an early promotion that ends about 9 months out, which we are going to include in the price, which is -$200. Transportation to and from the airport is included and/or parking is free at the resort if you drive. However, to enjoy the included tram ride you will need to use the Start Bus at $3 per person each way, for $12 total. Dinner is included on one of the tours, but most people eat out the other 4 nights. Meals aren’t cheap in Jackson, but I think assuming an average cost of $25 per person per meal is fair, for $200 total on dinner.
Before going any further let’s look at Gen Con. I am assuming traveling on Weds and Monday, making the length similar to Teton Con and ensuring you make the most of the convention. I’ve always found traveling Thursday and Sunday makes the con seem too rushed, which is a travesty after spending all the time and money getting there. Assuming early registration for badges, those will be $70 each or $140 total. I got hotel prices off the Gen Con website and assumed our guests were staying in something near the con, which was an average cost of about $190 per night. For 5 nights @17% hotel tax is $1111 total. We assumed an average cost of $12 per meal per person. Cost varies greatly between meals, but with tax and everything else, we think that is a fair average cost, for a total of $288 for the 4 days. We assumed our guests participated in 2 events each day at $4 each, plus one “premium” event at $10, for a total gaming cost of $84. Lastly transportation from the airport is $10 per person each way with the city shuttle, although many people use other options which are much more expensive, but that’s a total of $40.
Now let’s look at what we aren’t including in either cost and why. We aren’t including meal costs on travel days because they should be very similar. We aren’t including the cost of activities for the two free days at Teton Con or shopping at either event. These types of costs are just too personal. Most of our guests enjoy one or two of our add-on adventures, but most people at Gen Con spend a similar amount of money in the exhibit hall. I’m sure no one would agree on what the average person spends at either event on things like these. We’re going to assume that the same couple at each event would spend a similar amount. Lastly we aren’t going to include transportation costs yet, but instead discuss them below.
Teton Con’s cost comes out to $2260 for the couple and Gen Con’s cost comes out to $1663 per couple. Teton Con is an extra day and the per day costs come to $452 for Teton Con and $415 for Gen Con. Teton Con is higher, but certainly in the same ballpark. However, one of the big drivers of cost is transportation. We averaged ticket prices from LA, NYC and Houston to Jackson and Indianapolis, and found the prices for flights to be $600 each for Teton Con and $400 each for Gen Con. For driving, the costs would be similar, except the difference in parking, which in Indianapolis isn’t cheap, assume $25 per day parking. However, with how Teton Con is scheduled (Sun-Sat), guests have the whole weekend to get there, making a two day drive possible. I think this is actually a great idea for people, because the area around Jackson is super beautiful (I would say differently about the area around Indy). Assuming a 1,000 mile drive (two 8 hour drives) @ $3.50 gas and a $100 hotel room both directions, the average drive cost should be about $500, substantially cheaper than the plane tickets. So that’s a lot of numbers and what does it all mean. I think ultimately it means that coming to Teton Con is going to cost about 35% more than going to Gen Con depending on how you get there. Obviously, each person’s specific situation will drastically change these numbers, so we are speaking in generalities. An important thing to consider is that our guests indicate that they end up spending less money than they expected, versus Gen Con attendees who would likely say the opposite. There are definitely cheaper ways to do Gen Con, but most guests who are considering Teton Con are probably past the phase of cramming 8 people in a hotel room and eating out of vending machines. More importantly, the experiences are extremely different. Teton Con is designed to be a relaxing vacation with 40 new friends and Gen Con is an intense 4 day gaming marathon with 55,000 friends. Guests stay in Condos at Teton Con versus hotel rooms at Gen Con. I think an equally valid price comparison would be the cost of coming to Teton Con versus a different week long non-gaming vacation, such as going to Disney World, or visiting Las Vegas. In that cost comparison, I think Teton Con would come out miles ahead because of how we’ve designed the vacation.
We think Gen Con is awesome and if you go you'll have a great time and the cost is justified, we just wanted to provide this as a point of reference. We encourage everyone, past and future guests, to weigh in on the costs discussion.