Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Malice 2009/Economy and Costs

I will post several times on various aspects this week. I love the conference, this was my 4th year. But maybe the last for a while. It almost didn't happen. Not just for me, but for everyone. I didn't even decide to go until late due to the economy and after all, it is a big expense. But even the conference itself almost didn't make it for the same reason. The board ended up having to re-negotiate with the Hotel in order for it to go forward.

The problem is, it will likely happen again next year.I am not knocking the board, I AM knocking the Hotel to a degree. The basic problem is last year, the economy seemed fine so it appeared the attendance would be much higher than it turned out to be. By a LOT. The thing is, it caused a big brouhaha and the conference was almost canceled. Nobody was signing up. At almost $300, people DO consider it an extravagance. And you figure, many come from out of town. So there is the registration PLUS hotel (REDUCED rate $139/night -- of course an attendee was telling me that the person who checked in before them got it for $99/night so it appears the hotel COULD have gone lower but didnt). Okay so let's say three nights (THU, FRI, SAT) 153 (with tax) times 3 = 459, so that brings us to 760. Now, you have to add parking. $21/day. First I will say I have NEVER stayed at a hotel where the GUESTS paid for parking. Commuters yes but not those staying there. Even Marriotts - like the Marriott Key Bridge. But fine, they are trying to get their money back however they can. so add on 63 dollars. So now we are at 820 give or take. Now add airfare or gas for travel and you are likely over $1000. Then there is food for non conference meals (lunches etc) and drinks (8.50 for a glass of wine. 11.75 for a vodka tonic....). The number gets higher. Then assuming you want to buy anything from the dealers room (oh like books to get signed by the authors you have come to see....) even bigger totals.So, what do you do? Not easy to say the least. But lower prices mean more people come. But if the hotel wont go lower, then less people do come, and then no malice... And there was cost cutting. smaller rooms. reused tote bags. a very much diminished tea (no sandwiches or pastries and only one cup of tea). Those didnt bother me much except for the sandwiches. Their sandwiches were so good!

But then there were a lot less authors as well. Many of the ones I was used to seeing werent there. It was a shame. Mind you I DID enjoy seeing the ones that were there. But I have to wonder if this is a sign of things to come. At the cost of Malice, an author might very well go for two cheaper conferences. Time will tell. But it is something to really consider.As for me, I will not register early because I might prefer the two cheaper con option next year...


  1. I was sorry to miss Malice, but I chose to go to RT this year and that was costly. However, it was local so I didn't have a hotel stay or airfare, and I always sell many more books at romance cons than through the dealer rooms at mystery cons. But I miss the Malice folks so will consider carefully where to go next year. But you're right; going to a conference away from home always costs about $1000. That is a tough expense in this economy. I skipped SleuthFest this year, too, and I want to go back in 2010. So we'll see.

  2. Good to hear from you Nancy. Pamela


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