DisCon III Discusses Hotel Negotiations, Does Not Release Survey Results

DisCon III, the 2021 Worldcon, today posted an “Update on Convention Dates and Hotels” about their facilities situation, and to explain why they have not yet released the outcome of the poll taken in December to determine people’s preference for either a primarily virtual event on the original dates, or a potential in-person event later in the year.

The committee’s public opinion survey launched December 3 asked respondents to pick between “shifting DC III to December 15-19, 2021, with a high probability to be an in-person Worldcon, or keeping with our existing August 25-29, 2021, which would be mostly virtual with the potential for limited in-person activities.”

DisCon III has contracts with two hotels, the Marriott Wardman Park and the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Today’s update says:

…We’ve spent the past month in constant negotiations with both and are continuing to negotiate. We can say the Omni Shoreham has been very flexible with us in our ongoing talks, and we want to thank them for that.

The Wardman Park’s owner has filed for bankruptcy, announced the hotel’s permanent closing, and their intent to sell the property (https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2021/01/12/pacific-life-insurance-wardman-park-bankruptcy.html). We are currently retaining legal counsel regarding this issue.

For legal reasons, this means we cannot give any updates regarding the dates of DisCon III.

They are also not releasing the survey results because it “potentially could make it more challenging to reach an equitable conclusion for all parties involved.”

DISCON III PLANS FOR VIRTUAL COMPONENT. While the possibility of an in-person convention, and the decision about when and where it could be held, is up in the air, the committee is going forward with plans for virtual programming, with a separate membership structure for those who only want access to those items.

We are publicly committing to having a robust, virtual experience for DisCon III. As of now, this means having at least three streaming programming items per convention hour. We will provide more information on this in the upcoming weeks and months.

We will be creating a separate virtual membership type for those who cannot attend DisCon III in person. Supporting members will have the option to upgrade their memberships to this new membership type. Presently, we do not have a membership price or estimated date when this membership type will be available.

FUTURE UPDATES. The committee’s announcement concludes:

We are still committed to releasing the survey results, though as talks are ongoing, we cannot give a date on when those results will be released.

We are committed to continuing our talks with both the Wardman Park and the Omni Shoreham Hotel to reach a conclusion we can share with you.

The committee will be providing updates every two weeks, with the next public update on February 14.

[Thanks to James Davis Nicoll for the story.]

11 thoughts on “DisCon III Discusses Hotel Negotiations, Does Not Release Survey Results

  1. This, along with other recent announcements, does not bode well. I get the reason for this, and gotta applaud the transparency, but it’s already tingling around that the con ain’t gonna happen and this does nothing to quiet all that

  2. I think this is a good update given what sounds like a very difficult situation. I’d caution patience @Chris, there’s so many challenges right now regardless, that sharing this update and keeping us informed is a good job. I take it at face value and trust the team to do their best. Let’s wait and see.

  3. Christopher j Garcia says This, along with other recent announcements, does not bode well. I get the reason for this, and gotta applaud the transparency, but it’s already tingling around that the con ain’t gonna happen and this does nothing to quiet all that

    The con will happen, it just probably won’t be in-person. Doctor Fauci said we need an eighty percent vaccination rate before things begin to get back to normal. That’s going to take quite a while yet.

  4. I realized a month or two ago that an in-person DisCon III just isn’t going to be practical, given the current (lack of) progress on vaccination and the fact that a December Worldcon would not work for a lot of people who need to take time off at Christmas for family things. The recent filing for bankruptcy by the Marriott just cemented that. And even if they were able to delay until December for a physical Worldcon, the Hugo Awards would still have to be given out in August or September, it can’t be put off until December. A December ceremony, at holiday time, would deprive the finalists, winners, and the program itself of the visibility they normally get in August.

    I’m sad – like a lot of people, I would very much like to have an in-person Worldcon this year – but people need to stop harassing DisCon III and complaining about this. It’s just not going to happen. It’s not practical. It sucks for the DC crew, just like it sucked for the NZ crew. But these are the times we are living in, and people need to accept it and do what they can to make the virtual Worldcon the best it can be.

  5. The thing I’ve not worked out is how the December concept would mean with the Hugos. Nominations open now, but would they be selected and voted on and awards at the traditional time out held up until Christmas?
    Neither option seems good. As the centerpiece of the WorldCons I’ve been to, to have it all done and dusted before hand would seem to gut the con, to wait another five months would be better, but seems odd.

  6. Well for me, a WorldCon on the fourth advent weekend wouldn’t be happening regardless of circumstances.

    I don’t think that an in-person Worldcon would be possible in August either, at least not for overseas visitors. Even if both governments would let me travel (and Biden just extended Trump’s EU travel ban), they’d stick me 2 weeks in quarantine afterwards.

    So I guess DisCon III will be another virtual WorldCon.

  7. I might visit a WorldCon in December, but that would be to get away from snow and bad weather, not to travel to it.

    Our Public Health Agency estimate that all Swedes that want it will have been vaccinated by midsummer, so I’m not particularly afraid to get stuck in quarantine anywhere. I think there will be some kind of regulations for vaccination passports or something like that by then. Depending on mutations of course.

    The Hugo thing confuses me too.

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