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Author Topic: Reg feedback (Feedback will not effectively reach staff if you do not use form)  (Read 27815 times)

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kookiekween99

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My suggestion? In the e-postcard that gets sent out, have a QR code. Then, have staff members stationed about ten line-minutes from the badge pickup stations to scan each QR code. That QR code would signal the badge printing station to print the badges of that person and their group. By the time the attendee gets to the pickup station, their badges are already ready to go.

There also needs to be a lot more badge pickup stations. Perhaps there should be several different reg locations, maybe in each of the major hotels. With the QR code setup, the badges would be printed while the attendees are in line. This way, having several different locations would work. It would also reduce wait time and line length.

Another improvement could be digital signage. At certain checkpoints along each line, have estimated wait times and notifications if another location is less congested and would offer a shorter wait time.

And of course, you need more pickup stations, more badge printers, and more entry computers for at-con reg.

As for the way the badges were cheaply printed... The badges are not spill proof. My boyfriend accidentally got a few drops of water on his badge and the ink on his label was smeared.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 02:58:46 PM by kookiekween99 »
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otakuya

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When badges were mailed in the past, I'm pretty sure it was way before the influx of attendants now. Despite the complaints, FanimeCon is still growing and will be bigger next year. Systems that worked and didn't work in the past should be taken into consideration, plus any and all new ideas for future FanimeCons; such as mailings, bar codes, tickets, current system, etc.

I know it's a stretch, but what about fully automated vending machine-like machines that print out badges on the fly with a swipe of a credit card and with less staff/vol interaction (like Jack-in-the-Box or Safeway, lol)

I'm not sure if simply more volunteers will solve everything. Of course more open stalls are always a good thing, but having efficient staff that can handle registration quickly and be properly trained is even better.

One thing I would like to see: No matter what the line is like next year, maybe have some in-line entertainment, like Stage Zero or other Fanime-run (rather than in-line run) event.
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SquallLHeart

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i agree with qr codes.. i'm sure the "powers that be" are well aware and are trying to figure out what to do to improve.. but there's budgeting and operational costs that they need to factor in.. so the issue there is getting that money to the registration system.

also.. technically.. there was another hotel you could pick up your badge at..

throughout the entire time.. i kept hearing people ask questions on how long the wait was.. there was no real accurate answer.. and that got me frustrated as well. i'm about to go "Disneyland" on them and have them implement a traffic flow timer to be able to estimate how long the wait is from a certain point.
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Trung D. Nguyen
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inferno14

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Yea deleted this
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 10:21:10 PM by inferno14 »
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Sinmara

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so.... i do very much suggest, that instead of continuing to complain... stand up and physically be proactive and be part of the solution. help volunteer yourself and become staff. see first-hand what staffers go through and help to make everyone's experience at Fanime better. your inputs are much better heard in person than on a forum.

Complaining is being a proactive part of the solution.

If you don't complain, staff will never know about any of the problems. Staff read this forum. They read the feedback forms -- complaining forms, I suppose you'd consider them. They have to be told that something isn't working, a very detailed account of why it's not working, in order to fix it.

And becoming staff changes nothing if the department heads decide that they're going to keep using the same registration system they've relied on for the past several years without adapting. None of these complaints we're seeing are new and I know for a fact that staff members have raised these issues with the people in charge of registration to no effect.

I fear they won't change the way they approach this until someone gets hurt or ill from standing for 6+ hours without relief and there is a lawsuit.
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SquallLHeart

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And becoming staff changes nothing if the department heads decide that they're going to keep using the same registration system they've relied on for the past several years without adapting.
actually, unless you were actually working staff.. you wouldn't realize that the registration system they used this year is very much different.. and it has adapted (whether or not it was better or worse is still a matter of opinion)... :o

and no. i was not on registration staff... but i have talked to those that were. still.. it was ultimately a matter of manpower and money that caused the problems everyone saw.
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Trung D. Nguyen
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staff/vol. for misc. conventions all around the nation... ranging from 30.. to 130K+ attendees...

EJAY420

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I love fanime. I really do. But this year was one of the worst badge pick up experience i ever had.  I will never ever go to day zero again, totally not worth it. Staff which most were kids, freaked out when the lines started getting bigger. We kept being moved cause we were reaching maximum capacity. Doesnt fanime have a tally on how many pre reg there is?  I will pre reg but not go to day zero anymore.

"oh, double hours on thursday and monday doesnt exist"- this is what i was told by a group of 5 young volunteers after wanting to  volunteer.  maybe these kids didnt know it was on the website.

If you guys didnt want people to collect double hours on thursday and monday, then dont promote it on the website.

And lastly, you guys could of use more helping hands on those days.
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inferno14

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Woot reg con
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 10:19:55 PM by inferno14 »
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Tsubasakissu

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Firstly: I'd suggest another separate line for those only attending the con for 1-2 days, that would cut down on traffic for both lines and it would, ideally, prevent those attending for only 1-2 days from wasting (yes, I used the word wasting because 3-9 hours in line is just that; a waste of time) most of their convention time inside a line.

Secondly: You've gotten this a lot, but it's still a very valid suggestion that should be considered, as Fanime is growing in size. Mail out dem badges!!! Other cons do this with little problem. I'd willingly slap another (optional) $10 onto my badge and avoid waiting in line just to get it in the mail. I mean, yeah, things get lost in the mail, but more often than not it will arrive to the appointed destination if its addressed properly. And, in the event that it IS lost in the mail, we could just simply bite the bullet and wait in line with our electronic receipt and just end up with a early-reg badge rather than pre-reg. (just slap a "if this is lost in the mail simply wait in line with your receipt" notice on there in red letters so people know what they are getting into beforehand). I mean, all youd need to do is time it beforehand so that the badges arrive a week-ish before the convention. Since I've had this brought up before: What if people lose their badges before the con? Answer: That isnt Fanime's problem. Simply put your badge in a safe place where you know youll find it before the convention. People lose their badges at fanime and it still isnt fanime's problem, so why would it be their fault if it was lost beforehand?
At this point, Fanime is a growing con with wait-times that are getting pretty insane, and this needs to be remedied. This year they promised us faster lines, the lines were just as bad as the last years fanime. And this was without a blackout to put all of the blame on. The fact of the matter is that Fanime is growing larger and larger each year, and there isnt a big enough space to really make a large, proper badge-pickup area similar to sakura cons (it only took me 5 mins to get my badge there).
Also, inb4: But waiting in line is part of the con experience. That's a really, really bad counter argument that makes 0 sense, since no one really likes waiting in line, and all it does is cause stress, anxiety, and causes people to be pissed at the people working the Fanime lines, even tho it isnt their fault.

Basically, your staff are overwhelmed by thousands of people and you lack the room to expand your registration operation and something direly needs to be fixed/changed from your current system. And every year you have computer problems, which only worsens the line problem. Something needs to be fixed.


Added: Also, if you wish to not listen to us AGAIN this year like every other year, heaven knows why you lot dont listen, then at least have the decency to have food/water vendors along certain points in the line. People get thirsty and hungry waiting for 3-12 (12 = on day 0) hours for one lame excuse for a badge (a sticker? really?).
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 07:58:36 PM by Tsubasakissu »
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HeeroYuy135

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Another option would be to go with a bar code system. Larger conventions are adopting this system, and it speeds up the process very much. You scan the bar code that is provided to you when you register, the printer prints out your name and badge type, the staff puts the sticker onto a badge, and you're on your way. The only problem is that this kind of system is costly, requires training, and is again relying on computer systems which for the past couple of years hasn't been kind to Fanime.

HeeroYuy135

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Like I said in another thread, bar codes and QR codes are the future of registration. It would make things much faster.

Tsubasakissu

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Another option would be to go with a bar code system. Larger conventions are adopting this system, and it speeds up the process very much. You scan the bar code that is provided to you when you register, the printer prints out your name and badge type, the staff puts the sticker onto a badge, and you're on your way. The only problem is that this kind of system is costly, requires training, and is again relying on computer systems which for the past couple of years hasn't been kind to Fanime.
This too!
Furcon uses this (from what I remember this year) and it went by pretty fast~
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Tsubasakissu

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If the reason badges aren't mailed out is concern over the possibility of counterfeit badges, here's an easy solution: Put a holographic sticker on every badge, and look for them when checking badges at the door. That's what Otakon does, and it works just fine.
Honestly, with the amount of people who sneak into events without badges anyway, i'm surprised that they care so much about counterfeiters.
People counterfeit badges at the con anyways, so there wouldnt be too much difference.
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bmhahne

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... I am actively thinking of how to speed up the process as much as we can... Unique and very different ideas that think outside the box are incredibly appreciated.

Thanks!


Fanimecon folks:  The registration problem is a simple matter of queue throughput.  You have Nx1000 people in line, you want to get them registered in 60 minutes, and you should be doing cycle time time estimates well in advance to compute average time per attendee that your on-site process requires.  These 3 pieces of information (estimated queue depth, max 1 hour delay, cycle time per attendee) give you the data you need to compute the number of booths required to handle peak load (hint: more than 8, try 30). Tweaking your process with separate lines for intake and badge distribution, or with stickers vs. preprinted vs. handwritten, doesn't address the fundamental problem of insufficient system throughput.

"Ideas outside of the box" shouldn't be necessary here.  There are dozens of pop culture conventions in the U.S. that have attendance at least as large as Fanimecon.  Get on the phone to the director of registration of 3 or 4 of these conventions and ask them about best practices.  Call up the people at ComicCon, OtaKon, AX, ask them what works, what doesn't.  Do they mail badges?  Do they outsource to a third party that rents and manages onsite badge-printing kiosks?  Do they simply throw people at the problem?  Find out.

Registration staff also needs to do some reading about queueing psychology.  There is a human psychology of waiting, with a known set of activities that both increase and decrease human perception of wait time.  A few sample links:

  http://davidmaister.com/articles/the-psychology-of-waiting-lines/

  http://www.slate.com/articles/business/operations/2012/06/queueing_theory_what_people_hate_most_about_waiting_in_line_.2.html

Fanimecon needs to staff up for registration.  If you don't have sufficient volunteers, you need to pay staff, or (equivalently) move to a kiosk-based approach where the initial intake process is replaced by a machine.  If Fanimecon doesn't have the funds to pay sufficient staffpeople to run registration booths during peaks, then you need to raise your ticket prices so that you have the funds.  Your attendees are willing to PAY MORE to spend less time in line.  Do the budget, hire the people, and give your customers what they want.

Operationally, there were other obvious issues as well:
- Artist Alley registration not opened until April.
- Many Artist Alley registrants waitlisted for an extended period of time.
- Failure to publish any birds-eye-view map that included South Hall in any printed registration material.  So one of the most popular activities changed locations to a venue half a block away, and the convention didn't bother to provide a map to its attendees.
- Clean drinking water not readily available in South Hall.
- "Wind tunnel" problems in South Hall (this will show up in the AA feedback forms).

Competition heads-up: As an Artist Alley participant this year, I was approached by a sales representative from Japan Expo, which is entering the San Francisco Bay Area market this year after (he claimed) 2 years of market research.  This convention had postcards out on the Fanimecon tables this year.  The first Bay Area Japan Expo is Aug. 23-25 at the Santa Clara Convention Center, and the sales rep claimed that the sponsor organization SEFA Entertainment is going big, aiming for 17,000 attendees this year, their first.  I'll believe it when I see it, however that's nearly as big as Fanimecon.  Santa Clara Convention Center claims 320K feet of available space, while SJCC has only 223K square feet, and that's only when South Hall is included.  The rep claimed that their leadership team includes multiple senior people with experience at various U.S. east coast conventions. They're publicizing Artist Alley tables + 2 badges for under $200, which is below Fanimecon's 2013 pricing.  If this convention launches big this year and gets a reputation for efficient execution, you can expect to see Fanimecon's attendance base shift over a period 1-2 years to the competing convention.  I'd suggest that Fanimecon should treat this as a warning shot across its bow.  The new kid in town is after your customers, and you're going to have to step up your game to compete.

I wish ARG the best of luck with its efforts to improve Fanimecon customer experience in 2014 and beyond.

Bruce Hahne ("the Anime Angels guy")
Artist Alley 2012, 2013
bruce at maronmedia dot com
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otakuya

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^  unfortunately, that's a good point because of Japan Expo, FanimeCon has competition. Fanime has historically been one of the last dying breed of conventions that lasts more than 15 years. I don't want to have Fanime end because of lack of attendance and losing ground to JX. The happenings of this year does not help in the long term.

 Ironic that my best memories of Fanimecon were in the Santa Clara Convention Center days.  That venue is getting more and more attractive now and can hold Fanime or events like Fanime again, maybe.  Hey, it's going to hold the Super Bowl too.
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hikanteki

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also.. technically.. there was another hotel you could pick up your badge at..

Would that have really helped, though?  If half the people at Fanime went to pick up their badge at Clockwork Alchemy, then both of them would still have a 3-hour wait.  Actually CA's would probably be way more than 3 hours because I can't imagine they have as many people working registration.

^  unfortunately, that's a good point because of Japan Expo, FanimeCon has competition. Fanime has historically been one of the last dying breed of conventions that lasts more than 15 years. I don't want to have Fanime end because of lack of attendance and losing ground to JX. The happenings of this year does not help in the long term.

Not to mention SacAnime, which is really becoming a force to be reckoned with.  It recently moved to the Sac Convention Center and has a guest list as big as Fanime.

For the record, I'd love Fanime, JX, and Sac to ALL succeed and I think that Northern California can definitely support three large, well-run anime conventions.
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Tsubasakissu

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also.. technically.. there was another hotel you could pick up your badge at..

Would that have really helped, though?  If half the people at Fanime went to pick up their badge at Clockwork Alchemy, then both of them would still have a 3-hour wait.  Actually CA's would probably be way more than 3 hours because I can't imagine they have as many people working registration.

^  unfortunately, that's a good point because of Japan Expo, FanimeCon has competition. Fanime has historically been one of the last dying breed of conventions that lasts more than 15 years. I don't want to have Fanime end because of lack of attendance and losing ground to JX. The happenings of this year does not help in the long term.

Not to mention SacAnime, which is really becoming a force to be reckoned with.  It recently moved to the Sac Convention Center and has a guest list as big as Fanime.

For the record, I'd love Fanime, JX, and Sac to ALL succeed and I think that Northern California can definitely support three large, well-run anime conventions.
And Sac Anime always has a better guestlist than Fanime. Better industry/VAs and just as good or better musical guests.
And Sac Anime has a ball now.
And you know what? No waiting more than an hour.
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hikanteki

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And Sac Anime always has a better guestlist than Fanime. Better industry/VAs and just as good or better musical guests.
And Sac Anime has a ball now.
And you know what? No waiting more than an hour.

Didn't want to say it...but as far as industry/VA guests I agree with you.  Musical guests I'd give Fanime the edge but they have a different focus.  Fanime has J-Pop/J-Rock bands, which are really a treat to see as they're not common outside of Anime cons.  SacAnime has J-influenced American bands, which aren't nearly as difficult to get, although some of them are top-notch (i.e. Eyeshine) while others are...not.

That being said...how can Fanime center its focus so that we don't have 2 or 3 of the exact same con in San Jose, Santa Clara, or Sacramento?  What can Fanime's specialty(ies) be, that people will make a point to go to Fanime for?  (Hopefully it won't be known for the line of doom.)  What does it really excel at?  Music?  Being more Japan-centric?  24 hour viewing rooms?
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luluko

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I would like to preface my post by saying that I have been on convention staff before and I can sympathize with the staff and volunteers at Fanime. while the cons I've worked for do not even come close to Fanime in size and attendee numbers, I understand better than most the kinds of stresses they go through before, during, and (especially in this case) after the con, and as such I tend to be more forgiving of staff shortcomings.

fortunately I did not have to wait very long for my badge, as I was picking up a panelist badge, but I had my share of frustrations getting there.

I had confirmed with programming staff beforehand that there was indeed a special line for panelists, AA, and those with special needs. as instructed, I picked up my discount slip at the panelists' lounge. before I left I asked the programming staff if they knew where the special line was - all they could tell me was that it was at the Fairmont with the rest of registration. I found it strange that they wouldn't know where I could pick up my panelist badge now that I had the piece of paper that allowed me to do so, but I figured that responsibility belonged more to the registration staff, so I let it go.

however, once I reached the Fairmont, every staff member I asked gave me a blank look when I asked about the special registration line. they proceeded to hand me off from staff member to staff member. (at one point I was told to look for "a tall girl wearing a headset" in the lobby of the Fairmont... you want me to chase down a staff member who is probably very busy and running around? I don't think so.) generally the staff members were very nice and did their best to be helpful, but it would have been so much easier for everyone involved if they had just... simply told everyone that there was a special registration line. judging by the comments in this post, it sounds like many of those with special needs were also not aware that they had a line they could go through - my heart goes out to them. Fanime should be ashamed that these attendees were not informed of this.

back on point, once I found someone who actually knew there was supposed to be a special registration line, I was told to come back at 7 pm when registration opened. it was precisely 6:51 at the time... everyone else got to line up early, why couldn't special registration do so as well? to add to the confusion, the special registration was not labeled at all. that would have gone a very long way to clear things up for both attendees and staff. once the special registration line was finally formed the wait was an hour and a half. compared to everyone else, we got very lucky...

I would also like to add that staff did a very poor job of communicating that badge pick up was also available at the DoubleTree. several times while I was waiting for a shuttle on Friday, a rover would come around and let those standing in line know that they could pick up their badges at the DoubleTree. I wish I could have photographed the looks of surprise and utter frustration from those who had already braved the registration line and those who were about to. the rovers then asked us as attendees to spread the word to other attendees... shouldn't staff have done that well in advance? it takes all of five minutes to make posts on the webiste, forum, and social media websites. why this fact wasn't well-advertised (especially after the fiasco that was last year's registration line) completely baffles me.

so, to make my criticism constructive, here are the suggestions I have:
- offer badge pick up for panelists at the panelist's lounge. we already have to go there to pick up discount slips - why not already have the badges printed and ready for panelists?
- obviously mailing badges has its pros and cons, but Fanime is clearly too short-staffed to not consider this as an option. any fears of attendees counterfeiting badges are basically moot, considering how many people already don't buy badges, will not buy badges in the future, or will simply not attend at all in the future because of this year's catastrophe. plus, almost everyone I knew at this con simply borrowed someone else's badge to get into the events they wanted to go to - it's not exactly counterfeiting, but that kind of dishonesty is already alive and well at this convention. I think any con would rather lose a bit of revenue to counterfeiting than to lose attendees in massive numbers.
- whoever is in charge of registration should attend AX this year. or any of the other cons mentioned in this thread that have more attendees and shorter wait times. I waited 45 minutes in line to pick up my badge at AX last year. somehow I waited twice as long in a shorter line at Fanime this year. clearly, there is room for improvement. ask other conventions how they configure registration and take notes.
- surely there is a better system for picking up badges than having staff shouting out names? not only did it make it very loud and confusing at badge pick-up, but I can only imagine how sore their throats must have been by the time they packed up for the night. and that's just on day zero! why not try this instead - after the attendee has checked in and had their badge printed up, they go to the pick-up station, show their ID, and receive their badge. no shouting necessary.

it truly breaks my heart to see how many people are saying they won't attend Fanime anymore simply because of registration. it was my favorite con when I attended last year and I had an amazing experience this year as well. I don't want to see this convention hurt by something that should be second nature by now. I have high hopes that things will improve next year.

Dracil

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24 hour viewing rooms?

So far the thing that sticks out for Fanime that other cons I go to don't have is the 24 hour rooms.  Both viewing and gaming hall.  For me, that's its most unique nature, especially on the last day where it's very tempting to stay there as long as possible.  Heck, this year the karaoke room at around 2-3AM announced they would go all the way to 5AM if need be.  Now that's dedication and definitely has the by fans for fans feel that more industry cons would not have, as they'd have to probably pay for overtime for these graveyard shifts.
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