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SquishyK

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #40 on: January 21, 2016, 12:59:18 PM »

Hotel Reg last year was the worst I've seen it EVER. It's always bad but last year it seemed as though the site was entirely in-operable for the first couple hours. The same sort of thing happened with badge pick up. It finally got to the point that people waited 8+ hours in line and they had people fainting on them in line. Then fanime found a solution that really worked. It seems like it has to get bad to the point of being in-tolerable for any real improvement to be enacted. Fanime has been proposing that badges be required for hotel registration for some time now and to me this looks like the best solution they have come up with so far. My main concern is that next year instead of the servers crashing when hotel reg goes up they will crash when badges go on sale. It's likely been a big problem that people could reserve rooms almost without limit and without any consequence for canceling those reservations later on (which is why refundable badges would just re-create the same issue). This is not a perfect solution, and they really should have notified us before badges went online, but there really isn't a perfect solution and at least it's an attempt at improvement. If they find that rooms at hotels are selling out entirely before they even open up to the general public to be purchased they might tweak the system further in the future. Perhaps they can make rooms available in blocks so they are guaranteed to at least still have some available when reservations open to the general public.
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OtakuAngel87

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2016, 01:00:02 PM »

I have to agree with both these posts.  No point in complaining until we actually see how it all works out. Also not everyone can be on their phone or computer 24/7 so it'll give those who have work or school and already pregistered a fighting chance to get rooms.
Just because a lot of people complain doesn't mean the complaint is valid.  Most people also say they hate paying taxes.  Human nature is to complain; it makes us feel better when things don't go how we want them to.

I don't think one can fairly decide that this new system is worse until we've actually experienced the results.  Every system has flaws, and I don't think anyone has denied it.  Obviously hotel registration has been a hassle the last few years as the convention has grown; how about we try the wait and see how this works method out before we rant and rave? 

There will always be a lack of hotels, that is just a reality that will exist unless San Jose wants to build more hotels, or hotels offer more discounted room blocks for the con.  There will always be people who can't get a room because they've all sold out.  So, they have tried try to develop a system that more fairly decides who does or doesn't get a room.  Is registration date more fair than who squeaked through the overloaded website first?  Personally, I think it is.

 I have to agree with all of this.   A lot of people are saying that this new system is unfair to people who pre-registered later, but you know what else is unfair?

Having a better connection than other people ( One year, I was at a coffee house when Fanime housing opened, now the site crashing in 10 seconds is bad enough, imagine that with the wireless going out every 30 seconds.  Yup )

Knowing lots of people who will help you reserve your room

Not having school, work, responsibilities that would keep you from being online/on your phone the moment housing opens.

Reserving 10+ rooms in order to scalp them to attendees.

All of those things can be considered "unfair" as well.
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DangerHeart

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2016, 04:57:40 PM »

I'm actually quite happy with this new system. I'm sure there will be issues since it's the first year it's being tested, but I'll hold my opinion until it launches. If this system does work out I'll definitely register at con this year for next years show so I could be higher on the list for hotel opening. My only complaint at the moment is I wish they announced this new system when the registration went up in December. Like others have said though, hotels will always be an issue since there will just never be enough rooms to go around. It's an unavoidable reality.
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Angelx624

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2016, 05:37:59 PM »

I also agree that this is more fair than who has a better internet connection/who can get a room the fastest without the website crashing??

True, they should've told us this much earlier. But they didn't, so now it puts some attendees at risk of whether or not they'll be able to get a room.

But I doubt they'll be sold out so quickly with this new system. It definitely prevents scalpers, that's for sure. So there's one good thing.

Let's not judge or jump to conclusions until we see this new system actually play out.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2016, 06:33:42 PM »

I for one like the new 1 room limit per reg. It weeds out the hotel scalpers/hoarders. I think that was the major problem that pledged Fanime hotel booking. And this coming form a dude that has not got their badge yet.

We'll have to see how things work out during the mad rush.
Maybe it could be time for Fanime to move to a new location with better accommodations.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2016, 07:00:35 PM »

Good to see at least some positive thinking for this new tactic.

We gotta give every new idea at least a first run, don't we?  Here's hoping this method turns out for the best, so it may help improve overall preparation anxiety.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #46 on: January 21, 2016, 09:22:10 PM »

I have to agree with all of this.   A lot of people are saying that this new system is unfair to people who pre-registered later, but you know what else is unfair?

Having a better connection than other people ( One year, I was at a coffee house when Fanime housing opened, now the site crashing in 10 seconds is bad enough, imagine that with the wireless going out every 30 seconds.  Yup )

Knowing lots of people who will help you reserve your room

Not having school, work, responsibilities that would keep you from being online/on your phone the moment housing opens.

Reserving 10+ rooms in order to scalp them to attendees.

All of those things can be considered "unfair" as well.
Oh, I completely agree. The old system was COMPLETELY unfair. Hopefully this balances it.

But I'm still skeptical about it. Trying to stay positive and not judge it until we see it in action, but there's still the potential for a lot of people to be screwed over by this (press, artists, dealers, etc.), and so far no evidence that the con is working to fix those issues, or at least give information about what they are planning to do about those groups. Set aside room blocks just for them? Have a special priority registration? It's good to at least think about these things.

I'm what you would call cautiously optimistic, I guess. I really hope this works, and it has the potential to, since almost anything would be better than the old system. It would be more fair if this were announced from the beginning, but  at least it's something. It's a step. Time will tell if it's a step in the right direction.

(Also, was scalping really that big of a thing before? I still wonder how much of the room problems are from there simply not being enough vs. people scalping rooms or holding onto more than they need.)

(It would also be nice to have things like room rates... guests and events announced so people know the con is worth going to... )
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pantsu

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #47 on: January 22, 2016, 12:30:13 AM »

(It would also be nice to have things like room rates... guests and events announced so people know the con is worth going to... )

THIS TIMES 5 MILLION.  We know absolutely NOTHING about the con, except that it's happening memorial day weekend in san jose.  No announcements of any kind.  Communication from Fanime staff has been abysmal the last few years....looks like this may be the worst year yet. 

(Many other cons of Fanime's size start announcing guests and events for their next con a few months after that year's con ends.  It feels like Fanime's top folks take 6 months off post-con and don't even think about the coming year before trying to implement things for the next con.)
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Amanojaku

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #48 on: January 22, 2016, 09:22:38 AM »

(Also, was scalping really that big of a thing before? I still wonder how much of the room problems are from there simply not being enough vs. people scalping rooms or holding onto more than they need.)
Its hard to say... a few years ago I was able to get a room for the full weekend in the Hilton about a month after hotel booking opened up no problem.  Then the last couple years, I can't get into the site the first day it opens, and by the middle of the week I would get a stray Double Tree room for 1 day (all that was left, save the airport hotel) and was added to the waitlist for the full weekend.  And every time, I've had my waitlist granted.  So I guess its impossible to know how much of that was room hording and how much was simply an increase in attendees needing a room, but I do recall the occasional craigslist add of people trying to "sell" their Hilton/Marriot rooms.
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SquishyK

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #49 on: January 22, 2016, 11:37:49 AM »

If this system does work out I'll definitely register at con this year for next years show so I could be higher on the list for hotel opening.

Same. My only concern is that so many people will start doing this that it becomes impossible to get rooms at certain hotels unless you pre reg at con for next year. Which also means my Monday of con could turn into waiting for hours in line. Won't that be fun after running around all weekend on minimal sleep.  ::)

(Many other cons of Fanime's size start announcing guests and events for their next con a few months after that year's con ends.

What con does this? AX has 0 guests announce. Kraken con has 1 announced. SacAnime has 1 announced. Back your claims up with specific examples rather then throwing around generalizations. Really guests are the only thing we don't know about for next Fanime. All other programming is likely to be comparable to the year before. The only guest that makes any sort of difference to me for Fanime is who they are going to get for Music Fest. And if I really don't like who they get there is plenty of other programming going on. I couldn't imagine getting an autograph or photo making the difference between spending $55 + hotel or not.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #50 on: January 22, 2016, 12:07:35 PM »

I'd have to agree with a lot of the things people are saying. I think this system is a great idea. You can't hope to please everyone. No matter what system is implemented or not implemented there will always be those who have something to say.

My only hope is that/suggestion is that fanime staff communicate foe effectively and strive to create time lines for fanime announcements and events/changes. Overall I am very excited and looking forward to this year's Fanime.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #51 on: January 22, 2016, 12:24:19 PM »

(Many other cons of Fanime's size start announcing guests and events for their next con a few months after that year's con ends.

What con does this? AX has 0 guests announce. Kraken con has 1 announced. SacAnime has 1 announced. Back your claims up with specific examples rather then throwing around generalizations. Really guests are the only thing we don't know about for next Fanime. All other programming is likely to be comparable to the year before. The only guest that makes any sort of difference to me for Fanime is who they are going to get for Music Fest. And if I really don't like who they get there is plenty of other programming going on. I couldn't imagine getting an autograph or photo making the difference between spending $55 + hotel or not.
AX has their organizational problems as well, but they have a guest announced -- Yoshitaka Amano. A huge name. They also have hotels already up, and event applications up, which is /way/ ahead of Fanime.

Kraken-con is nowhere near Fanime's size so that isn't a fair comparison. They also don't have the same organizational problems that Fanime does, so again, not a fair comparison. ;]

I can't speak to Sac-Anime, but they usually get a lot of good guests, at least American VAs. They also usually have more guests lined up than announced -- I don't feel like digging my program guide from last con out of my car, but they usually have an ad for next con on the back page that announces a few guests. It's also twice a year, so the timescale is a bit different than Fanime's.


Looking at cons closer to Fanime's size, using the 2014 North American con numbers and assuming Fanime has ~25,000 attendees, since that was the original comparison:
ACen doesn't appear to have any guests yet, but they have programming submissions open, and their Dealer's list is full.  Not sure if they have accepted AA members yet.
Anime North doesn't have much announced, but they do have a few panels up. Canadian con, if that matters.
A-Kon has made several guest announcements.
AWA has several guests announced and they are in September/October
Otakuthon is a bit smaller and in Canada, but has a number of guests announced guests announced

Not using anything from March and sooner (so things like Sakuracon that's in March, Katsucon next month, etc.).


Not sure if this really "proves" anything, but if we're going to base arguments on what other cons do, we should at least have the facts on that.

It looks like (counting AX), of the larger non-Fanime cons in NA, 4/6 have guest announcements, and 6/6 have some form of content announced, whether that is programming submissions, Dealer's applications, etc. I also don't know whether these cons tend to have the same paltry guest lineup and poor communication that Fanime typically does, since I don't keep up with them. (Also programming "likely to be comparable to the year before" isn't enough for a lot of people, especially when some of that programming -- most famously the Masquerade -- has a reputation for being a bit of a mess.)


I'm not the type where a guest will make or break my attending a con (with very few exceptions for very few guests -- if I had money and time for it, I'd travel for Yoko Shimomura, Kotono Mitsuishi, and possibly a few others), but I know that for many people, that does factor in heavily.

I think the bigger issue here is the general lack of communication by this con, whether that is on guests, hotels, etc., rather than whether a specific announcement has been made yet for this particular year. It's more about the overall pattern.



Its hard to say... a few years ago I was able to get a room for the full weekend in the Hilton about a month after hotel booking opened up no problem.  Then the last couple years, I can't get into the site the first day it opens, and by the middle of the week I would get a stray Double Tree room for 1 day (all that was left, save the airport hotel) and was added to the waitlist for the full weekend.  And every time, I've had my waitlist granted.  So I guess its impossible to know how much of that was room hording and how much was simply an increase in attendees needing a room, but I do recall the occasional craigslist add of people trying to "sell" their Hilton/Marriot rooms.
Now that you mention it, I have seen some posts around on places like cosplay.com where people are trying to fill large room blocks. Mostly that was on person, though. I don't have Facebook, so I don't know if that kind of thing is happening more often over there or not.

So scalping may be a legitimate issue. But I still feel like at /least/ half the problem is with there simply not being enough rooms, as well as the ensuing room panic where people know that there aren't enough rooms and thus try to snap up whatever they can get. Hopefully, rationing the rooms out like this will help with that part of it, and it won't then cause a "badge panic" where everyone tries to be first in line to buy their badges.



So I'm really hoping this system works, and that it doesn't screw over people like artists and dealers. Increased communication from the con and a solid timeline on when things will be announced would really help out, so that people don't have to worry about whether they can get a room or not because of XYZ circumstance.

The system seems good for a lot of your "average" attendees, and will (hopefully) be better in future years for people coming from far away who hesitated on a badge because of unknown rooming situations but may not hesitate in future years now that they know this system is in place. It's the special categories of attendees that I'm most worried about, especially give this con's late timeline for most things (and notoriously long AA wait times). Do you want to keep attracting people who provide programming to your con (like artists do), especially ones who are trying to run a professional business? You have to treat them well, and this isn't doing it.


Sorry if I seem overly salty. I'm really hoping that this new system works, and I'll probably be one of the ones to personally benefit from it. I'm really glad that they are trying to do something about this abysmal hotel situation, but there are too many unknowns at this point, and the con has a habit of not communicating information in a timely manner, so it's hard to know how well this will actually be implemented.
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SquishyK

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #52 on: January 22, 2016, 01:14:49 PM »

especially when some of that programming -- most famously the Masquerade -- has a reputation for being a bit of a mess.

I'm not disagreeing that Fanime has had communication problems. On a couple of occasions I've sent emails to fanime that this or that event wasn't listed in the program or didn't have accurate information. But I just don't think fanime telling us "we will have a masquerade" is any indication of how good it will be or if there will be technical issues and so on. And thus attendees can't base whether they will or will not go based on an announcement like that. Programming quality (aside from guests) has less to do with announcing said programming to the general public and more to do with execution. To get a general idea of what the con will be like it is not unreasonable to say "look at least year's programming" and then decide if you want to go or not. I just feel like it is a wild exaggeration for pantsu to say "We know absolutely NOTHING about the con, except that it's happening memorial day weekend in san jose.  No announcements of any kind."

Considering they got badge reg up before Christmas that's actually much earlier then some years. AA selection is taking a while but the actual submission process was also punctual by Fanime standards. They probably can't open masquerade or panel submissions too early or they are likely to get quite a few cancelations.
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pantsu

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #53 on: January 24, 2016, 12:22:39 AM »

What con does this?

Mostly large cons in the Midwest and East: ACen, AnimeBoston, Megacon, to name a few.  It's normal for there to have been at least 1 or 2 announcements of guests and/or events before badge and hotel registration opens (usually ~6 months pre-con).  (Dragoncon is notorious for announcing guests quickly post-con, however their hotel reservation system is a whole other hot mess that I won't bring up here, and usually happens 1-6 weeks post-con.)

Yes, WE can look at the events from last year, but will they be the same?  Maybe there won't be enough $ to do Musicfest for example.  Or we can't get the hall for the B&W ball.  Also this doesn't help total newbies, as all the events just say "coming soon" on the website.  Not everyone who comes to Fanime is from CA (or the west coast for that matter)...and traveling for a con means that there is some holycrapamazing thing/person/event you want to participate in.  In any case, we won't know unless it is communicated, and communication has been horrendous the last several years.

I'm not asking for the moon here...right now we're roughly 4 months out and nothing has been announced.  Not hotel prices, which are kind of important since hotel reg is looming.  Every year it feels like everything is cut closer and closer to the wire.  IMO, this is not really the best way to market a convention to its attendees...rather, it feels as though Fanime is "riding its laurels" instead of striving to be better.  Maybe I'm just spoiled by decently run cons back east (I'm a recent transplant), but for its size and supposed reputation, Fanime really should be bringing the big guns when it comes to communication, programming, and event planning.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2016, 12:58:40 AM by pantsu »
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #54 on: January 24, 2016, 05:14:42 PM »

You know, isnt this just going to cause a giant rush to prereg next year, the same problem we have with Hotels anyways?
Also, now that scalpers would know they just need to prereg to get themselves room priority, wouldn't they just prereg and wrap that in with the investment cost? In the grand scheme of things the difference between 350 and 400 isnt going to stop scalpers all that much.
Hell, they could sell the badge with the room, its not like there is much name checking between the name on the badge and IDs besides +18 content, and even that can be bypassed easily sense staff doesn't have much time to check any details other then age when they need to push 100+ people into a room.

The only thing ive seen that really helps out is just limiting rooms to one per badge. Scalpers would only have so much they can initially invest into getting badges for the hotel rooms, and would think twice about grabbing more then a few badges.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #55 on: January 24, 2016, 06:30:24 PM »

There is a limit 1 room per badge that fanime had stated in a facebook posts. Also prior to paying for the badges for the following year my friends and I have always had our IDs checked prior to buying it. I'm sure there's ways to get past it, but there's not much we can do for that. There's always possibility of shady people out there but like everyone else is saying, we don't truly know if this is a horrible system to put in place until we actually see results. Who knows maybe if they do have more people pre-reg earlier we could get more funding for better programs.

You know, isnt this just going to cause a giant rush to prereg next year, the same problem we have with Hotels anyways?
Also, now that scalpers would know they just need to prereg to get themselves room priority, wouldn't they just prereg and wrap that in with the investment cost? In the grand scheme of things the difference between 350 and 400 isnt going to stop scalpers all that much.
Hell, they could sell the badge with the room, its not like there is much name checking between the name on the badge and IDs besides +18 content, and even that can be bypassed easily sense staff doesn't have much time to check any details other then age when they need to push 100+ people into a room.

The only thing ive seen that really helps out is just limiting rooms to one per badge. Scalpers would only have so much they can initially invest into getting badges for the hotel rooms, and would think twice about grabbing more then a few badges.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #56 on: January 24, 2016, 07:08:50 PM »

There is a limit 1 room per badge that fanime had stated in a facebook posts. Also prior to paying for the badges for the following year my friends and I have always had our IDs checked prior to buying it. I'm sure there's ways to get past it, but there's not much we can do for that. There's always possibility of shady people out there but like everyone else is saying, we don't truly know if this is a horrible system to put in place until we actually see results. Who knows maybe if they do have more people pre-reg earlier we could get more funding for better programs.

You know, isnt this just going to cause a giant rush to prereg next year, the same problem we have with Hotels anyways?
Also, now that scalpers would know they just need to prereg to get themselves room priority, wouldn't they just prereg and wrap that in with the investment cost? In the grand scheme of things the difference between 350 and 400 isnt going to stop scalpers all that much.
Hell, they could sell the badge with the room, its not like there is much name checking between the name on the badge and IDs besides +18 content, and even that can be bypassed easily sense staff doesn't have much time to check any details other then age when they need to push 100+ people into a room.

The only thing ive seen that really helps out is just limiting rooms to one per badge. Scalpers would only have so much they can initially invest into getting badges for the hotel rooms, and would think twice about grabbing more then a few badges.

Yes I am well aware of the one room per badge limit, which is why it was in my post. Group Registration gets past the need to check IDs for each badge, all you need is your own ID to pick them all up. Im not saying the system will necessarily be terrible, but there appears to be some glaring flaws with it.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #57 on: January 25, 2016, 12:16:30 AM »

I think my biggest concern about this new system isn't necessarily how it will play out this year, but what it will mean for 2017 and onward assuming it works and they continue to use it. Arranging priority by when you get your badge strikes me as just passing the server stress up the line from hotels to registration; instead of everyone swarming the website when hotels go up, everyone will be swarming registration as soon as that goes up in the hopes of snagging that earlier priority window on the hotels.

The idea of priority windows isn't a bad one, since it would spread out the assault on the servers to hopefully manageable levels; but in the interest of preventing registration from getting DDOSed by everyone trying to register first, it might be a better idea to randomly assign the priority windows. Arguably a bit more fair, though there's certainly a fairness argument to be had for "I registered first, I should get priority first!" too.
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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #58 on: January 25, 2016, 05:47:08 AM »

I think my biggest concern about this new system isn't necessarily how it will play out this year, but what it will mean for 2017 and onward assuming it works and they continue to use it. Arranging priority by when you get your badge strikes me as just passing the server stress up the line from hotels to registration; instead of everyone swarming the website when hotels go up, everyone will be swarming registration as soon as that goes up in the hopes of snagging that earlier priority window on the hotels.

The idea of priority windows isn't a bad one, since it would spread out the assault on the servers to hopefully manageable levels; but in the interest of preventing registration from getting DDOSed by everyone trying to register first, it might be a better idea to randomly assign the priority windows. Arguably a bit more fair, though there's certainly a fairness argument to be had for "I registered first, I should get priority first!" too.

Yeah basically it is the same thing. You are putting information into fields and doing a debit/credit transaction. The Hotels might be a bit more resource consuming if they have to send data through to the hotels as well, but not by much. Really the best solution for dealing with both rushes is just put up temporary servers for the launch days to deal with the heavy traffic. Even renting a few servers for a month is pretty dirt cheap in the grand scheme of only a few thousand hits at once, and I am pretty sure there are services out there that will rent out servers for those that just need them for a few days.

Lotterys are messy. It can be argued it is fair, sure, but I don't think anyone likes the idea that they are at the mercy of some random number generator somewhere. Old Hotel Reg isn't even too much of a lottery, just a practice of persistence and cleverness.
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SquishyK

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Re: Hotels....
« Reply #59 on: January 25, 2016, 11:11:47 AM »

The advantage of a required badge purchase prior to reserving a hotel is the initial monetary investment. You can't get that money back as opposed to the no-risk system that has been in place hereinto. It also prevents people for booking extra rooms early on for friends that end up making other arrangement. While the latter is a good intentioned legitimate practice it does hold up the very limited supply of rooms. This results in people being wait listed and also reserving a hotel room at their available second choice. Which in turn fill up causing more people to be wait listed. Then as the cancellation deadline draws closer and people start dropping rooms and others are notified that they got a room from the wait list they then have to drop their back up room. All-in-all it's a rather messy system. It's possible that groups who need 2+ hotel rooms have had 4-5 of their members reserving 2+ rooms each and then dropping them later just so they could get their best chances at high demand rooms.

My feeling is that those who reserve badges right off the bat should get first crack at rooms (no loto system). For one, a per-badge loto system might make it difficult for families (or other groups) who need 2+ rooms to reserve them at the same hotel if they end up with drastically different priority times for each badge. Secondly there are people who try so hard to ensure they get a close hotel because they would be significantly inconvenienced by being at a distance from the con-center (sellers, cosplayers with large props/costume pieces, people with handicaps).

This also strikes me as the most handicapped friendly system. They can get badges at con for the next year (in a priority line if the regular line would be too long). And then get in an early hotel reservation group and likely be able to get a hotel close to the con center. I can't imagine the system that we have had up to this point would be considered highly accessible unless there are other avenues for hotel reservations that people with a handicap could go through that I am un-aware of (this is quite possible, I am not all-knowing).
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