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Author Topic: Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!  (Read 2045 times)

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FanFicGuru

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Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!
« on: March 27, 2008, 11:44:18 AM »

Dear Registration Staff,

 First...let me say that I really appreciate all that you do. Really. I know it's really tough dealing with 10,000+ people all pushing and shoving their way into a gigantic convention center, not to mention keeping a line of prominently teenage and preteen customers from rising up in a gigantic mass and slaughtering you all. Kudos.

 However, getting rid of group registration was just...a really really bad idea. Granted there were some hiccups last year, but the convenience of having one person go and pick up badges for 10 or more people? How is this not a great way to cut down the size of the lines, and increase the convenience for people who are going in a group (which is usually a majority of the con, I would imagine.)

 I"m not complaining about the whole ID thing. I can understand that...and I'm sure by next year people will get the clue and go get a state ID. But please, bring back group registration next year. I can tell you right now the registration and pre-registration lines are going to be way worse because instead of 1 person picking up 10 badges, you'll have 10 people in line. Do the math on all the groups that probably went last year...all the people who are going to show up...it's not going to be pretty.

 Thanks Registration team...looking forward to next year.

-FFG
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phoenixphire24

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Re: Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 12:27:23 PM »

I totally agree with this. In the past my friends and I would all go to the con together and pick up our badges at the same time. However, we are now scattered through out CA and the US which means that we are arriving at different times. It would be so much easier if we could have registered as a group this year because one of our group cannot arrive until late Friday, after registration has closed. This means he will miss out on all of the Friday night activites and must get up and wait in line Sat morning. Getting his pass with the rest of ours on Friday afternoon would have been nice. I assume that there was some sort of problem last year with people take badges they weren't supposed to or not having all the right information, but I hope those problems can be overcome so that group-reg can come back for 2009.
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Re: Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2008, 05:32:22 PM »

Hmmm.....

How about during the registration process, people can enter in the name of someone they would allow to pick up their badge. (For people already registered, maybe they can go into their account and add it in.) Then when that person whose name was entered to pick up the badge comes to get them, Fanime can see whose badge they've been authorized to pick up.

Of course, there could be liabilities with this so maybe anyone who wants to use this option has to (read and) sign a waiver that basically says Fanime's not at fault if the person designated as pick-up-badge-person runs away with the badges.

Just an idea.
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Steve.Young

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Re: Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2008, 06:57:13 PM »

Hmmm.....

How about during the registration process, people can enter in the name of someone they would allow to pick up their badge. (For people already registered, maybe they can go into their account and add it in.) Then when that person whose name was entered to pick up the badge comes to get them, Fanime can see whose badge they've been authorized to pick up.

Of course, there could be liabilities with this so maybe anyone who wants to use this option has to (read and) sign a waiver that basically says Fanime's not at fault if the person designated as pick-up-badge-person runs away with the badges.

Just an idea.


Thats not a bad idea. I remember saturday, when the reg lines were an absolute mess and 10+ rovers were trying to get the lines under control. Even with the weaving line, there were still people all the way OUTSIDE on the opposite end of the con. Group reg <3
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Re: Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2008, 10:36:26 PM »

Hey guys,

Thank you so much for recognizing that change takes much time and much planning. For those checking that little counter on the front Fanime page we are less than 60 days away from Fanime. Any ideas and implementations must be saved for future years as the logistics and coding are already underway and headed in a direction without Group Reg.

Now onto why we stopped doing group reg this year. It is a multi-faceted conundrum this group reg is.

The visual part that you and I may see:
Group Reg is clearly convenient for those that use it....when it works. The reg is fast and takes care of a grip of people in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, this expediency and inconvenience is shrouded in a cloud of issues that the staff need to address. If the group leader fails to bring the form for EACH badge we need to run through an extensive and exhausting confirmation process. When the badges are issued to the "responsible" parties, they are often lost or misplaced so the staff needs to go through the exercise of issuing a replacement badge. In addition to these inevitable situations, we have no way of checking IDs and ensuring the identities of those registered; we are further unable to maintain the safety of the members and are unable to provide that information when requested by law enforcement.

The behind-the-scenes action:
The amount of members that take advantage of the group reg program ranges from 2% to 5%, generously. When you have a few thousand members this amounts to a few hundred people that opt for this option. Since badges are printed in alphabetical order, the individual members must be pulled from the stacks to put together the group package. These are not pulled alphabetically but by the group, so for however many groups we have, we go through the entire collection of member badges that many times. The reg staff printing team only takes 2-3 days to print and laminate all the badges, but this exercise adds an additional 1-2 days to the process. Frankly, on its own, a 30% to 60% increase in badge processing time for 2% to 5% of the member base is not justified by the convenience. On top of that, none of the staff is paid. They are not compensated for the time they take off from work and school to prepare the reg process. We work hard to provide a good registration experience to our members, but the group reg was logistically inefficient. We hope to more effectively use our time to develop a better system.

What is the reg staff doing to improve your reg experience:
We are working hard to develop a new schemes to speed up registration and make it easier to go through this arduous albeit necessary process. We hope to bring to you a format that will make this the easiest and quickest reg for each and every single one of you. This year it was decided to focus on this matter and group reg was a casualty to this change.

What can you do as fans of Fanime:
Please continue to help us out with suggestions and ideas but do not expect an immediate change even if it is a good idea. The best thing you can do is bring these ideas with you and join us as staff. We are expecting a record number of people this year and are ever in need of more people that can care for our fans as much as the staff had cared for you in past years.

If you have any comments, questions or would like to join reg staff, please e-mail us at registrationATfanimeDOTcom

Thanks:)
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Re: Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2008, 01:38:02 AM »

Hey guys,

Thank you so much for recognizing that change takes much time and much planning. For those checking that little counter on the front Fanime page we are less than 60 days away from Fanime. Any ideas and implementations must be saved for future years as the logistics and coding are already underway and headed in a direction without Group Reg.

No problem. I understand it's not an easy task.

Now onto why we stopped doing group reg this year. It is a multi-faceted conundrum this group reg is.

The visual part that you and I may see:
Group Reg is clearly convenient for those that use it....when it works. The reg is fast and takes care of a grip of people in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, this expediency and inconvenience is shrouded in a cloud of issues that the staff need to address. If the group leader fails to bring the form for EACH badge we need to run through an extensive and exhausting confirmation process. When the badges are issued to the "responsible" parties, they are often lost or misplaced so the staff needs to go through the exercise of issuing a replacement badge. In addition to these inevitable situations, we have no way of checking IDs and ensuring the identities of those registered; we are further unable to maintain the safety of the members and are unable to provide that information when requested by law enforcement.

How about this: The group "leader" receives an email with a confirmation code or whatever to come pick up his "group"'s badges. He/she provides state-issed ID on the spot to pick up the badges for the members of his group. If a member of the group (or the leader himself) loses the badge, all of the members of the group can refer back to the "leader"'s group number and say "Hey, I'm in group #5324...here's my state issued ID. See my name there? Cool, replacement badge please." That way, your still getting your ID's and you can quickly access who they are and that they're legitimately covered. Maybe charge a full badge replacement fee for two reasons: One- Deters people from grabbing a group number and just claiming they lost it for a discount and two- if the leader lost it chances are he'll fork it over or have the group help pay. It's not a very good solution but it's the only one I can think of at the moment to help nullify the whole taking advantage of group numbers system.

The behind-the-scenes action:
The amount of members that take advantage of the group reg program ranges from 2% to 5%, generously. When you have a few thousand members this amounts to a few hundred people that opt for this option. Since badges are printed in alphabetical order, the individual members must be pulled from the stacks to put together the group package. These are not pulled alphabetically but by the group, so for however many groups we have, we go through the entire collection of member badges that many times. The reg staff printing team only takes 2-3 days to print and laminate all the badges, but this exercise adds an additional 1-2 days to the process. Frankly, on its own, a 30% to 60% increase in badge processing time for 2% to 5% of the member base is not justified by the convenience. On top of that, none of the staff is paid. They are not compensated for the time they take off from work and school to prepare the reg process. We work hard to provide a good registration experience to our members, but the group reg was logistically inefficient. We hope to more effectively use our time to develop a better system.

It seems like your system is kind of inefficient. Perhaps while your printing the badges out there can be a special marking on the badge as its being printed, maybe a "G" on the back or something like that. That way, while you're filtering your badges you can go through the initial step right away and set aside all of the "Group" registered attendees, maybe alphabetizing them at the same time. After that, it's just a matter of grabbing some volunteers to set out the group packages. Sound slightly better?

What is the reg staff doing to improve your reg experience:
We are working hard to develop a new schemes to speed up registration and make it easier to go through this arduous albeit necessary process. We hope to bring to you a format that will make this the easiest and quickest reg for each and every single one of you. This year it was decided to focus on this matter and group reg was a casualty to this change.

With all due respect, I'm failing to see how registration is getting any more convenient for attendees at this point in time. It seems to be growing more and more INconvenient. I understand that due to the nature of the badges and the information and security involved you can only go out so far, but I think that from last year to this year there have been no extensions of convenience, only a very hard line from registration staff about what cannot be done this year, instead of more optimistic options for shortening reg wait times. Again, all respect due is present.

What can you do as fans of Fanime:
Please continue to help us out with suggestions and ideas but do not expect an immediate change even if it is a good idea. The best thing you can do is bring these ideas with you and join us as staff. We are expecting a record number of people this year and are ever in need of more people that can care for our fans as much as the staff had cared for you in past years.

If you have any comments, questions or would like to join reg staff, please e-mail us at registrationATfanimeDOTcom

Thanks:)

I understand that these things take time to implement, and I"m sorry that I don't have the time to join registration staff myself to try and make this change from within. I trust that things will improve next year, but I'm still not all that pleased with how this year is turning out. I just hope that the reg lines aren't as bad as I"m expecting them to be.

Thanks for the reply. ^_^
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Re: Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2008, 06:43:22 AM »

Your registration system can be changed (over the course of the next year) to be able to allow any party who registers to go to a different stack. That is a very simple issue, whether it be electronic on the website and printer 2 instead of printer 1 prints out the info for your team to take care or separate emails. Fanimereg1@fanime.com and Fanimereg2@fanime.com etc. Or if it's as simple as the people who are working for fanime putting a group reg form in box B instead of box B. Simply put, you are making it too hard on yourselves.

As for the theft/loss issue. IDs can still be enforced if need be, however groups would have to mark how many underage attendees they have, male, female and ages. Cuts down largely on people abusing it and in reality what 14 year old is going to sit in a hotel room for a couple of hours at a time trading off their spot at Fanime to make sure they saved $50? None.

And I totally agree with Guru that the single group registrations and the MUSTS on the Government IDs has done nothing but it easier for YOU. Not us. (particularly younger members and parents)

As for time, you now have over a year to start working on things for next year.

Here's to hoping we see some improvements.
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Re: Please....PLEASE bring back Group Registration in 09!
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2008, 01:51:46 PM »

You guys are making good suggestions that we can hopefully implement for Fanime 2009. So thanks! (Actually, some of them were things that we had considered already.)

We know that some people really want group registration, but that simply was not possible this year. Without getting in to too many details, the registration process (especially for on-site) and registration as a whole has been going under some major changes. Since you will not notice anything different until you get to con, it's understandable that you aren't pleased with the fact that there is no group reg this year. The bottom line is, we want to get things absolutely right with these changes, and especially not have an Anime Boston happen.

I hope Eric and I were able to clarify things a bit.
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