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Messages - SpiritOfKairi

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21
If you want to try the waiting list...well best of luck to you.  Fact is that a lot of people went on that mere hours after housing went live.  Like kookiekween stated, she went on it the day after housing went up and only just now got something.  If you want to try, then go for it, but it's no guarantee.  I'd say your best bet would be to book a room at another hotel outside of Fanime.  Only issues are it's probably going to be either more expensive, further away (or both), and having your stuff at another room just for one night is going to be a pain.  But if you're booking Thursday then at least you'll get to transfer to the Marriott Friday and spend the rest of the weekend there.  One thing to note: if you go that route, make sure you have a car or cab fare in case your room isn't within walking distance.  Also, if you do have a car and will be driving, make sure you leave for the CC early in the morning.  The CC's parking garage fills up quickly, and IIRC trying to get a spot after 9:30-10 is a chore in itself.

22
Hotel and Facilities / Open rooms still (Re: Fanime 2015 Roommate thread)
« on: January 26, 2015, 12:58:40 PM »
Room availability at the San Jose Garden Hotel.
I know the Fanime 2015 rooms were brutally massacred before most people actually got a hold of one,
so I'm just giving a temporary heads up that there's been some availability at the San Jose Garden Hotel for the past few days.
[I've been going back every now &then to check if it's still there.]
For anyone who needs it.

Have to say I'm a little surprised rooms are available without having to be on the waiting list.  Then again, most people were booking rooms at the farther hotels and then waitlisting for places like the Fairmont/Marriott.  Still, looks like a good deal if you haven't booked yet and don't want to pay out the nose for a room.  And actually, that kind of makes me wonder if people have been able to move up to the Fairmont/Hilton since it logically follows that after booking at the Garden Hotel and waitlisting for a closer place, that those individuals got their preferred rooms, and then cancelled their old reservations.  If that's true, I'm a bit shocked that so many were able to move up, but glad people got their preferred rooms.  Fanime really needs to use a different system for hotel booking in the future, though.  Think it's become quite clear that CMR simply can't handle it anymore with how much the convention has grown the last few years.  It shouldn't take 2 hours and a splitting headache just to hope that you'll get a good room.

23
Registration / 2-Person Group Registration?
« on: January 25, 2015, 11:22:49 AM »
Think I asked this question before, but forgot the answer.  Anyway for 2007-2013 it was an option to create a group registration with only two people.  This was great for me and my roommate since I could grab our memberships while they got our stuff in the room.  When 2014's convention rolled around , even though groups of two were not available at first, registration staff let us have the option of creating them a couple months before the con.  This year, groups of two have not been offered, but I'm wondering if staff has any intention of letting us combine registrations like they did last year.  Any chance this will happen?  If not, then just do pre-registration pick-up like last year where we only have a 5 minute wait, and that will be good too =).

24
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Attendee housing to open Nov. 10
« on: November 29, 2014, 04:31:23 PM »
But I just don't know how Fanime's shuttles can be that much of a cluster duck. It's way shorter than AX. And less people.
It varies from year to year.
  • 2012 - A real bus service, with large luxury buses. Lots of empty seats. Nice.
  • 2013 - Short buses with totally lost bus drivers from a parking lot shuttle company. Trips went miles off course. Buses jammed. Long waits. Awful.
  • 2014 - Less clueless bus drivers from same parking lot shuttle company. Buses jammed. Moderate waits. Adequate.

Since Fanime probably isn't moving anytime soon despite the convention's growth, making shuttle service consistently fluent would probably help people feel better about reserving a room farther away from the CC, and possibly drive competition for the Hilton and Marriott down a tad.

25
Hotel and Facilities / Re: So who else found out too late to book?
« on: November 28, 2014, 02:59:59 PM »
I don't have Facebook (I just don't... it's just one of those things I'm not interested in) and I think Twitter is beyond stupid.

I posted it to the forums on the 31st, there was an official post on the 2nd and a notice went up on the website on November 3rd.

I don't start checking the site until December... becuase I figure that's when the news starts rolling in...

That's when it started rolling in the last 2-3 years.  Thing is people got impatient, especially when rooms were coming up in January when they were used to rooms coming up in November, and I guess staff picked up the pace in response to the feedback.

It isn't going to be as economical, but have you thought about booking a room at one of the hotels without the Fanime rate?  Not all the rooms are blocked off for the con.  For the last 2-3 years I have seen people staying at the Hilton and Fairmont for other occasions who didn't know what madness was surrounding them lol.  Point is not every room is taken for the con, so that might be something to consider.  Otherwise you'll have to book a room for a night through CMR, put yourself on the waitlist for the weekend, and just hope it works.  Don't know what the chances of that working are though, considering the waitlist started getting names 5 hours after registration went up.  Unfortunately right now those look like the only options available unless I'm missing something.

26
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Attendee housing to open Nov. 10
« on: November 24, 2014, 08:32:08 PM »
Actually, it does make sense that people don't have $55 to spare at sudden notice but do have $100 a night for a room since once you book the hotel you know how much to save for. This is the first time since I started attending that it's gone up so early and some people live paycheck to paycheck with little wiggle room.

Well, it does and it doesn't. Really it comes down to personal preference. Personally, I wouldn't think about going to a convention if $55 was a big issue, but I also think people should be allowed to spend their own money how they want and go into debt if it's to do something they love.

I'm kind of back and forth on this one.  On the one hand, many attendees go to Fanime yearly and save up for it, knowing they will be returning.  They have a good idea of what admission will cost, and it's safe to guess that these people would be saving for next year's convention right after the previous one has ended.  In this case, it's not too far-fetched that these individuals should have the membership money ready whenever that part pops up.  However, there is also the fact that everything came up much earlier this year than in the last 3, and that there are still many individuals living from paycheck to paycheck, making saving much harder to do.  So I can see both sides - those who are able to save up throughout the year and are ready whenever things pop up, and those who do not have that luxury and maybe got taken off-guard by things coming up so much earlier.

I do agree that having to purchase a badge in order to book a room might lessen the stress on the servers, but I think(as I've seen other people say) Fanime is just outgrowing downtown San Jose. It gets harder to book a room every year because every year there are more people attending.

It probably won't given how fast rooms went this year when you needed to pay for a badge to reserve them online. It'd be neat to know how many people have already registered for the con.

I'm sure there are ways that can make it an easier process, like requiring a badge to book a room and having a limit of so many rooms per badge number, but I don't think it's completely avoidable anymore.

Isn't there already a limit? I thought it was two per person, but someone on the ClockWork Alchemey Facebook page posted that they got three rooms.

Not that I think a limit would do much. Paying $55 for an extra registration would be worth it to anyone looking to profit off the rooms.

I'm not sure requiring badge registration is the magic bullet we once thought it was.  I think one bigger issue here is the service being used to book.  I mentioned this once before, and I'll say it again - it's looking about time to move on from CMR.  Yes they have been handling hotel registration for the last 7+ years, but the last few they have been consistently dropping the ball.  Despite the traffic for hotel registration exploding soon as the service opens these last 3-4 years, booking has gotten significantly worse and worse each year.  We have seen the site get increasingly slow, bookings fail at the last moment, error messages due to the servers being clogged, and people waiting for increasing periods of time to book a room.  This year alone we saw people waiting around 2 hours, refreshing the site and constantly calling CMR, only to book their second or third hotel of choice.  We need a service that has the server space to handle the onslaught of traffic brought on by hotel registration, that won't make people sacrifice hours of their day just to desperately hope they'll get the room they want.  CMR has had opportunities the last few years to ramp up their servers to handle the load, and yet they have failed to do so.  We need a service that offers a decent online booking experience, rather than one that causes frustration and headaches for all who attempt to use it.

27
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Attendee housing to open Nov. 10
« on: November 18, 2014, 12:29:00 PM »
Does it bug anyone else that it's been a week and con staff haven't explained, apologized, or even acknowledge how hotel registration was messed up?
Fanime housing has become a hot ticket. Convention Management Resources (CMR) wasn't prepared for that.  Look at their client list: American Diabetes Association, Semicon West, the American College of Reumatology, the GPU Technology Conference, and the National Electrical Contractors Association. None of those are going to have 10,000+ people frantically trying to book rooms minutes after registration opens.

Still, not having enough server capacity is kind of embarrassing today. Especially with a system that behaves badly under load, starting transactions and failing to complete them.

While it does make some sense that CMR would have trouble with the traffic volume due to their other venues simply not being that popular, fact is they have been handling hotel registration for Fanime for the last 5 years, if not longer.  They should know by now how much their servers are going to be overwhelmed, and try to prepare for it as much as possible.  It has become blatantly obvious in the last 3 years that things need to be ramped up, and CMR simply isn't delivering on that.  From what I have heard, the majority of the rooms booked this year happened through the phone (after trying to call 100+ times), rather than the website, which was buggy and slow when it wasn't totally crashed.  I don't know if it would be possible to them to temporarily get more servers to make hotel registration smoother, but if not, maybe a different service should be used; one that doesn't make people wait 1-2 hours to book a room while putting up with server crashes and a busy signal on the phone.

28
Registration / Re: "Registration Incomplete" Email
« on: November 14, 2014, 09:57:16 AM »
I received one of those emails too, which is weird since my membership was paid in full 5 minutes after registering =/.  But the system seems to be really buggy this year.  Apparently those who booked hotels with the site were also charged for memberships if they hadn't been purchased already.  (At least that's what I'm hearing on these forums.)  You said you booked over the phone, though?  If so, I would think you're okay since phone bookings don't seem to be connected to your registration account.  (Again, from what I gather on these forums.)  If you booked through the site, then your reservation is definitely tied to your memberhsip and you'll see the two together when you log in to CMR, but don't think it's the same case if you did it through the phone.  If you did it through there, you have your email confirmation, and that's it.

Jude to be on the safe side though, I would definitely wait and see what staff says when they reply to your email.

29
How about the new ballroom in the CC?  Or is that where dance lessons are being held now?

The new Ballroom is where Artist Alley was in 2014 and will probably continue to be unless they change it again.

Oohhh, I see.  No, keep the AA there.  That was a great location!

I think the area where they did reg last year would be great for Swap Meet. Now that reg is a much shorter process it was barely in use last year.

Well it would be closer and have slightly more room, but I don't know if staff would be able to clear out the registration line tape to do that.

30
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Can someone please explain the debit card policy
« on: November 09, 2014, 06:47:00 PM »
They put a hold for the amount of the room PLUS the deposit. So if your hotel room is $115/night, and you stay for four nights in one room, they will reserve $860 on your account.

(room rate + deposit)(# of nights)(# of rooms) + taxes

And yes, they put the hold on your account when you check in, and it probably won't drop off until several days after the con. Once, it took over a week to get my account back. Just make sure you're prepared for that.

This looks about right to me.  Just make sure you have a lot of money in your checking account so the pending charge doesn't take all your food/fun money for the weekend.  I've heard stories of people who used debit, weren't prepared, and were unable to use their card for the rest of the weekend because all their money was tied up in the pending charge =(.

31
I would be surprised if anyone knew where the swap meet is going to be at this stage.  We'll probably find out about that a week out from the convention.  But that also brings up an important question since Fanime seems to be struggling to find a good location.  People complained that the game hall got too crowded hosting it; AA didn't work when AA was next door to the game hall; the Fairmont was inconvenient at best with the line and the 2-room system; and the building right across the street wasn't that great with very limited space and a 2-hour line to get in (seriously, that's how long my friends and I waited).  The south hall would be great, except it closes early and swap meet is more of an evening event.  How about the new ballroom in the CC?  Or is that where dance lessons are being held now?

32
Registration / Re: Group Registration Member Requirements
« on: November 04, 2014, 05:55:34 PM »
At this current time in the registration process, the best point of contact would be either FaniReg@cmrus.com or calling 800-924-4232.

Got it fixed, thanks!  Just curious, is there any chance that we'll be able to do two-person group registration in the future?  I remember this was done for 2014, though late in the process.

33
Registration / Re: Group Registration Member Requirements
« on: November 03, 2014, 09:08:40 PM »
For those of us who tried to do group registration with two people before finding out that wasn't possible and emailed registration, how quickly can we expect for the extra names to be taken off the account so the memberships can be purchased separately?

34
Registration / Re: Attendee registration to open Nov. 3 ~2pm
« on: November 03, 2014, 04:18:08 PM »
Hi, am I doing something wrong?  I'm trying to register myself and my roommate, but there is no checkout button after putting down both of our memberships.  On the "Event dashboard" all I see are buttons to edit a registration, add a new member, and an add to book the hotel.  Is this an error in the code, or am I just missing something really obvious?

35
Live Programming and Events / Re: Swap meet feedback
« on: June 01, 2014, 08:10:07 PM »
Was the swapmeet being held at the Fairmont bad?
From a shopper's point of view, I thought it went pretty well.

After the day of conventioning, the line disuaded me from attending this year too.

The dealer's room closed at 8 this year on Friday so it'd have to be really early if the swapmeet time changed.

Selling in fairmont was pretty cool I liked it 100 times better than this years spot. Even with it being two dif rooms I think it worked out really well.

Call us crazy, but my friends and I hated that spot.  What irked us (aside from the wait to get in), was how the two-room situation was handled.  If you were in room 2 and wanted to buy something you saw in room 1, you had to exit room 2 and get back in line for room 1.  By the time you got back in, the item you wanted might be (and probably was) gone.  I realize that with holding the meet in single rooms like the gaming room and Civic Center that the possibility of someone beating you to the purchase like that is still there, but it's a much smaller possibility when you're in the same room and can just walk over, vs having to wait an extra 30-45 minutes just to get back in and see.  Hopefully that explanation made sense.

36
Live Programming and Events / Re: Swap meet feedback
« on: May 31, 2014, 12:41:39 PM »
The line for the swap meet was the only ridiculous line I came across during the con.  My friends and I were waiting to get in for about 1.5 hours, and I have to agree that the space for the meet was simply too small.  My roommate and I were commenting after getting out that the South Hall would have probably been a better location, but if (like FanFicGuru said) that building closes at 10:30, guess that's out.  But where to put it?  Even with the new double-wide DH there isn't really enough space, AA is out, the gaming room gets insanely crowded when it's there, and the Fairmont did a horrible job of managing it back in 2012.  Are there any rooms in the Hilton or Marriott that could maybe house it?

37
General Convention Discussion / Re: Thank You FanimeCon!
« on: May 27, 2014, 03:07:56 PM »
I have to agree with everyone here =).  Picking up registrations was a breeze, the center was wonderfully reconfigured, and Fanime finally found a good use for the Fairmont by putting the panels over there.  The DH and AA were also vastly improved in the quality and selection of items, and their locations.  The double-wide DH was fantastic, and the lighting in the new AA hall complemented the art so much better than the south hall did in 2013.

My only complaint is that it was disappointing to not have a food court again this year.  I really liked that idea back in 2013, and was hoping to see it again.  However, I think all the major improvements this year more than made up for it =).

Also, for the future, it would be nice to have things set up earlier.  For instance, have pre-reg and hotels up before February, and have sign-ups for things like AA and swap meet at least a few months in advance, rather than one.  I know having things come up so last-minute was a real source of anxiety for artists and swap meet sellers, so more timely sign-ups and better pre-con communication would really help improve a situation that has already improved significantly since 2013.

38
Live Programming and Events / Re: Fanime's new AA system
« on: May 26, 2014, 08:34:11 PM »
And why it's the reason I'm not going to be attending Fanime next year

The art and commissions were overpriced, there was little style variation between artists and many of the artists I talked to were fairly rude. Artist's Alley is usually my favorite part of conventions, but this was awful. The artists are talented, and I'm not trying to degrade them and their work. However by picking such an elite selection of artists, they were given less competition, resulting in raised prices all around and a general sense of superiority. Many of the artists I've seen at other cons and their prices were definitely increased here as opposed to other times.

But don't feel too bad, Fanime. Really this was just the straw that broke the camel's back. The scheduling was horrid and unorganized, events were difficult to locate due to the separate booklets containing different information, the one way only entrances and exits were pointless and really the only thing that went well was the registration line.

TL;DR this year's Fanime was single handedly the least enjoyable out of all the cons I have attended since 2007 and I will not be returning.

Huh, interesting...I thought this year's con beat last year's by miles.  The AA was in a much better location for showcasing art than last year (maybe use the south hall for the swap meet?), and the prices didn't seem out of line.  I was able to buy large, quality prints for $15-20 each, beautiful earrings for $10-15 each, and a very nice etched Kill la Kill glass for $15.  As for the attitude of the artists, none were rude to me at all.  I also thought there was better variation in what was being offered; last year's selection seemed a little bland, both in the AA and DH.  Yes commissions were pricey, but you are getting a custom item from the artist that they are personally making for you, so the tab is naturally going to be higher.  I'll give you that information on some events was a little hard to find, but if you take the time to look around, you'll almost always find something cool to do during the con.

Fanime during the last couple years has had problems, there's no denying that.  And while there were some issues this year, like some event info being hard to find and the swap meet line being incredibly long, overall I thought they did much better this time around.

39
Registration / Re: KUDOS TO REGISTRATION!
« on: May 26, 2014, 03:26:42 PM »
I don't know what the registration department did this year to streamline things, but oh my god did they get it right =).  I got there Friday at about 2:30, and it took me a total of maybe 5 minutes tops to power walk through the yellow tape, pick up my group's badges, and get the bags.  All I can say is thank you, registration, and keep it up for the years to come!  =D

40
Hotel and Facilities / Re: Hilton deposit 25$ night
« on: May 21, 2014, 02:18:14 PM »
What the title says I just walked out of the lobby the manager I think it was said that just thought I would share the good word

PS lol @ these captchas

Thanks for the update!  Seems like the hotels change those amounts every year.  That will be much better for my roommate, since the room is on their card, and no one likes a bunch of extra money being put on hold over the weekend.

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