Thank you all for coming! I hear the majority of you had a great time and great sales ! (Wonder why I keep doing worse though? I think I need help for my booth!! Lol) And that is great to hear! Okay, so i'll try to list the good, bad and the ugly here in as organized a fashion as my tired brain can do (and hopefully finish it before too many people post in the OLD thread, or start a new one)
I have, in the past, heard complaints that the layout of our current room (we've been there 3 years) leaves much to be desired. IE - we need to put in MORE tables and that the super wide aisles are a horrible idea because they lose sales. From what I'm reading, most of you had great sales so that can't be quite right. Also, from the level of foot traffic I had to fight through every time I got up from my table, I'm thinking its a darn good thing.
New this year, the floor signs with 'street' names. I noticed two that still had the arrows incorrectly pointed even after I had them corrected. but all in all, they looked nice, were quite visible and seemed to hold up to the traffic well. I think my staff liked them and the street names we put on the 3 major aisles as a way to give people directions. Did you notice them? What did you think?
We managed to get 2 water stations in there just as promised! I did have an issue with one of the stations being placed DIRECTLY in front of an artists table...in the middle of the ROOM (i asked for a wall). We called them to move it and they never even came to us before they went and did it. they turned it 90 degrees out into the aisle. I heard no complaints for the weekend about it's location but i'm still unhappy with their solution.
Last year we had SERIOUS problems with the union and getting that room set up - not only in a TIMELY manner, but in a CORRECT one. We had to call them back 2 times to deal with issues they caused - WHILE we were letting artists in. So this year, in anticipation of the same shenanigans (its' really hard to fix a problem when artists are trying to set up) I pushed back the set up hours by an hour and a half start time, and extended the other end by an hour. so we only really lost 30 minutes of setup time.
I was pleasantly surprised to get there and to see that instead of trolleys (or whatever they were) filled with stacked tables and an otherwise empty room, we actually had our room already set up and only 1 table ACTUALLY missing (unlike the 7 from the year before) enabling us to get ready in a much less harried fashion.
Okay folks, for the most part, things were all good. But we did have a few issues:
- Some artists managed to get security to escort them into the AA without HAVING an actual convention badge. (or just somehow snuck in on their own)
Other artists seemed to think that they would get their convention badge at the AA info desk in the convention center instead of in Registration.
And a few other artists seemed to think that because their convention badges said "Artists Alley" on them, they didn't need to stop by the AA info desk to pick up the secondary AA badge.
1- NO, we cannot allow an unbadged person into the convention to help you with setup or breakdown. Even if we did, another staff member outside of our department could come along and escort that person right back out again. This is in the FAQ.
2 - if you leave someone behind your table BY THEMSELVES at any point during con, than they MUST have the secondary badge so that WE KNOW they're supposed to be there. We've had squatters before. Not just people who arrive and take up what appears to be an empty table, but people who wander up to a 'closed up' table, set out their own wares and proceed to sell both without the knowledge of the artist. (this example happened several years prior).
Last minute Badge additions :
There WERE a few other issues with badges that had to do with how LATE I got names for additional artists/helpers. Giving me names within a week of the con CAN mean that your con badge won't say Artists Alley on it, that your name isn't listed on the list given to the Hynes staff and that you may not even have your secondary badge ready for you by con. And if any or all of these 3 things happen, than you CAN have issues dealing with the Hynes.
And even after I sent out an email about folks who I'd been having problems finding in the reg database, and please check with me about the names, I still had at least one artist who failed to give me 4 names for her tables until i made a random comment to her 2 days prior online. So NONE of them were setup or ready. Please, i'd rather check a ton of emails (please just give me time because i do have a regular job that is at odd hours to most people) then get blindsided at con too late to do anything about it.
Remember that if at any point at all you are CONFUSED by the wording on our explanations you CAN email for clarification. I may get a little frustrated because I do have to answer some of the same questions over and over but as long as it seems like you TRIED to read the text, i'm okay with clarifying. its when the questions and actions that i read or see seems to imply that there was no ATTEMPT to read the FAQ that I really get frustrated. (And then I normally just vent to my husband so I don't take it out on anyone )
So, a few folks got last minute tables at the con. I know several of you had already planned on staking out the alley before i even sent out the emails that were to note that there WERE tables available. I did get flack about that because the notice was so last minute. That's kinda what happens with cancellations, and i figured most people would get that. But i Just wanted to point that out that that WAS the reason it was so last minute.
I would also like to take this time to state that when I sent those emails out, I wasn't expecting every and all folks on that list to drop everything, book flights and have massive amounts of merch ready. I sent them out because I KNEW there are always artists who will be attending anyway (or were very local), who always have something ready and that *I* Had no clue which ones of those on my waitlist those were, so i did the easy thing and mailed the entire waitlist so i could reach the people who COULD take advantage.
We had a number of spaces and they were all filled on Friday. Then when 1 or 2 tables did not appear on Saturday, those were quickly filled as well.
Okay...now...I don't know who did it. But from what I heard, it was a small number of folks - some who got in, some who did not - who had been waiting on Friday to get first crack at the tables that were available.
Once the door was opened, one of the artists in the line for tables, who'd been FIRST IN LINE, got shoved out of the way by SEVERAL other artists. We learned of this afterwards, when she reached the table and had to be turned away. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR! IT's one thing to be disappointed because there just wasn't enough space. THIS was uncalled for.
We at AB have always prided ourselves on being a community. not just a random gathering of strangers, but people who wind up attending many cons together, getting to know each other, who share common goals and interests and are often helping each other out, giving advice, holding down the fort so you can hit the bathroom, things like that. This was not an example of that behavior. We are already thinking of steps we can take to prevent that kind of thing again.
Please, if you see anything like this, let us know. IT's a big room and we can't be everywhere at the exact right second every single time.
Okay, so i got up on Saturday to hit the bathroom and there was this godawful line coming out of the sheraton and wrapping into our Alley. I had not been made aware of this - neither that it was GOING to happen, nor that it HAD happened. I had to stop security to find out what was going on. They managed to at least CONTAIN it so it wouldn't block of tables, but it did still impede traffic. AGAIN, thank god for Wide Aisles. I'm STILL not happy that it was there to begin with....thankfully, I was told it was handled quickly once security got their hands on it (as apparently it kinda just formed on its own.) And i'm hoping we won't see a repeat of this.
Taping things up in the Hynes
We have a rule NOT to tape or otherwise attach ANYTHING to any wall (or rug, which we don't have to worry about anymore) in the Hynes. This includes business cards in bathroom stalls. This rule is not an AB rule, it is a HYNES rule. You think that tape isn't hurting anything, and mostly it's not. But the next person might not use the right tape and the Hynes is paranoid that someone is going to use the wrong thing - be it on purpose or on accident. So if they see you doing it, they could take action. And yes, people do deliberately do those things - we've already had to scrape STICKERS off of walls....it is why ALL stickers sales have been banned from the convention.
I am....coming up blank at the moment on anything else to go over. I heard mostly good things about how everything was running. we had fewer bag check complaints this year than ever, and most complaints were about things outside of our control. We had an additional staff member in our Alley this year and our Info Desk felt it was a great improvement in the flow of work and our breaks.
So...have at! what are your thoughts about the convention itself (not even thinking about the sign up procedrues, as this is the convention feedback i'm looking for)