I am going to try to keep this concise!
The Great :)
GP entry times – So much better than last year – and whomever let us into the GP atrium area on Sunday to get us out of the rain needs a pay rise.
So many of the pit bosses were fantastic. Mary, in particular, needs a pay rise! So many of them were all great at resolving individual issues.
Kelly. She rocks in so many ways and was utterly, utterly brilliant. Also a shout out to the woman staffing the Extra help desk in the mornings who was doing sterling work. In fact, so many of the red and blue shirt crew were superb.
Pretty much all of the guests we met were excellent, chatty, informative and enjoyed meeting fans (and in some instance other guests! )
David Tennant. What a last minute surprise that was. Nicely done on that one.
The Olympia security staff and crowd control (Yellowjackets as I called them). They really helped with the organisation and smooth running of the event this year.
The Not So Great
Confusion abounded on all three days with handing out VQ tickets to GP people. GP holders with the early entry should not have to stand arguing to get VQ tickets. This happened with Momoa on Friday, Momoa on Saturday and Ecclestone on Sunday.
Some of photo shoot queues were very badly organised and presented a real issue to many getting to lifts in the first floor in the atrium and around the first floor of venue in general. Sunday was extremely bad for this around booths F and G.
The lack of seating and places to relax meant many were using the first floor as a place to sit around the atrium balcony. This contributed to the pinch points for foot traffic around booths F &G considerably. It would be so helpful to have an Extra Help room (say one of the smaller rooms such as Pillar) which there were seats and a quiet space to decompress.
The Goody Bag voucher snafu. Given the cost of the GP, a goody bag could have been included – a good lanyard, copy of the convention brochure, bottle of water etc., an LFCC pen.
Some poor signage – particularly where to get the items included with the DPs had no signs at all!
Confusion and mixed messages about the extra help queuing, entry times etc.
Not selling Diamond Passes on the Sales Desk – or having clear signage that DPs were not available through the sales desk. This caused a lot of distress after announcing David Tennant, both for people queuing and for the brave staff on the Sales Desk.
Isolated / confused communications between the crew resulted in mixed / contradictory messages being given to attendees. This was most evident in some of the VQ/DP auto lines.
Peter Weller charging for quotes. I have discussed this elsewhere. It is not acceptable springing with additional costs at the signing table in front of the guest. I would welcome a statement from Showmasters on this practice going forward for future events.
The Lanyards provided this year were, to be blunt, very poor. They were also quite dangerous, as they had no stress-break buckle on them, which would release if the Lanyard caught on something.
Is there no way Extra Help could be nearer the lifts for those needing them to access the first floor? I appreciate this is a logistic and practical venue problem and that SM do their level best with the layout given the constraints of the venue layout, entrances and crowd management.
Getting the word out the floor crew especially the blue shirts operating the front lines – could you use a private Kik or Whatsapp group. Almost all the crew had mobile phones. In addition, if a crewmember asks a question, the response form the management / office is seen by all, probably saving time on being asked the same thing 20 times over!
Likewise, a Whatsapp broadcast group for all attendees to sign up to. Allows the admin to broadcast messages, such as calling VQ ticket numbers for major guests, guest updates and important messages. It is one way, so you are not hammered with a thousand messages back after every message!
At a cost of around 40p for a fully printed lanyard (with a decent stress-break clip), it does not add much to the overhead on a Diamond Pass.
At each of the busy photo booths, consider a designated Queue Manager who co-ordinates the other crew on that booth – and is equipped with a voice amplifier (or in some cases a bullhorn what goes up to 11!). In addition, the Whatsapp broadcast group would be excellent for calling photo shoots in batch groups to stop everyone milling in the photo area awaiting their batch to be called.
The convention brochure being free to GP holders would be a nice touch.
Next year, have a few convention sponsors – I’m thinking Evian, Lynx, Kleenex and ‘Scholl Gel Inserts’ could be great contenders!
Again, cannot stress enough the fantastic work of the Extra Help Team, the blue and Red shirts crews over the weekend.
Plus, also, the acts of kindness and consideration that the attendees were showing each other. I saw some truly gracious and selfless acts between us conventioneers this year. Helping each other is a great way for everyone to achieve the best experience they can.