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a few thoughts about guest relations

Probably the best part about being involved with Anime Detour as its founder, senior staff member, and chairman was being able to kick back with the guests and talk to them about how things were going for them - especially at other conventions. I am proud to say that very few of those other conventions come up to our high standards, thanks largely to geekboyonline for taking our original "you're family" attitude and building on it to reach a peak of unparalleled awesome. One of the things he's been strict about -largely through leading by example, tbqh- was thorough professionalism in handling our guests, which is something you don't always find at anime conventions where guest liaisons* are usually recruited from the ranks of fanboys and fangirls. Let's face it, these people may be well intentioned, but by and large their motivation is fucked. They're focused more on the thrill they're getting from hanging around with bam2 or gohanvox or Monica Rial, etc., than on their responsibilities to the guest.

Those responsibilities are fairly serious. It's the liaison's job to make sure not only that the guest is where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be, but that the guest is also fed, hydrated and rested. The liaison has to play blocker for the guest if need be. The liaison has to make sure any food allergies the guest may have are taken into consideration when it comes time for the convention to feed the guest. It's not at all a job for a gormless fanboy who's all "OMG Greg Ayres! And he's all mine for the whole weekend!"

The good news is that guests talk to each other and are learning to avoid the worst cons. The bad news is that not enough of them are willing to be proactive and insist on the kind of liaison and treatment they really need. If the green room sucks, you need to speak up. If your liaison is worthless, you need to talk to the staff and get one that works. If the entire guest relations department is a yawning void of fail, you need to let the concom know that until it changes you won't be back - and you're going to tell everyone else in the industry. Sometimes people need that 2x4 upside the head.

*I really hate the term "guest wranglers". Wranglers are like cowboys; they work with domesticated animals, and implying your guests are such says volumes about you and your convention.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 15th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
I know the feeling. Sometimes I take what gets done at Convergence and Detour for granted, although just because its above and beyond what other cons do doesn't mean that how they treat their guests is right. ANTON AND PERRIN ARE DA MAN.

On another note, I somewhat dislike the feeling of guests at anime cons verses Convergence. I love convergence because I can actually make friends with the guests and treat them like real people, albite how I treat people (I can goo over anything) I feel there's a barrier at anime cons and I can't get to know people, and that's sad.
Oct. 15th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
That's interesting; my experience (aside from some very small cons like Arcana and Diversicon) has been exactly the reverse, but then again I'm not your typical anime fan. I suspect there may be more distance between guests and members at anime cons since the latter tend to skew a lot younger and exhibit a lot more fanboy/fangirl tendencies than SF fans. Just guessing. geekboyonline and kurai_tsuki may have a better take on this since they go back a lot farther in anime fandom than I do.

Edited at 2009-04-12 02:42 am (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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