Friday, 15 March 2019

Dragonmeet changes for this year

Sometimes the hardest thing about conventions is in the organising of the following year, I recently did a podcast on the building and running of conventions.  The main thing about conventions is to tell people what they can expect at the next convention, what you've improved, and what you're looking at doing to make it better.

Today is Dragonmeet's turn

Last year at Dragonmeet was the largest Dragonmeet ever, and with it, we found that we needed more space again, and so the last three months have been spent negotiating with the Novotel.

Did I say Negotiating...?

The words used may need to be a little stronger than that.

Here's a swift lesson about hotels and convention centres, they don't care about your convention or you, they're strictly in it for the money, and that's how it should be.  This means that you're never going to get a freebie unless it's year one and they're trying to get you in the door so you'll pay them.  It also means that if you want something from them, you have to give them something in return, or be able to point out that they can make something from you.

In our case, thanks to everyone at the convention last year, we could point out that even with slow tills and bad service, they still sold out of food and drink by mid to late afternoon, and that, by itself, is reason enough to want us back. It's also reason enough to get more food and drink in, and to put more tills and better service in, all of which we have agreement on.  What we're now working on is getting the prices to somewhere near reasonable, which is forever a problem with hotels, just ask anyone who's been to the Hilton at Expo.

In terms of extra space, we've got the entire of the mezzanine this year, we've also got the big rooms on the top floor, because the boardrooms were only any good for single games, and when it becomes the equivalent of paying another three hundred quid per extra game you can host, it becomes counter productive.  This means we've got enough space to move more than the entire gaming roster into the rooms on the upper floor and the mezzanine, which frees up more space for open gaming and demonstration games, together with tournaments and a number of other things that we're still finalising.  Don't want to tease, but at the same time, I really don't want to get everyone all excited and then have to let you down, so more on that in months to come.

But one thing I mentioned in the podcast was that we listen, and we're still listening, so I want to know what people want to see at Dragonmeet going forwards.  We've held Larps before, and they did fairly well, so I'm looking to put those on again in the future.  We've had a Podcastzone, and it worked better last year than the year before, so they're coming back.  We've had seminars forever, but the question there is if we need the same seminars, different ones, or just more of either.

We listened about the advance bookings for games, and we have something that's going to help there. We listened about bring and buy times, and as soon as we've negotiated, we should have something that will make it better there as well.

Bookings for traders are going to be going soon, and bookings for games being offered on the day are going to be opened at the same time.  What I'm hoping to do is have a clear list of games and traders on the day, some time before the convention opens, so in a change from previous years, I'm not leaving the bookings open till last minute.  When they close, it's a hard close, no more changes. Harsh, but it'll save us the problems that we've had every year prior with last minute alterations.

All that aside, very excited to show everyone what we're bringing to the Novotel this year, and we've been in discussion with Olympia, so when we outgrow Novotel, Dragonmeet will still have a home in London to go to.

But get those suggestions in, we can't make it the best convention without knowing what everyone wants to see there.

And if anyone wants to know my thoughts on conventions, they're to be found here.