Convention Review - Animazing Convention 2024
~* Date: January 20-21st 2024 ~*~ Status: Exhibitor/Artist *~
~*Located: Savannah GA, USA, Savannah Convention Center*~
~*Booth Cost: $160 ($150+tax)~*~Revenue: $98*~
Note: Sadly I had no cosplay photos and there were no provided maps to represent the venue layout.
Tabling at Animazing this year there is a lot to go over, sadly not a whole lot of good to mention. Day one, Saturday, it started off with no parking control and the vendor area still a dirt mess due to construction. So much so, a dirt mess there were large mud areas no vendor could reasonably park; making any vendor struggle to unload if they even parked close to it. People were leaving little room for other cars and even right in front of where vendors walk through to get to convention, which was still roped off with a chain and a random pole within the ground. Each convention host should be asking for that parking lot to be cleaned up before the event, ask for a better path for vendors and have people doing parking control. Being vendors and artist who pay to sell our wares at the event, we need better quality control when arriving.
Entering into the building it wasn't clear before that the venue was cut in half. Instead of the full space only half the section was rented and it was stuffed full of artist with vendors. You never know just how many artist paid for a booth until you enter, in which the space for artist had rows close together that traffic would easily jam. However, we had space between the booths for movement and setup happily. The attendance was that to be desired compared to the number of artist there. There were rows upon rows of artist in this small space, but the number of shoppers was not large enough to compensate the number of shops. Likely making any of the attendees have an overwhelming feeling of choice and cherry pick very little to prevent over spending, which with the number of artist meant the money was more thinly spread across. Even as I walked around a few times to see what I'd like made me be very selective in nature.
With the little room left in the small Venue, there was no space for groups to hangout or chatter without crowding isle ways or the hall outside. They had round tables with chairs across half of the hallway leading to the venue room with the concessions being within that said narrow hallway, as well a handful of booths there too. Meaning over crowding, more traffic jamming and not friendly for elaborate cosplayers. Usually there is concessions within the venue, but that was cut off from the room and so was the men's bathroom, which made for a farther walk for them. Food in itself was pre-cooked in wrapped bags or boxes, leaving burgers to be a bit tough to eat or fries soggy from moister. I'm unsure as to how or what they couldn't have normal convention center concessions, but it wasn't the most pleasant food for vendors and guests. However, our favorite tea lady with her mugs was there, an ABSOLUTE must have trinket from any convention.
With the little space and long explanation all this could have been MUCH better. Although it would suck, have fewer vendors and artists, leave more room for guest seating and for a few concessions to be inside of the venue instead of in the hallway. That way paid vendors can earn their keep and guest can be within the venue longer, likely leading to more spending. With the isle ways being small for them means they feel rushed to move forward out of the way of others, which as an artist hurts my business for them to really see what I have to offer; as well more congested noise making it harder for communication. In which I did have to constantly raise my voice and lean in to even hear the customer due to this. Let's not forget safety of having more open space encase of emergencies, because all of this jamming could lead to a lot of people hurt. Looking at you AnimeExpo 2023.
Sunday wasn't as different, however who was in charge of the vendor entrance gate was extremely LATE. Arriving at 7:12am we were twelve minutes later than what I assumed was Sunday's opening hours to begin set up, the email only really describing Saturday confusingly. Assuming it was seven am since VIP was at 9:30am, we had got out to head over only for the gate to be down. My Dad called the number on the sign for it to then be told they were going to be fifteen minutes late, okay- about or more forty minutes later they were finally opened. Traveling from the vendor parking finally to the booth would have left just enough time to set up my merchandise. However, some reason the gate was closed soon after a handful of vendors came in leaving the rest to travel a longer route around the building to get inside to set up. This isn't on Animazing completely, since that's on the convention center gate manager, though in criticism having more assertiveness to get that gate open sooner for paying vendors should have happened by the host.
My booth did alright, earning my table's worth on Saturday then another hundred or so on Sunday, but I could have likely done much better if the organization was handled with more care. Especially having to pay $160 for this table at the convention for it's quality.
If any convention host or staff happens to read this, I write these in critique in hopes it helps better the convention. Though I may not understand the inner workings of what happens, these thoughts and criticisms still may help.
| Do I recommend this convention for vendors? |
Unless you can get a discount for your booth or changes happen in organization, not completely. The situation with construction can't be helped, but measures can be taken to cater to the vendors. It's more worth $80-100 than the $160 paying the third party tax making it that price, especially with expected return in investment. Be prepared to pay for your assistant/friend/family if they are helping you, since the table price only came with one badge for the price.
| Do I recommend this convention for attendees? |
I couldn't really say for the events besides what I heard announced. That being cosplay contest, gaming tournament and a Princess party. Food will fill your stomach, but the price doesn't match the quality this time around without the center's concessions. Would have been better to have food trucks if possible or if restaurants could have a booth set up. You'd have a lot for shopping, however not so much hanging out without being in somebody's way.
| Will I be at this convention next year? |
With my limitations currently being held strictly to Savannah, yes. My only hope is that my next year investments would be more worth the cost so that I can grow my business and connect with customers much more easily. Super Star was an amazing example with sad timing of a nearby SCAD event during the time. We need more interactive elements ( Such as Ribbon or stamp collecting as an example ) for attendees along with better events within the convention to keep customers around longer.
~*Check my blog calendar for all up coming conventions I am attending!*~