GottaCon 2014 saw explosive growth from over last year, with approximately 3000 individuals coming through the doors. 2013 saw 1600, meaning our attendance growth was a staggering 88%! Our new venue and hosts (The Victoria Conference Centre, Fairmont Empress and the City of Victoria) were exceptional and their support and assistance with delivery made it a very positive and memorable experience. We can’t even count how many times attendees, exhibitors, guests, sponsors, etc came up to us and commented how great the new venue turned out to be.
Summary of Successes:
Continued increase in attendance (88% increase)
Our volunteer team of over 65 “Wardens” did a fantastic job given the unexpected attendance
Record number of individual events by record number of event coordinators delivered
Video Gaming LAN was hugely successful and will see another increase next year to 250+ BYOC seats. Introduction of our new tournament systems and upgraded stream coverage was well received. LAN functioned at 100% for the entire event.
RPG growth in Pathfinder as well as various other systems was significant
Huge Magic: the Gathering events continue to be an attraction and saw record attendance
GottaCon continues to host the largest miniature based event in western Canada…likely in Canada with 170+ competitive players playing at one time
Board games area saw huge growth and was consistently busy, BG library saw another large increase in use (nearly 300 sign outs) and more freeplay space is once again need to accommodate demand.
Introduction of second track of panels and nearly 3x as many panels was well attended
GottaCon Attendee Ticket and Event (GATE) System continued to successful speed up attendee registration in the face of near double attendee numbers.
Student day was a huge success with over 400 secondary students attending our video game industry panel and unveiling of the student work experience opportunities project through the local video game studios.
GottaCon and VIATeC held the first pre-show media event Friday with the focus on our fantastic local video game studio sponsors.
Expanded management team helped to deliver a smooth event in our most challenging year ever.
Summary of Challenges:
Despite a space increase of nearly 100%, space continues to be a major concern given growth. 2015 will see the addition of 18,000sqft as we take over Crystal Gardens as well. Ticket sale limits will once again be implemented for our 2015 show as we are expecting 4000 to 5000 attendees. We continue to encourage advance ticket purchases.
Opening night lineups were looong but we keep it moving thanks to our fantastic volunteers. 2015 will see a 100% increase in badge registration check-in kiosks will include designated advance ticket holder check-in location in a different area to provide additional benefit for advance ticket holders. We are also going to do our best to open will call for a period of time the Thursday night before the convention opens.
Announcement system was reported to be disruptive and annoying. We are exploring options for 2015 such as an announcement app that attendees can choose to receive and a scheduled convention wide announcement track for major content and emergencies only.
The new venue has a confusing layout and despite our large floor plan posters, attendees had a hard time finding events. We are looking to implement “Ask Me” stations at various locations on the convention floor with signage and volunteers to direct and answer questions. We will also have more area specific floor banners created to help identify key areas from a distance.
Freeplay board game tables were in short supply despite significant expansion. We will be increasing space allocation in 2015.
BYOC attendees had a long haul with their gear. In 2015 we will implement a “porter” system where volunteers will help transport gear with dollies. Also we are considering early check-in and PC setup for BYOC attendees on Friday.
The auction was hugely successful again but the structure of how it is operated needs to be modified to deal with the volume of items and the processing time of sellers and buyers. We are exploring options for 2015.
The food court was hard to find. Unfortunately the space used was the closest available space that was available for use by the Empress for 2014. 2015 will see the food court move to a more accessible and visible location.
Outside food brought in by all levels of stakeholders was noted by GottaCon and venue staff alike. As per our policies and the policies of the venue, outside food is not permitted. We understand this is a change from previous GottaCon events but we have new event partners and we would like everyone to respect the policies in place.
Alcohol brought in by attendees was out of control. As a result 2015 will see mandatory bag checks. Any alcohol found on a person that is unopened will need to be immediately removed from the facility or left at coat check. Any open alcohol will be confiscated, the attendee in possession of it will have their badge revoked and will be removed from the venue for the remainder of the event.
Theft was an issue this year with numerous items going missing from the tournament system area. If by chance you accidently took home one of our Logitech G35 headsets and/or G400s mice we sure would appreciate their safe return…no questions asked.
GottaCon would like to thank all the fantastic volunteers and event coordinators who came out and made the event awesome as well as the amazing sponsors that helped us deliver events with excellent prizes.
Another big thanks to our area managers; BC Gamer, Sol Kauffman, Chris Gensey, Jules Sherred, Lee Guille, Mike Gruber, Glenn Morgan, Paul Puhallo, Kellan Johnson and Wilf Rondeau.
If you have any feedback please send a email to Carson Upton: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for more information on GottaCon 2015, Feb 27 to Mar 1, 2015 coming soon to our website!