So You're Thinking About Hosting a Con...
How to Put on a Beauty and the Beast Convention
Promoting Your Con
you start advertising the con, ask the hotel on what date they can
begin to accept room bookings, how fans should book to ensure they get
into your room block/get your room rate (it’s usually by giving the
name of your convention when booking), if there is any special
telephone number fans should call to book their rooms, and if there’s a
certain hotel staffer to contact if they are having problems booking
Make sure you can give fans a definite date for them to start making their reservations. Usually it’s one year from the convention’s start date. BUT…make sure the hotel’s computer system defines a year the way a normal person defines a year – this isn’t always the case, so you want to ask before you present your hotel information to fans!
At the previous year’s con
at all possible, you or a representative should request time during the
convention from the current year’s convention chair to do a promotional
presentation about your next year’s con. |
If you have a video of the city, bring it. City tourist boards often have short promotional films they can provide to you.
Develop a registration form to pass out. (Find samples from at least the last 10 cons in con history.)
Have “how to” information available for con hotel bookings.
Bring enough registration materials for all attendees.
Bring a receipt book so you can provide receipts to those who give you checks for registration or pay you via Paypal while at the con.
You may already have ideas for add-ons, and even if not finalized, it’s nice to suggest those as possible options to the fans in attendance (i.e., those most likely to come to your con the next year!) to gauge the level of enthusiasm. You needn’t have price information available, but a general idea of possible add-ons just makes the prospect of traveling to the next convention city even more appealing to fans.
Consider further promoting registration at that convention by offering con-week-only discounted registration and/or prize drawings for those who register during that con. You want to do this because you will be required by the hotel to pay your contracted catering or other costs incrementally throughout the year (hopefully you have negotiated payment this way). Early registration will provide you with enough to cover much if not all of what you owe to the hotel pre-con. [You will still likely end up laying out funds which you hope to recoup at the con or in the year until your con through additional registrations, pre-sales of merchandise, and other fund-raising activities.]
You will get a significant portion of your convention registrations at the con the year before yours. That’s why it’s so important to do a presentation, and to be ready to take registration forms/payments. It’s also a great time to ask for ideas for panels, to ask for volunteers for panel presentations, and to ask fans who usually provide content for each convention if they would do so for yours (e.g., CHSBB for candles and panels, Judy for Beast Bingo, etc.).
Ask the con chairman for his/her mailing list to use to start promoting your convention. Remember that some fans who attend conventions are not on the Yahoo mailing lists OR on Facebook and must be contacted directly, either by e-mail or snail mail.
you’ve announced your convention, start a con-specific list/group
and/or post to Beauty and the Beast mailing lists, Facebook sites,
BatBland, CABB – whatever and wherever you can, to get the word out.
The owners of Batbland.com are almost certainly willing to host pages,
forms, videos, etc., about your convention. Contact J’Ecris. |
It’s become common to set up a FB page specifically for con attendees. It’s worth keeping that group private, only open to fans who have registered for the con, to keep coordination of things of interest only to attendees away from the eyes of others who have no need to know who is rooming with whom, who is signing up for which add-on, who is flying in or out on which day, etc. But some con chairs like to keep their con FB page open, to perhaps draw in fans who didn’t initially plan to attend, and to help drum up enthusiasm and excitement by non-attending fans seeing how much those attending are looking forward to the con.
Winterfest Online (which usually is held during February each year) is a good opportunity for you to promote your con. As WFOL approaches, one of the wintercandlemakers will contact you to ask if you’d like to host a Q&A chat about your con, and for words from you to put on the Passing the Candle page. Look at past years’ WFOLs to see what others have written on that page.
You may also want to put the word out that you would like to display costumes at the con. Several fans own a number of costumes and are willing to bring/send them to display. Ask a previous con chair for referrals. Know that you should pay for shipping the costumes to you and back to the lenders.
a minimum, you will want registration forms to include lines for name,
address or other contact information, food allergies, a place to advise
if this is someone’s first convention, whether they want to pay for a
banquet ticket for someone who is not otherwise registered, and the
name the fan prefers to have on his/her name tag. |
It’s helpful to put YOUR contact information, including address and Paypal email, and the price of registration (including the dates on which registration will rise, if you use a lower registration fee as an inducement to early registrations, which is a very good idea that virtually all con chairs have adopted).
You will want the registration form posted online for those who don’t make it to the previous year’s convention.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Visit batbland.com and see what past con chairs did! Most of the registration forms for the last decade or more are there. Visit the Past Cons link, go to the con you want to see, and then find the link for the con website. Or try this: go to batbland.com\cons\18 (for previous years, change the “18” to the year you want to see).
When accepting Paypal payments, have fans select that it is a “personal” transaction to avoid paying a transaction fee.