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Rejoicing in Reg: The Inside Scoop from the Assistant Registration Manager

Posted August 29, 2011

By Ellen Klowden and Brian Mathews, Assistant Registration Manager

(1) So much more goes into getting everyone's badges orchestrated than I had previously imagined. Could you walk us through what it takes for one person to get a badge, from the moment they decide to pre-reg to the moment they pick it up?

Hi Ellen, thank you for your compliments! I'd be happy to go over all of what it takes for attendees to get their badges. First, the attendee has to have ordered their badge through the website or the mail-in form available on our website. Once we get that information, either online or through the mail, we enter it all into a database, in which we run a program that pastes that information onto the badges attendees receive. We have "reg meetings" every couple of weeks or so, where we print out anywhere from fifty to several hundred of these badges, as well as envelopes for them. We then package the badges onto the letter they come with ourselves, pack them into the envelopes, stamp them, and deliver them to the Post Office. Within a few days, attendees who pre-registered before the deadline will then have received their badges in the mail. If they selected will call, which is the option to pick up your badge at the convention, cull those and sort them before con, so they can be picked up easily.

(2) What led you to select Reg as your department? How long have you been there? What's your title this year, and what tasks does it involve? What other roles have you had in the department?

Registration actually became my department because my friend, who was the Assistant Director of Operations at the time, said that department needed more help, and asked me if I could help out there. After that, I just sort of stuck with my department. This is my third year in Registration, and the second year as the Assistant Registration Manager, whose job it is to answer emails and questions from attendees, assist the Manager with anything he needs done, and help with Registration at con, particularly in tricky situations in which the Reg worker might not know what to do.

(3) If someone is considering being Reg staff next year, what entry-level roles are available, and of whom should they inquire? If someone would rather be a volunteer, what kind of volunteer positions help you with Reg?

Registration pretty much has two types of positions: Pre-Registration and At-Con. Pre-Registration involves checking people in when they have their badges (or want to pick them up at will call), and At-Con involves taking payments for registrations, reviewing the paperwork that they fill out, and giving them paper badges. Both of them are entry-level positions, and we tend to have people alternate between the two depending on need. If we need more Pre-Reg, we'll try to grab some At-Con workers who aren't busy, and put them in Pre-Reg, and vice-versa.

Anyone interested in joining Registration as a staff for next year, you can talk to me, or to my Manager, Brandon De Vore, at one of the General Meetings. If you're hoping to volunteer for this year, if you're looking for a way that helps Reg, check in with the Volunteer Manager, David Reynolds, for a referral to the Maid Squad.

(4) What are some handy tips to help smooth the badge pick-up process, both for those who have pre-reg'd and for those paying at the door?

Excellent question! Here are a few tips that help make the pick-up or check-in process move more smoothly.

  1. Have your photo ID ready by the time you're next in line.
  2. If you have your badge and are just checking in, also have it ready before you're being helped.
  3. If you are paying at the door, please do not wait to fill out your registration form until you are in the front of the line.
  4. Above all, please be patient with us! Remember that we are volunteers and that we are trying to do our best. We want you to enjoy your con just as much as you do, and we are doing everything we can to make sure you get to do so quickly.
  5. If you aren't sure of something before con whether something will work (such as not having a valid form of photo ID, having lost your badge, or anything you might have a question about), do not wait until you are at the front of the line at Registration to ask about it. Instead, please feel free to contact us through the Registration FAQ thread on the Kumoricon forums, or feel free to email us at registration@kumoricon.org, for which I usually am the one to answer, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have before you get to the convention.

Many of the most important details about registration processes may also be found here. Registration, itself, may be found in the garage of the Hilton:

Friday: 3:00pm-10:00pm (pre-registration check-in and pick-up only)
Saturday: 7:00am-7:00pm
Sunday: 7:00am-7:00pm
Monday: 7:00am-12:00noon

Please remember that it can get very hot, both outside on the street and inside the Hilton garage, while you are waiting in line for your badge. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions that you can take proactive steps to avoid:

  1. Drink water. Bring your own, or Maid Squad will have some for you.
  2. Wear sunscreen, for while waiting in line outside.
  3. Consider refraining from cosplaying until after you've picked up your badge, if you might get too warm in your outfit.

(5) Do we have an attendance cap for this year, even with two hotels? If so, what is it, and are we close to maxxing out? Is it important for those buying passes at the door to come early?

We've currently sold about 2800 pre-registrations, and our attendance cap this year is going to be 6000 attendees, so we are just under half the way there. I would never suggest not coming early, because at-con registration is going to be first-come, first-served, and when we're out, we're going to be out. We start selling at-con registration at 7am on Saturday, and I would recommend arriving as close to that time as you possibly can.

(6) What aspect of working for Reg is the most challenging? What would make it better?

One of the most taxing aspects of Registration is really just the time commitment. Registration is definitely one of the more involved departments, since we are working constantly the entire year before Kumoricon starts, and then working long shifts during the convention, as well. I think the solution is very simple: We need more staff working in our department, and then we wouldn't exhaust ourselves nearly as much as we do.

(7) What is your favorite experience you've had working with Reg?

I'm not sure I can pick just one! I've had so many great experiences working in Registration. That's part of why I keep coming back every year. A general favorite of mine has to be when a lot of people do show up for a reg meeting. This is our chance to get to know each other and who all we'll be working with before the convention actually starts, and it's always a ton of fun. We are very, very silly people and will go on about geeky things for hours while we work.

Since that's not an experience at-con, I'm going to cheat and give you two. I love how appreciative some customers and attendees can be once they get through the registration process, and how they'll show us that they are. At one point, we checked in a couple of attendees who were very impressed with how their situation was handled, and had nothing but nice things to say. About two hours later, right when we were closing, they came by with a bunch of pizza boxes, and said they bought them for us, because we looked hungry.

We were hungry. That was such a nice thing for them to do, that they totally did not have to do or weren't pressured towards in any way. It just blows my mind how nice a lot of the attendees can be.