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Eurofurence 26 — "Welcome to Tortuga"
Estrel Congress Center Berlin
July 28 – August 1, 2021
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Author Topic: EF20 feedback  (Read 77238 times)

Ralesk

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #105 on: 31.08.2014, 23:23:22 »

Panel room finding - Signs could have been better. For panel rooms on wing 3 floor 2 or 3, refer to them by the actual room number (e.g. 30241), don't call them Panel Room 4, etc.

When you did register, they handed you that paper thing, called Con book.
It contains a map and list of the artists in the dealers den and the panels and artists at the art show.
And the hotel map shows the panel rooms with their name AND room number (except the first 3 which only have names).

That's the point though: Maybe you read the con book, but mostly you just have the schedule leaflet with you during the day — there it makes no sense to refer to “Panel Room N”, because that's not an easy thing to search for; however if it said “Room 30241”, you'd know immediately, without having to consult your hash table friendly directions poster that was placed where you'd already know where you're going (the Wing 3 Floor 0 lift lobby), nor look back and forth between the Legend in the pocket schedule and the event you want to head to.  You'll notice that it fits the size constraints of the pocket schedule too.  On the other hand, I do understand that the numbers are quite a mouthful.
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Elfasi

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #106 on: 31.08.2014, 23:36:20 »

So here's my feedback for EF20, divided into hotel stuff first, convention stuff second.

The hotel

The Estrel is a very impressive place, visually and functionally, yet it did prove to be a bit of a mixed bag.  But first, the positive aspects:
  • The rooms were great, great views, really clean and spacious.
  • The available space inside the hotel was impressive, Eurofurence is on a whole new scale now.
  • The breakfast was a remarkable feat on a remarkable scale and they totally nailed it, every day.  I think people lost sight of just what an achievement that was.
  • The staff were friendly, courteous, sometimes even pretty enthusiastic (fursuiting waiters??).
  • That art piece by the riverside <3
  • Whichever restaurant food I tried, I was always satisfied by it.
  • Loads of great seating in the lobby, in particular the couches.  The Maritim never had enough couches.

Alas, there were negatives too, some that EF and Estrel could work on together, some down to Estrel, and some outside anyone's control (but worth mentioning):

  • We have to fix the stairs problem.  Open the stairwells or people will prop them anyway, at greater risk.  Some stairwells even locked you behind alarmed doors at nearly every level, nearly requiring an alarm activation to escape.
  • The walkways between blocks should have been opened.  This would have eased some pressure on the lifts.
  • The hotel is in a pretty rough area.  Okay we can't fix that, but maybe some advice on where NOT to go would reduce risk.
  • The lobby desperately needs de-cluttering. Nice couches, but lose the seating by the bar.
  • Most staff were really professional, friendly, happy, some seemed scared or annoyed, understandable in a first year.  But some were really inconsistent with their service.  Disagreements over where one could get ice, where one could order food, where one could sit.  Taking 40 minutes to charge a drink to my room tab after being forced to, when I told them I had no cash because their cash machine broke, and their initial refusal to accept I had registered a credit card to my room.  Telling people straight up that there's no such thing as a large coke, when the person behind them just ordered one, and what they actually meant is 'we ran out of large glasses.'  That last part was really odd, and kept happening, despite other restaurants in the lobby having no problem finding a large glass.  Did we overload the bar?  Is it that hard to order more glasses?
  • Closing the main bar at 2am on the busiest night of the whole convention?  Yeah the dance floor bar kept open, but really, they must have lost a huge number of potential sales.
  • The hotel should get a decent plushie shop #justsayin
  • The checkout procedure needs work :)
  • Can we get more insect killers down by the riverside?  The sheer number of wasps meant I never went there after the first time.
  • The convention centre space was oddly inaccessible.  Like the huge outdoor area by the Berlin Wall segment, very hard to reach but a great solution to give more outside space to compensate for the hotel area being rough.  Can we improve access to that next year?
  • No swimming pool? :)
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karpour

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #107 on: 01.09.2014, 00:08:48 »

Panel room finding - Signs could have been better. For panel rooms on wing 3 floor 2 or 3, refer to them by the actual room number (e.g. 30241), don't call them Panel Room 4, etc.

When you did register, they handed you that paper thing, called Con book.
It contains a map and list of the artists in the dealers den and the panels and artists at the art show.
And the hotel map shows the panel rooms with their name AND room number (except the first 3 which only have names).

That's the point though: Maybe you read the con book, but mostly you just have the schedule leaflet with you during the day — there it makes no sense to refer to “Panel Room N”, because that's not an easy thing to search for; however if it said “Room 30241”, you'd know immediately, without having to consult your hash table friendly directions poster that was placed where you'd already know where you're going (the Wing 3 Floor 0 lift lobby), nor look back and forth between the Legend in the pocket schedule and the event you want to head to.  You'll notice that it fits the size constraints of the pocket schedule too.  On the other hand, I do understand that the numbers are quite a mouthful.

The pocket schedule had a list of panel room names and their corresponding room numbers printed on it.
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Elfasi

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #108 on: 01.09.2014, 01:12:04 »

Eurofurence has grown by a really huge amount since I last went there in 2011.  Change is necessary but it's not always good.  As I felt nostalgia for the Ringberg in Suhl, I now find myself having nostalgia for the Maritim in Magdeburg.  But when a convention grows, you either keep up or get left behind.  A lot has changed, but I had a great deal of fun this year.  The efforts of the Eurofurence staff and volunteers cannot be overstated.  They put in crazy amounts of work, for no pay, just so we can have fun.  It's something I could never do, would never do, so I am always thankful for staff efforts in every convention I attend.  I think this year however, some of the Eurofurence staff reached breaking point, working too hard for too long, and some things have to change.  I'm sure when that change comes, every support will be given.

The Good

  • It is great to be a part of the biggest furry convention in Europe, with an ever higher profile, to the point major media are starting to notice us.  I feel proud for being a part of it.
  • Despite being in a new hotel, a lot of things did run smoothly and I was impressed many times.
  • For instance registration was fast, the fursuit dance contest ran like clockwork..
  • The new space for the dealer's den is just fantastic.  I hope we keep it next year.
  • The art show, soooooo much space.  Love it.  Although it should probably have a separate door to get in.
  • Sponsor and supersponsor gifts were really nice, something to treasure for a long time.
  • The new dance floor was just perfect.  The available space in and around the dance area, the low ceiling, the lighting, the sound, the dancing poles, the stage area, the bar on the side.  Never has a dance floor been this good since the Ringberg.  If we don't keep it I'll cry.
  • Another great charity, glad we did so well for them <3 .
  • All the panels and panel rooms were great that I saw.
  • Really great Motorfurs meet, huge attendance, perfect space, perfect weather.
  • Fursuit parade was lovely, who's idea was the brass band at the front??  Loved it!
  • EF staff by and large very friendly and professional.
  • Theme was fun, lots of props scattered around and a nice game with all the taped outlines.
  • Fire pit, OMFG YES
  • International snack exchange, fantastic.  I'd love to see Eurofurence promote this one a bit more, it really speaks to the heart of the international nature of the convention I think.
  • Guests of honour - All wonderful, and some of them were real troopers indeed.  In particular Sardyuon, along with being an immensely talented performer, was seen out on the dance floor pretty much all night, most nights
  • The Daily Eurofurence, awesome as always.  I wish Confuzzled would do one!
  • EF Prime, great as always, and the twitter link was great fun.
  • A shame about the Barbecue, but well handled on the aftermath, I enjoyed my plate of meat very much!
  • I was going to write something else here, which I shall probably remember later!  But it was good.

The Bad
  • The Pawpet show.  Year after year I see people break themselves physically and mentally, for what seems nearly the whole year, for what turns out to be an extremely mixed blessing for the convention as a whole.  It's got this gravity that seems to just suck the whole convention in, for good or bad.  I can take or leave the show itself, it's been good, it's been bad, tastes vary, I don't judge that.  But if the start of the show is delayed 2-4 hours, every single year, year after year, can't we just schedule it 4 hours earlier?  It's such a time sink as it is, and with the delays it wipes out the whole Saturday night for nearly everyone.  You're either queuing for it, or waiting to queue, or missing friends who are queuing, or missing friends who are in it.  Let's schedule it earlier, let's not have any other events dependent on the same room after, and let's look at reducing the pain.
  • The fursuit dance contest, while very efficiently held, seemed to end up more quantity over quality.  Packing as many dancers in as possible just made the whole thing feel rushed, even with 3 cancellations, and no room for any dance-offs or encores of winners at the end.  I'd rather see fewer dancers of greater dance length with time for the danceoffs and encores.
  • No restaurant guide or restaurant offers in the con book this year?  There were nice eateries to be found, it'd be great to engage local businesses like before.
  • Back to the fursuit dance contest, the layout needs to be revisited.  Judges on the stage means to 90% of the audience all we get are the fursuiters backs.  The judges need to be opposite to where they were, embedded into the audience.
  • The super/sponsor events were rather.. lacklustre.  The dealers den and art show early access is nice, but unfair to those who can't afford it.  Kyell put on a nice panel but only 3 people including myself attended it, we had too much space.  Convention horror stories, fun but nothing that special.  And the room was much too small.  How about a sponsor buffet?  A meet the guests of honour with drinks in more intimate surroundings?  Something really exclusive, without being too unfair to those who can't afford it.
  • The lack of capacity on the stage due to the unanticipated high attendance meant there was no way seats would be reserved for super/sponsors, all you got was a queue that went in first, but there are so many sponsors, joining the back of that queue once it started moving meant that you'd be seated nowhere near the front.  The main reason I got supersponsor was to not have to worry about all that, so that was a shame, but hard to fix. Maybe next year.
  • Can we replace the piano bar guy with Fox Amoore?
  • The VIP party was a little disappointing to the rest of us, having a pretty kick-arse impromptu DJ set happening by the fursuit lounge, Sardyuon taking part until he was whisked away to be at the VIP party instead.
  • Queuing in general seemed a real clusterfuck this year.  With a cluttered as hell lobby, queues run through there hit massive problems, queues going out the front door meant people were cold.  Queues into the convention centre perhaps?  Also the time where an entire queue was forcibly disbanded, told to come back later, meaning there was no way you could guarantee your spot near the front, was very poorly handled.
  • No closing ceremony?

In closing, Eurofurence was quite difference for me than it ever was, but I love being out in Europe, in Germany, and I loved the journey there (driving all the way from England).  The international crowd at Eurofurence can't be beaten, but Confuzzled is a strong contender now for the kind of memorable experience I crave.  The deciders are ultimately going to be who among my friends goes to which convention, and how convenient each one is to reach.  I will be back!
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Elfasi

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #109 on: 01.09.2014, 01:15:05 »

Oh yes, one last point.  The Eurofurence wall of memories, showing all the places in Germany (and beyond) it has been, with photographs pinned to it, will we see this again?  I wanted to photograph it, but being in the art show space meant this was a complete no-no.  Will photographs of it be made available?  I really liked it!
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Schorse

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #110 on: 01.09.2014, 02:05:48 »

Oh yes, one last point.  The Eurofurence wall of memories, showing all the places in Germany (and beyond) it has been, with photographs pinned to it, will we see this again?  I wanted to photograph it, but being in the art show space meant this was a complete no-no.  Will photographs of it be made available?  I really liked it!

Even when I did not attend most of these early cons (my first was EF14), it's very interesting to see these things from the past.
I've asked Tigerseye about the pawpets from the previous years. Since most of them (at least the main characters) have been saved, it would be awesome to have them displayed in a corner of the art show. :)
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Runo

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #111 on: 01.09.2014, 08:49:58 »

I've asked Tigerseye about the pawpets from the previous years. Since most of them (at least the main characters) have been saved, it would be awesome to have them displayed in a corner of the art show. :)

Do you mean the old folkmanis puppets or the new rod puppets? Because the latter ones are always in use for the show – not necessarily all of them, but decisions on what puppet is used for some background role, etc, are ofen made quite late, so they can't be put away into the art show. Plus all PPS members' cars are so full usually that bringing additional stuff just wouldn't be possible ;)
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Token

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #112 on: 01.09.2014, 12:07:34 »

[…] Stairs locked […] allow triple and higher booking in large rooms […]  extend to 100% […] overflow hotels

I do not want to sound like a broken record. :-) Schorse summed it up nicely: https://forum.eurofurence.org/index.php/topic,5707.msg56484.html#msg56484

And about the amount of rooms reserved for EF: We pay special prices for the rooms because there have been special contracts with the hotel. Renting space costs A LOT, and a rough over-estimation could very well lead to a financial disaster for Eurofurence e.V. and be very well the end of EF. Nobody really expected the 45% increase of attendees after all.

Not only the hotel but the whole area was something new to deal with. This includes restaurants and overflow hotels… which also had no idea what kind of people WE are. :-P It is not that easy to make special contracts with other facilities in this kind of situation. But expect this to improve… if not next year, certainly in the years after that.


[…] Is there any way to request the hotel go to the honor system for breakfast during EF rather than having the Berlin Wall and key card checkpoint?
[…] territorial about their minibar […] We should be able to use the minibar to store our own drinks

Honor system for breakfast? Ofcourse this would work… but then the regular breakfast would have double the price. No offence, but I think your view on things is a bit naive here.

And concerning the minibar: You are wrong, not all hotels allow emptying the minibar and those who do, often charge a fee. Their internal storage-room for minibar-stuff was simply overfilled after so many people requested it. I am sure something can be worked out in the next years. But this was the very first year for us and them!

Personally I think this postulating attitude of yours is almost a bit rude toward the hotel. You never booked a room with explicitly the option 'Have you own fridge there'.
Concerning own fridge-boxes: They did not forbid them per-se! It depends if they pull too much power and the safety labels/certificates of appliances. It was not only 'almost a bit rude' but downright STUPID what some people tried to run in their rooms!

Sometimes I get the feeling some people are really unworldly and have never been to a hotel before. <.<


[…]Main stage[…]
Capacity problems were due to the unexpected growth in attendees. These convetion-halls are *really* expensive and you have to see what you can do with the confee. Of course this will be improved next year… but again, this is not an easy task!

Dealer's den - The layout was a bit odd, and it was hard to find my favorite artists - no map, no big signs with table number and artist on them.
As other said, conbook. It was also available online (here in the forums). But having a printed map at the door would be helpful, that is right. AFAIK this was planned, but I am not sure why it failed. I am sure this will change next year. :-)

Art show - […] signs with artist name […] closed the bid sticker registration over an hour before closing (for no good reason that I could see), which caused the artists and the convention's charity to receive less money because I could not bid on anything. So I hope the person who made that choice so he could do less work at the end of the day, is very proud of himself.
Some artists share their own panels with other artists or have agents setting everything up for them. While every art piece is registered and it is not impossible to create a map, it is, again, quiet a not-so-easy task with all the last-minute changes by some artists etc.
I do not really see the issue with simply taking a walk around and giving every artist and picture a fair chance to impress and enchant you.

Concerning the closing: As one of the "person who made that choice", I am not 'proud' about having less work, I am 'happy' that it went relatively smoothly with only one broken picture-frame (and the picture itself not being harmed) and no massive crowd where anyone panicked or something else happened. Others already gave you a good answer *why* this is done (and had been done the last years).

I am honestly sorry if you failed to bid on something because you decided to register only on the last few minutes before closing. Please try to get your bid-sticker right after visiting the art-show for the first time next year to avoid something similar. And if you are looking for a special artist, ask the art-show reg-desk or even me if you see me around, and I will happily point you to the right panels :-)

Panel room finding - Signs could have been better. For panel rooms on wing 3 floor 2 or 3, refer to them by the actual room number (e.g. 30241), don't call them Panel Room 4, etc.
The small foldable handout did in fact have all the room-numbers for the panelsrooms in the black box on the front page. :-3

Lobby group photo - Location was not clearly communicated, and the tables and chairs really got in the way.
Someone correct me if I am mistaken, but there has not been an 'official' group-photo in the lobby. The group-photo was outside - as stated in the conbook.


So in general, I can only advice everyone to:
Read the Conbook!

:3

Best wishes,
Token
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Suran

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #113 on: 01.09.2014, 12:22:10 »

Lobby group photo - Location was not clearly communicated, and the tables and chairs really got in the way.
Someone correct me if I am mistaken, but there has not been an 'official' group-photo in the lobby. The group-photo was outside - as stated in the conbook.




For the fursuit group photo announced in the con book pretty much all suiters gathered in and before the Fursuit Lounge.
After a lot of waiting and even more confusion everyone was hearded to the lobby.
There was no communication at all.
After 20 minutes or so I actually managed to spot where the photographer was.
On one of bridges crossing the lobby.
There where the bar, serveral plants a great deal of other stuff in the way and I'm sure a lot of suiters can impossibly be seen on the photo.
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Atkelar

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #114 on: 01.09.2014, 13:52:36 »

Lobby group photo - Location was not clearly communicated, and the tables and chairs really got in the way.
Someone correct me if I am mistaken, but there has not been an 'official' group-photo in the lobby. The group-photo was outside - as stated in the conbook.




For the fursuit group photo announced in the con book pretty much all suiters gathered in and before the Fursuit Lounge.
After a lot of waiting and even more confusion everyone was hearded to the lobby.
There was no communication at all.
After 20 minutes or so I actually managed to spot where the photographer was.
On one of bridges crossing the lobby.
There where the bar, serveral plants a great deal of other stuff in the way and I'm sure a lot of suiters can impossibly be seen on the photo.

As with most other mishaps, this one was related to several things coming together at the most unfortunate of times. The idea was to have that fursuit group picture close to the start of the fursuit friendly dance, which seems practical for the suiters... but unfortunately pushed the time to a rather late (and very, very dark) slot. The fact that my megaphone would only go "whee-o-whee-o" and no longer "talky-talky" didn't help with communication either.
And just to clarify: I was up on the service bridge, right under the roof for that picture where all the sound of hundrets of people talking came up and was reflected down again... trust me, I could hear even less of what was going on on the radio than you down there I assume :(
And with the new venue, there was quite a high bit of uncertainty about whether we would even have any of the group pictures at all until the very last moment.
Had we known that the weather was in fact as nice as it was, we would have scheduled that picture outside, same location as the regular group photo. But that still leaves the question of "when"? With the schedule becomming as tight as it was this year, there just is no way of avoiding any overlaps, and I'm not only talking about delays here.

As of now, I'm still working on the post-processing of the fusuit picture. Both of them should be available for public viewing soon.

TL;DR: Sorry for the communication issues... next year will be better.
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SeanC

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #115 on: 01.09.2014, 13:57:25 »

A big downside for me was missing the fursuit group photo.
The time kept getting pushed back and I was constantly hearing rumours of when it would happen, but no solid confirmation. Eventually, about 9:30pm I had to desuit out of exhaustion ( I'd been in suit about 5 hours at that stage, and was already a bit worn out from the parade earlier that day ).
I think the photo eventually happened about 10:30pm, in a crowded lobby where the daylight was long gone.
I think it should have been rescheduled for the next day, and maybe held ( weather permitting ) on the steps outside the hotel where the parade photos were taken.
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Furvan

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #116 on: 01.09.2014, 14:10:07 »

I wonder was not the quite best fursuit group foto done at the arena outside at the fursuit parade so far ?
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Tekumseh

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #117 on: 01.09.2014, 14:19:19 »

Thanks Token, I really felt inclined to write something here, but you put it down much more polite :)

And one more "Team" which does not really get many thanks: the Board of Directors! Thank you for getting us this great venue, for pushing around numbers so long until they somehow fit, for taking the (financial) risk, for holding the team(s) together, for being crazy enough to pull this thing off!

(And for getting us at the DailyEF this fine printer this year, which had good printing quality and was fast and reliable and was available from day 1. And for funding our A3 project - we loved it (and apparently people did as well))
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Codewolf

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #118 on: 01.09.2014, 17:38:15 »

As a response to feedback about queues/queuing I will be posting a topic later tonight regarding this once I return home and have an actual keyboard to type on :)
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Furvan

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #119 on: 01.09.2014, 17:53:54 »

The Good: Very nice new Hotel gives a good feeling...
The Bad: The surrounding of the Hotel is just scary!

The Good: Meet and talk to many good old friends
The Bad: Missed much poeple to meet and talk for new

The Good: Wonderfull PPS, Perfekt Team, Perfekt Show
The Bad: Preparing work for PPS eaten almost my whole Con
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