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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 74361 times)

Henrieke

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #150 on: 04.09.2014, 19:41:33 »

I will keep my feedback short (ha ha) since most things have already been mentioned multiple times, and Karpour will probably

I had such a fantastic con and I am very impressed with how smoothly everything ran. Remembering the first year at the Maritim, this first year at the Estrel really exceeded my expectations!

All things considered, I can only think of very few things that bothered me. Here are my only gripes that I think are worth mentioning:

- The Artist Lounge
It has been mentioned before, but the artist lounge is an extremely important aspect of the con to me. I'm sure there is a good reason why two seperate rooms were used, but I hope a way can be found to find a larger space next year. I loved the idea of one room being open all day, but in reality the real rush was in the evening, and this room was so remote that it wasn't used much during the day. Since in the evening not many panels are being held, would using a room like Paris be an option? Or alternatively, two smaller rooms, but definitely ones that are located next to eachother.
For many of the artists who work in the Dealers' Den at daytime, the evening in the artist lounge is really THE way to meet up with fellow artist to chat and/or exchange drawings. The rooms were crowded way over capacity in the evening (with people sitting on the floor), and I saw many artists stick in their heads around the corner only to leave again because it was too full. The 2nd room on the 3rd floor had additional problems as the windows couldn't be opened so there was barely any oxygen in there, and we had to gather seats and tables from other rooms/floors.
Free coffee like at previous cons is great, but all we really need are a lot of tables and chairs, and some light and air, if possible!

I'm making a big point of this because I can imagine this lounge problem is invisible to most of the non-artists, and the staffers who sadly don't have time to sit down for a sketch exchange.

- Hotel-related issues
These both have been mentioned before as well, but I hope (and I'm positive) that these can be negociated with the hotel. I understand that why multiple room-checks are being done though it also felt like overkill to me. Almost every single time I spent some in the room to rest or wash myself, I had hotel staff randomly open the door an come in without warning, several times at very awkward moments. Just a note for attendees: Use the chain lock at your door to prevent people from coming in if you want your privacy. Judging from how often I had people come in while I was in my room, I can only guess how many times the rooms get checked when I'm not there. On the other hand, on the first two days at the con we did not recieve room service at all. I'm pretty sure this was related with the hotel being overwhelmed by this massive convention at first.
My other gripe is the fact that the staircases were once again closed. We were in luck because for some reason they were open on the first floor (where our room was at) and the garage floor, so we often made use of the stairs. Newer attendees may not be aware but during the first years at the Maritim the staircases were closed as well for as far as I know, so I hope that once again we can convince the hotel to open them up. It would put ease on the elevators for the lower floors of the hotel, at least.
Last thing was more of a personal issue but I wonder if this happened to others as well..? Almost every single time we returned to our room it turned out that our key card wasn't working. It took us a day or two to figure out, but apparantly every single time we held either our phone, SLR or video camera within a few cm from the card, it got wiped. I think that in total we had our room key replaced about 15 times during the con. Luckily the hotel did this very quickly, but it became kind of a nuisance quite fast. Did anyone else have similar issues?

Other than those things, I only really have positive things to say! Here is a list, in no particular order:

Good things!
- I really loved the fursuit photoshoot and the way it was handled this year. Props to Atkelar and his team for doing such a great job on their first year! Nice bonus touches were the fact that you could immediately preview your photos after the shoot, and the nifty little tickets that were printed out to both remind you of your slot and grant you access. (Lo and behold! I did not forget about my slot! GASP!)
- I honestly didn't like the theme when it was first announced, but with all the creative effort the theming was actually tons of fun! I loved the tape pattern game, the cars, the banners, standees, conbook and all the other touches that put the theme together.
- BIG BIG thanks to Wolfy-Nail, Rotarr and Ekorren who spent the majority of Tuesday with helping to construct and paint the lottery booth, despite being attendees. I don't know how to thank you guys!
- The snack exchange was fun and tasty as always, thanks to everyone who brought things from their home countries to make this a success.
- The fursuit lounge was simply fantastic. And thanks for keeping a tiny version of it running during the Dead Dog party, I made good use of it!
- I love the big room the dealers' den is in, it's so nice to have daylight and a little more elbow room! Everything ran smoothly for as far as I could tell.
- Security did a great job as always. This con I only saw people in a positive mood and if there were any issues, they weren't noticable at all. The new outfits are a great way to make you visible, and I swear there must be ten clones of Dhary walking around because I saw him -everywhere-. Thanks for always being there to help.
- Registration was super smooth this year, with barely any waiting lines.
- The con book looks fantastic and super professional! I'm amazed at how it somehow gets better every year.
- I like that there are lots of places in the lobby to sit down and have a chat.
- BBF's segway contraption
- The breakfast buffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttt. While I enjoyed eating cereals while watching EF prime each morning in the previous years, it's so awesome to be able to properly feed myself at the start of the con day. I'm sure eating well plus having unlimited fruit helped to prevent many cases of con crud. I know the buffet normally costs 18 euro per day so I really appreciate this being included. I'm also happy that it ran until almost 11, though I can imagine some of the party-animals missed out on breakfast that way...
- The Daily Eurofurence gets better every year as well. It's one of the things that really makes EF stand out from other cons to me, I love reading it in the morning (or late at night) and have kept a copy of each issue as a keepsake since its start in the Ringberg. It's definitely better than most other free 'newspapers' that are available in the morning!
- Special thanks to the Daily Eurofurence as well for having the guts to publish an article about women at the con, and the problems they face. I know you got some negative feedback on it but please know that it is very much appreciated by many!
- Airhorn Classics
- Con Ops was always friendly and helpful! Special thanks to Darkwing for being so helpful on the forums before the start of the con as well.
- The pawpet team did the impossible and put on a great show.
- All the charity people and especially Itchi and Ray Liehm: You work way too hard!! But it truly paid off, I'm so proud of how much money we raised! Thank you so much to everyone who donated or helped the charity in any other way.
- I only peeked in a bit, but the 80s dance looked really fun! Come back next year!
- The hotel staff was fun and friendly right from the start. Some of the waiters at the restaurant even told me how much they loved the con, and the manager told me she can't wait for next year, either. Thank you for recieving us with open arms and making the event fun for everyone.
- For being a fancy hotel, the restaurant prices weren't bad at all and the margerhita at the Italian was one of the best pizzas I ever had (twice). Tip, if one meal is big and expensive for you, just ask for an extra plate and share!
- I love that there are restaurants in the lobby area, so I can eat without missing out on the con action. I barely left the hotel at all.
- So many good panels this year! Almost too many! Maybe I'll bring back a cartoon art 101 for next year...
- Fursuit charades was super fun!
- The parade was nicer than I expected (I still remember standing still in the staircase for what felt like 20 minutes at the first year in the Maritim), and the brass band was a very nice touch! I hope they return next year!
- I really liked the Art Show this year, it was giant! I spent well over an hour browsing it, I think, and I didn't even check the adult section.
- The fact that the charity was for bats. BATSSSS. I got to pet a real bat. I am happy.
- So many great fursuiters, some doing amazing acting. You really make the con something to behold.
- The last evening where we did a shitty dance circle in the middle of the lobby like a bunch of drunks, despite all being sober.

That's all I can think of for now, though I'm sure there's more. What made the con truly special of course were the friends, old and new, I got to spend time with there. Thank you all for coming, some from very far away, and making it so great. See you next year :)
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BluePaw

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #151 on: 04.09.2014, 20:40:03 »

not many things already said.
but i do have some things still unsaid^^! :P

first topic FOOD: the food needs to be available for longer times.
the kitchens shut down at 2am, and after that it was close to impossible to get food.

and the positives:
the chicken from the BBQ-buffe served in restaurants instead was still the best I've ever tasted, and i told the waitress to tell the chef that as well!^^
the breakfast buffe was really nice! and especially the bacon!^^ the bacon also made a much needed salt intake!^^
and the staff was also awesome, both in terms of food and hotell-wise!^^

other topics:
the other side of the PPS queue, they did get entertainment out there after a while, that they even managed to get water out to anyone that needed it is just amazing.
and with the company of good friends it was still a pretty good time^^
could have needed some more chairs and other sorts of sitting places though!

the piano guy near the reception area evening times were a bit depressing and repetitive. and a lot of off-keys as well.
asked uncle kage how to handle it, and he just said, better to wait till next year and request them to just let him have the week off next year.
that or slip him some money to leave space for someone else for a while (fox amoore!) :P
so we didn't make more fuzz out of it then that. just worth noting to get some more entertaining entertainment :P

the elevators worked way much better at the new hotell compared to maritim!
(at least in wing 4)

now that was all i could come up with to say for now^^
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Bartimaeus

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #152 on: 05.09.2014, 00:10:06 »

Did you know it was possible to take pictures and/or video of the fursuit lounge from above :P
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karpour

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #153 on: 05.09.2014, 00:50:15 »

Here's my feedback :)

Con Ops
Darkwing and everyone else at Conops did one hell of a great job! I bugged them a lot, and even when stressed, they always managed to help me out, both before and at the con, they really deserve a lot of credit for making this con run very smoothly! :)

Fursuit lounge
I'm pretty sure EF has the most amazing fursuit lounge of all cons ever thanks to a really dedicated and hard working team.

Charity
Well, this might be a bit biased as I am part of the charity team, but I'm really happy with how everything went :) Collecting donations was fun as always and I'm really happy we got this amazing spot for the charity lottery booth, it really put the charity in the spotlight of the con. Especially nonfurries who came to see the show got a good first impression, because the first thing they saw when coming in was the big charity booth, making clear that it is an important part of EF!
Also thanks to everyone who worked so hard on setting that thing up (my back still hurts when thinking about it!), namely Itchi, Henrieke, Ekorren, Ray Liehm, Rotarr and Wolfy-Nail :)

Impossible Fursuit Charades
Definitely one of my favorites of this EF! I've been hoping for this event ever since I saw it on a Megaplex livestream, and it was reaaally fun :) Only one little problem was that green text on blue background on the projection screens was very hard to read for the suiters, so next time please make the text really bold with lots of contrast!

Fursuit parade

The fursuit parade was great. Of course beating last year is hard and there were barely any locals watching, but it had a great spirit, and it was soooo big! As many people mentioned, the brass band was a super amazing idea and really created an awesome mood!

Breakfast Buffet
still drooling when I think about it!

Restaurants in the hotel
Super yummy food, very friendly service, prices were ok too :)

Dancefloor
Had lots of fun on the dancefloor again! Of course having the fursuit lounge right next to the dancefloor again also really helped!

Fursuit lounge
You guys really outdid yourselves again this year! I think even the little fursuit lounge at the dead dog party was better than most con's lounges :D

Pawpet show
You put on quite a show again this year! Sadly I got a huge headache so I had to go to my room and stuff myself with painkillers, but I saw most of it on EFPrime :)

Charity bat feeding
Great idea, tickets should've been more expensive though! ;) Totally cute bat!

Fursuit Photoshoot
I must say I was *very* impressed by the whole setup! The printed tickets for the photoshoot looked so professional, the "Berlin" scene was a great idea and the helpers did a great job posing us for some pretty funny photos :)

Furs back to the 80s

Sadly I was waaaay too tired from working all day on charity stuff, but I peeked in and loved it! :) Hopefully this is a thing to stay!

Fursuit friendly Dance
Suuuper awesome! Props to Ace for doing an amazing set, especially after the EF19 Dead Dog Party (aka the best Dead Dog Party I ever experienced). Perfect choice of music for bouncy suiters!

Big Blue Dance
I was *really* looking forward to hearing BBFs set with music from all previous sets, sadly that did not happen. The replacement DJ however also did a great job and I had some fun on the dancefloor :)

Art show
What can I say, great as always, simple bidding process, now I just have to make art for it sometime ;)

Dealers Den
Space at last! And lots of natural light too!

Conbook
Great layout, great content :)

Daily Eurofurence
Daily EF is just... wow.. it's amazing how it grew from what was probably a fun experiment to what it is today! I never missed an issue and I also like digging through my old issues :) It really is one of those things that makes EF better, and with EF getting bigger and bigger, there's lots of stuff to write about! Also respect for tackling the women at EF topic, great article!

Registration
Smoothest registration ever! Whatever you did to improve it, it worked, despite the loads of people!

Things to improve

Artist lounge
This was the only thing that really bugged me sadly. At previous EFs, we used to have amazing artist lounges with free drinks for artists even. Please realize that a good part of attendees really like the quiet and homely atmosphere of the artist lounge every night.
Having 2 of them is a really bad idea obviously, and both were too small, a lot of times there was absolutely no free space (and absolutely no fresh air).
At EF19 we finally had a great artist lounge with lots of space, so this was a big step back. Please please please put more priority on this and assign a very spacious room to the artist lounge next year!

Hotel room checks
I really disliked how often people were coming into the room unannounced. One time a guy in a suit knocked and immediatly came in while we were dressing on the bed. Due to the layout of most rooms, you can see everything on the mirror.
Next time we'll use the little chain lock on the door, but I'd appreciate giving me a second at least to reply.

Room Windows
I doubt this will ever change, but in the Maritim and the Ringberg we could open windows, which is a blessing for people with dust mite allergy, where airflow really makes things easier (No, having an AC helps nothing). For some reason the lock on the window in our room was broken so I left it open a few times, until a few panicked hotel employees noticed and hurried to our room, fearing I would jump out or something.
Obviously the windows are locked by the hotel so they can save some € on insurance, but it would be super nice to be able to open them!

Parking garage
Removing the ticket machines in the parking garage on the day everyone leaves was not exactly a brilliant idea, but I will just assume the hotel learned from it. They wanted to charge me 4€ because I was over an hour, but after some discussion they dropped it as obviously I only was over an hour because I had to wait in an awful long line of people with the same issue.


Ideas for next EF

Closing ceremonies
It would be nice to have a short closing ceremony again!

Disco Ball
Of course there were reasons there was no disco ball this EF, but if possible by any means, a disco ball would be amazing again!

Change seating in the lobby
If possible, maybe create a wider corridor to walk through when going from the convention center past the Atrium bar to the entrance

-----------------------------

After all, it was once again an amazing EF with loads of great memories and some new friends :) This has been my 8th EF, and thinking about every single of them gives me goosebumps, from all the amazing memories!
Thanks to everyone who makes this possible and see you next year!
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Akulatraxas

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #154 on: 05.09.2014, 03:27:19 »

Quote
Please please please put more priority on this and assign a very spacious room to the artist lounge next year!

Iam very sorry about that but we simply dont have / had. Nizza was the biggest Room available. (Second largest after Paris which cant be blocked every evening) so we came up with 2 lounges. I will stick to this plan if the Room situation stays as it is.

@Henrieke
The reason for this rooms: I wanted to try a "24/7 open Lounge" but knew that the room is to small in the evening. But closing the smaller room in the evening when the bigger one opens does not makes sense at all. So it just stays open. And in the times i visited both rooms where used / full.
« Last Edit: 05.09.2014, 03:33:02 by Akulatraxas »
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karpour

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #155 on: 05.09.2014, 11:38:16 »

I think sticking to this would be a very bad idea, there have been lots of issues with the artist lounge(s). Of course the lounges were used because there was simply no other place to draw, but often they were way too crowded. Also keep in mind that EF will continue to grow, so what has been packed this time will become even more packed next year.
I can't do much except urging you to not just ignore this issue.
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Cairyn

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #156 on: 05.09.2014, 12:06:54 »

I think sticking to this would be a very bad idea, there have been lots of issues with the artist lounge(s). Of course the lounges were used because there was simply no other place to draw, but often they were way too crowded. Also keep in mind that EF will continue to grow, so what has been packed this time will become even more packed next year.
I can't do much except urging you to not just ignore this issue.

I'm afraid it's not a matter of ignoring the issue, it's a question of what rooms are available at all (and which we will be able to afford), and what purpose we can assign to a room. Between these two factors, we need to find a compromise.

Oh yes, and some groups (like security) also have needs for the location of their rooms, so it's even more complicated.

There is already a huge internal thread probing possibilities for room usage, and it shows that the Estrel caters either to conferences with comparatively small panel rooms in the hotel itself, or to mass events with huge audiences and the appropriate hall size in the ECC. What we need are many rooms in between, which physically don't exist. So we have to make do with what can be implemented.

Clearly, a growing con would give us more room options to operate with. But that is a question of planning that is still in progress. I am pretty sure that better solutions will become available if not next year, then the year after that.
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Akulatraxas

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #157 on: 05.09.2014, 12:11:35 »

The current plan is the best what you an do with the -current- room situation. Any other combination will lead to even less space.
I don't ignore the problem, I really do care about the Artists, but there is just nothing I can do about it right now.
Nizza has ~86m² . The 24/7 open Lounge has ~40m². Combines its more space than last year. (110m²)

Cheetah

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #158 on: 05.09.2014, 12:55:21 »

The current plan is the best what you an do with the -current- room situation. Any other combination will lead to even less space.
I don't ignore the problem, I really do care about the Artists, but there is just nothing I can do about it right now.
Nizza has ~86m² . The 24/7 open Lounge has ~40m². Combines its more space than last year. (110m²)

To be clear, we are going to get more function space next year, but we're in negotiations, and I can't say how much it will be. Please stay tunes. (Aku: You posted some space requirements in the internal forum ... is extra space for the artist lounge already included in that? If no, can you please add it? This would be very helpful.)
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Tinka

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #159 on: 05.09.2014, 15:56:13 »

Now that we're on the subject of space..

Bottlenecks:

There were major bottlenecks throughtout the convention at the Atrium: around the bar and by the fountain/pool? This was mostly due to the way the whole area was closely packed with tables and chairs for the restaurants and bars - leaving only a two-to-three people wide (two fursuiters max. wide) passage for 2000 attendees to move and hangaround. Anyone stopping around here to chat or a take picture of a fursuiter - or a fursuiter posing for a photo - would instantly stop all traffic flow through the whole Atrium. The only other passage being the even narrower corridor next to the Wing2 lifts and Ops...

I assume you have a plan to have a discussion with the hotel to rearrange the Atrium to create a bit more space for traffic - as well as plan for the 'hanging around' areas not to obstruct the traffic flow. I know a lot of people are wishing for more sofas everywhere to sit on - but I'm afraid if these are placed too close to passages and doors they will gather furballs who will then block everything. I know hanging around is important but so is getting to events in time.

Hopefully next year we'll have plenty of space and even perhaps a bar at the widely spaced conference center side where there is room galore >:3

Open Stage for impromtu live performances and fureoke:

I would have to say that fureoke was my favourite thing of EF20 (if it wasn't for the magnificent and moving PPS ^^'). The open stage was well placed but could've been even better as 360-degree stage with the extra fake wall removed. I know it was for lighting effects and projection but these could be achieved by suspending a separate screen in the air - visible from one side of the stage - while leaving the stage itself and the performers visible from anywhere in the Estrel Saal passage/foyer... Just an idea ^^'

PS: you wouldn't want to invite silverfox5231 to see the pawpetshow >:P http://ask.fm/Silverfox5213/answer/117999764926
« Last Edit: 05.09.2014, 21:30:47 by Tinka »
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Akulatraxas

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #160 on: 05.09.2014, 16:58:53 »

To be clear, we are going to get more function space next year, but we're in negotiations, and I can't say how much it will be. Please stay tunes. (Aku: You posted some space requirements in the internal forum ... is extra space for the artist lounge already included in that? If no, can you please add it? This would be very helpful.)

It is IF we don't need to reserve the 150qm room for dances. If you tell me the deadline when you need to know this I try to include as much feedback into the estimate of room requirement as possible.

;

And of course, if I speak about the plans its based on the situation we have - If we can improve we will do. But I don't want to build up false hopes :) I just wanted to show that, in my opinion, we did most of the situation. But please, if somebody has a better idea - just tell :)
« Last Edit: 05.09.2014, 17:08:10 by Akulatraxas »
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Reshi

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #161 on: 06.09.2014, 17:42:58 »

Now that I finally have time; I had great time at my very first EF (and first furry con for that matter) ! Pretty much all that I was gonna say has already been said in this thread but I'll point out some highlights of my personal experience.

  • Hotel was great, I liked the size and cheking in and out went out very smoothly with me and a friend (we did check out early in sunday so we got out in only few minutes, but it didn't take more than 5-ish minutes to check in on tuesday at around 4pm)
  • We had food only once at the hotel and it was decently priced and very delicious. And we could go buy our own groceries or grab some McDonalds in only few minutes walk away from the hotel
  • Lifts in wing 4 never had any issues and longest waiting time for us was like 5 minutes (and that only happened like twice, usually we could go up and down very fast even on the busiest hours)
  • Fursuit lounge was amazing, it was first time ever experiencing anything like that ! It made suiting for long periods of time so much easier, huge thanks for the fursuit team
  • PPS was AMAZING as well, too bad we had bad seats (next to the bar so it was bit hard to see to the stage but gladly there were screens right infront of me). As for the delay, I didn't really mind it. We were queueing outside so it got bit chilly but we had our sketchbooks and someone gave us cookies (thank you so much, they were delicious)
  • I loved the dances and had so much fun tho we were really tired after the PPS so we couldn't stay long at the saturday dance (and we needed to leave early next morning). But they were all awesome and can't wait for next year to party hard again
  • Fursuit dance competition was awesome and I had so much fun attending it, even tho I was very nervous and sick before it. I will definetly attend next year as well (and big thanks to Spark Wolf for the dancerfurs meet, I had fun there too)
  • Dealer's Den was nice, roomy and bright, overall very pleasant to visit it
  • Overall my first con experience was great and I wish I could have been able to chat with people there (I'm shy haha)

Can't wait for next year ! ^^

Cookie

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #162 on: 06.09.2014, 18:45:35 »

Just to react to what was said about people entering the rooms.
Only once on the last day we had Room service knocking and carefully pushing the door slightly ajar...but they quickly closed it as soon as i answered "yes?"
When i went to the door, they apologized for disturbing us..as we were on our way out for breakfast anyway, we left the door open fir them yo clean the room.
They didn't bother us at all the other days.

Never had any troubles with the lifts either (wing 2), and most of the time they even were empty when arriving on our floor (6th).
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Blue Raptor

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #163 on: 06.09.2014, 23:08:21 »

Hotel: good.
Surroundings: OK (Not nice, but pretty much everything you needed at the shopping area behind the McD.)
Room (standard Block 2): OK.
Hotel Staff: really good.
Breakfast: really good.
Food: Mostly overpriced, cheap options were OK.
Drinks (Atrium bar): way overpriced, cocktails NOT OK.

For next time:
Stairs: Obviously the fire doors of the stairwells cannot be blocked in a open position as that would defy their purpose. Please try to find out though if it is allowed to install handles on the inside.
Hotel atrium: Pave over that fountain thing. It's ugly anyway. > >

Convention: great.
Fursuit lounge: All the accommodations it needed and lots of space and tables.
Events: great.
Dealers space and artshow: good amounts of space.
Music: Yeay rythm and dancable and growl along stuff and even 80s!
Registration: Smooth.
Security: Flawless, pro, and well recognizable with armband and flags.

Not so great and imo improveworthy points:
Long delays before events, many consecutive "xx more minutes" delays at Pawpet show, thus lots of time wasted waiting in line.
No bags in Dealer's den (Only because of adjacent Art show? Rather annoying.)
Panel rooms and Artist Lounge behind elevators between hotel rooms on floor 3 of a hotel wing.
Chaos at fursuit group photo. (When is it now? Where exactly in the lobby? Just following the others. Was it taken now? Everyone is leaving, so I guess so. Did anyone realize when it was taken? Noone I asked did. A small count-down would have been nice.)
Total hotel chaos at checkout on Monday. Will be better next time.
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Rah, I say.

Codewolf

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Re: EF20 feedback
« Reply #164 on: 07.09.2014, 01:35:19 »

Chaos at fursuit group photo. (When is it now? Where exactly in the lobby? Just following the others. Was it taken now? Everyone is leaving, so I guess so. Did anyone realize when it was taken? Noone I asked did. A small count-down would have been nice.)
apologies for this, the megaphone was bust and only did siren, admittedly whilst i have a very loud voice it only carries so far and fursuit heads dramatically decrease the range :)
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