How To Treat Guests

At most conventions, particularly conventions that don't have a well established following and regional influence, the few key guests you bring are important to maximizing your attendance numbers. Remembering that your convention's guests are people who are, essentially, working for your convention for three days in a row. Treating them well is more important than you might expect, and also needs more attention than some organizers remember to give.

  • Remember, it costs money. Your guests of honor may be the biggest anime fans in the world and super famous stars. But that doesn't mean they have tons of money. Many of them get invited to dozens of conventions each year, and if they had to pay for each of them then they'd be losing a lot of money. Plan to cover travel, food, and their hotel room at least.

  • Have someone with your guest. Your guest is going to be in front of hundreds to thousands of fans all weekend, most of the time answering questions or signing autographs. This is probably more exhausting than their day-job! You'll be giving them a break if one of your staff members is on hand to bring water or check their schedule.

  • Don't forget the miscellaneous expenses. Some guests have to take a cab to get to the airport in their hometown. Others might need to order room service, or buy something necessary. Giving your guest a small ($25-50 per day) stipend goes a long way to showing your understanding. If you aren't arranging for and pre-paying for their meals, you'll want to give them even more.

  • Provide a clear schedule. Provide the schedule as far in advance, letting your guest know exactly where you expect them at what times. Any time not covered in this schedule means your guest is free, don't expect them to be working for you 12 hours each day.

  • Pay flight refund insurance. Guests have to cancel sometimes, it's inevitable. Illness, family emergencies, and work opportunities can be common to anyone. Spend the extra money to buy refundable/transferable tickets.

  • Don't expect them to bring money. There may be incidental expenditures, like an extra bag at the airline, that you have not thought of. Always try to be prepared for these, because many guests don't want to bring, and subsequently lose, money or credit cards several states away from home.

Anime Convention Guests at Sogen Con 2009