Regarding Anime Boston 2016
We understand that our attendees, vendors and partners have both questions and complaints concerning the lines at the Hynes Convention Center throughout the weekend. We have also received questions concerning the lines at the Sheraton on Friday when registering and/or picking up a badge for Anime Boston. We would like to try and address as many of these as we can.
Registration on Friday
A full test of the registration system on Thursday night by our third-party vendor revealed a critical flaw in the registration system. Anime Boston, as well as our registration vendor, spent the night trying to repair the bug. The efforts to resolve this lead to a crash of the whole registration system on Friday morning, causing a roughly 20 minute time period in which we could not process any registrations.
A temporary fix was made, but it caused registration check-in times to nearly triple. A permanent fix went into place on Saturday morning and queue times dramatically reduced from nearly three hours to roughly one hour during peak time.
We realize that we’ve had registration issues in the past in which our attendees had to wait more than eight hours to pick up a badge. We understand that this is not how we would like an attendee’s first impression to be. In light of this, our third-party vendor will be receiving a full debrief on this incident and the overall harm that it had on our attendees.
Sheraton 3rd Floor Entrance on Saturday
We apologize for our partners closing this entrance way on Saturday, between 10:30a to 3p. During this time, only VIPs, staff, Artist Alley members, Panelists, persons with disabilities and Dealers were allowed to use this entrance to the Hynes. All attendees were allowed to use it to exit into the Sheraton.
Our team noticed a fairly large queue forming throughout the morning at this entrance. This line lead to overcrowding. In an effort to cut this overcrowding we decided to limit this entrance. It was later negotiated to allow others through as our Guests of Honor, Artist Alley members, Panelists and Dealers are the people who make Anime Boston what it is.
After peak hours and all queues were under control on the third floor, all attendees were able to use this entrance. Our partners reserved the right to close the door to the above groups at any time in case overcrowding occurred again. Luckily, it did not.
We realize that long time Anime Boston attendees use this entrance as a fast track between the two buildings. We are sorry for the decision to limit this entrance and will work on a detailed plan for its use for Anime Boston 2017.
No Bag Line going slower than the Bag Line
The Hynes Convention Center is fully aware that the No Bag Line was moving much slower than the Bag Line because of the configuration of the metal detectors. While the Bag Line had four metal detectors assigned to it, the No Bag line only had one.
The Hynes was supposed to reconfigure the No Bag Line to have two metal detectors during the middle of the convention. Unfortunately, this did not happen.
The Hynes has taken our feedback and will adjust these queues accordingly next year.
Increased security causing longer, and sometimes outdoor, lines
As we learned in Anime Boston 2014 and 2015, it became clear that we needed a better plan on how we use all entrances and exits to the Hynes Convention Center. Because of this work with our partners, we were able to plan for how these lines would be laid out. A line guide was published online before the convention and on Con Chowdah at con to allow attendees understand where they would have to queue.
Unfortunately, with the late addition on metal detectors, these queues were beyond capacity and forced our attendees to wait outside. This was especially evident during the peak hours of Friday 10:30a to 12:30p and Saturday from 11a to 3:30p.
The lines were caused by:
1) A limited amount of Bag Check personnel on Friday.
2) An increased scrutiny over props and other metal items.
a. Boston Police, in conjunction with the MCCA, requested a greater focus on metal detection days before the convention. While Anime Boston staff were informed of metal detectors earlier, our staff were briefed that metal detection checks would be more of the stadium variety where small items would not trigger the metal detectors. This was not the case when Anime Boston staff arrived on site.
3) An inconsistency when it came to metal detection and prop checks
a. The MCCA and Boston Police Department have handled our prop checks for a number of years now. It was observed by Anime Boston attendees and staff that our security partners at the main Prudential Center entrance were overzealous with certain props while other prop check locations were not.
To alleviate these issues, Anime Boston staff negotiated the following on Friday:
1) Open the Hynes Convention Center at 6:30 a.m., rather than its standard 8:00 a.m.
2) Open up an Emergency Egress off Dalton St. for a limited time on Saturday.
3) Double the amount of security staff available for bag checks.
Once the Dalton St. entrance was opened, Anime Boston staff monitored these changes in person and published updates via its social media channels. These moves reduced queue times from more than one hour to a more reasonable 10 to 15 minutes.
The Dalton St. entrance was closed once there was no line outside. Anime Boston staff were only informed after it was closed. We’ll strive to better work with Hynes staff so we can make an announcement via social media on when the entrance is opened and closed.
In the future, Anime Boston staff plan to:
1) Increase our partnership with the Prudential Mall, the Sheraton Boston, Hynes Convention Center and Boston Police Department. Most of these issues may have been easily resolved if all four parties met repeatedly during the year, rather than having to meet on the fly.
2) Be more proactive in letting our attendees know about our average queue times to get into the Hynes. Please follow @ABQueues on Twitter before Anime Boston 2017.
3) Review ingress/egress routes at the Hynes Convention Center to not only keep our attendees safe, but also ensure that people can easily move in and out of the building
4) Work with the Hynes Convention Center to keep the Dalton St. entrance open for longer on both Friday and Saturday
5) Brief MCCA and BPD security on acceptable/not-acceptable props and/or have Anime Boston staff at prop check to assist our attendees get their props through the security check.
6) Better plan for attendees with disabilities. While Anime Boston does have a disability sticker program at Registration, we need to work with our partners to ensure that these people do not have to wait in long queues which may endanger their health.
We volunteers and staff for Anime Boston truly want everyone to enjoy the convention. To hear that we fell short in some areas is a disappointment and we are striving to improve our systems to make sure your Anime Boston experience can be better.
Please post in this thread for feedback:
The Great Feedback Post of Anime Boston 2016
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Anime Boston 2016 Executive Team