The numbers were just not here for this year and of the attendees that were present, very few made large purchases. There can be many factors in why people in an area don't spend but it does affect the metrics. Compared to other cons we've done, our staff found it very difficult to upsell people even after we tripled the amount of sales and deals we had actively running. We also were not in a great spot, we found that majority of the traffic circled the outside aisles and did not go through the middle aisles where we were located.
Overall the showrunners and staff were very pleasant and helpful, and I've heard that parking and loading was easy and well organized. This doesn't affect our company as we freight our inventory and have it delivered to our booth, and are from out of country so we don't have a vehicle to park. The venue was neat, the convention hall is underground and there is a balcony that you can view the whole vendors hall from. This could be extremely beneficial for you if you are not in one of the tables that is sideways and therefor pretty much invisible.
All in all our experience and more importantly our numbers were pretty disappointing and whether it simply be the attendance in general or specifically due to Covid, it left a poor taste in our mouth and next year we will likely be attending one of the larger cons that coincide with memorial day weekend and not coming back to NC. This convention may be good for locals, but as an out of country vendor we just have too much overhead to justify coming back.
The venue is nice, with lots of parking options. There are also a lot of good restaurants and hotels.
The staff was friendly and attentive!
The crowd was a bit younger, as a result, they are not spending as much on merch
The hours are different to allow for people to leave the dealer's area around 6pm, but still be able to walk around and see artworks till 9pm for Friday and Sat; It was still packed during that time. For all 3 days, it had constant walk through even though the room layout was a bit odd in these large 'pod's that had giant center areas for the artists. It was ok, but wished it was a different layout.
We were positioned up at the front but facing a wall so it wasn't the best location. From who I talked to, it didn't really matter since most people at AZ walk and sell ALL of the artists and vendors. There's really not a lot of them so its not super saturated, which is a good thing. The venue, Raleigh Convention Center, bottom area is broken into 3 large rooms. 1 is AA, 2 is Dealers and 3 is an empty hall used for a rave/stage setup.
We were so busy the entire time and the hours were long that we didn't get to enjoy the con that much or visit any panels. Lots of programming and because the whole con stayed open till 2am, it was awesome to hangout during after hours and nice to see lots of people have fun still. The con seems to have hit it's peak at being around 14-15k, but that's fine with me as they rent every nook and cranny of RCC.
As a local artist, it was great and even if I was traveling far, I would mark this con on my calendar as a vendor.
-Getting my things in and out of the Alley were difficult. The convention center's elevator system was slow, and unorganized. A more accessible loading dock would've been nice.
-Our booth was right next to where they were holding the auctions and classes. The microphone for the classes was set at a reasonable volume. But during the auctions it was difficult to hear customers.
-Check in was simple and fairly quick early on Thursday.
-The artists nearby were amazing! We made tons of friends.
-Sales went well. Customers were generally engaging.