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StarCreator

Suggestion: bring back daily passes

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So I've had this thought on and off and think it really should be considered. For several years now, the only option to attend Otakon has been to purchase a membership that covered the whole weekend, regardless of the number of days you planned to attend. When Otakon took place in the BCC, a space it had clearly outgrown, this made sense for a variety of reasons. Now, though, I think it is holding the show back.

What makes me say this? An Uber driver I had Saturday night.

He was very clearly interested in what was going on, but when he asked what it would cost to attend, I was forced to admit he would have to pay $100 to get in at the door. For someone with only a passing interest, this is clearly a non-starter.

The show having moved to a new venue brings a new set of locals that might not know what the show has to offer for them. Giving them sticker shock right out the gate isn't going to make them interested in attending.

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I think part of the issue there is we aren't buying tickets or passes; we are buying a membership 

As such, a "day pass" isn't an option

I'm also not really seeing how Otakon is "held back" by not doing so; simply because it isn't catering to "passive interest" attendees

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9 minutes ago, AnimeKen said:

I think part of the issue there is we aren't buying tickets or passes; we are buying a membership 

As such, a "day pass" isn't an option

Pretty much this. If we did, we'd have to start paying/charging ticket taxes (which you do not pay for being a member of Otakorp, Inc) and all prices would go up. No one wants  prices to go up. 

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Yeah I think the Day Pass thing is pretty much permanently dead. One idea I saw that might work was to pro-rate the at-door cost based on how late in the con you register. Something like $100 Friday, $80 Saturday, $50 Sunday, for example. But the whole "membership" setup might kill that idea too.

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14 minutes ago, Dostovei Illuminas said:

Yeah I think the Day Pass thing is pretty much permanently dead. One idea I saw that might work was to pro-rate the at-door cost based on how late in the con you register. Something like $100 Friday, $80 Saturday, $50 Sunday, for example. But the whole "membership" setup might kill that idea too.

That'd still be a ticket. The membership covers you as a member of Otakorp inc for a year. I forget what the membership year is, since I think it's different from the fiscal year, but I believe it starts in feb or march (I'm sure Matt can pop in and correct me, lol). Attending Otakon is just part of the membership, not the entire thing, so we can't discount a membership based on amount of time  left in our annual meeting. 

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57 minutes ago, Eimi said:

That'd still be a ticket. The membership covers you as a member of Otakorp inc for a year. I forget what the membership year is, since I think it's different from the fiscal year, but I believe it starts in feb or march (I'm sure Matt can pop in and correct me, lol). Attending Otakon is just part of the membership, not the entire thing, so we can't discount a membership based on amount of time  left in our annual meeting. 

Yeah that's pretty much what I figured.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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To elaborate on the responses (presuming I remember properly from the Otakorp and You panel):

If they had single day passes, the ticket would be subject to 'entertainment tax' (as high as 40%?). Someone would have to foot the bill, and the simplest way would be to tack it on to the cost of attending.

Also, IIRC, the fiscal year is set to start in October.

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So to tie up some lose ends, a daily pass is risky because anything that looks like a ticket and acts like a ticket, will likely be considered a ticket. And at that point we will essentially be subject to both sales tax and entertainment tax on all membership sales, because the membership would also be considered a ticket. Now if it came to it, we could fight that designation in court, but until it was ruled one way or another we'd have to be collecting the tax from everyone along with paying various legal fees and it is generally a mess to avoid.

That being said, as we set up our budget plans for the 2018 fiscal year (it starts Nov. 1st), if we look over all the pro's and con's and decide to go the route where we would move down the path to tickets for Otakon, then we'd have to figure out pricing and would probably incorporate the taxes into the price structure. What exactly would change on the price side is hard to say since we'd be moving to a brand new attendance model.  What gets trickier to account for is that there are a bunch of related expenses that tie into registration and the different types of badges. For example, figuring out different badges, training security and staff, reconfiguring registration setup, figuring out rules on badge transfers and upgrades, determining the inpact on various vendor contracts that have clauses for private vs. ticketed events, and so on.  After that we'd have to doublecheck on how going to tickets was impacted by the corporate bylaws. 

To make the changeover would not be easy, but if we determined that it was something we needed to do it could be done. Also odds are with the effort involved it would be a one-way decision. 

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Please let me know if this is better handled in a different forum or a PM. I post this here because of the Membership/Ticket/Tax/Cost issues discussed above.

 

Suppose someone or a group wanted to donate to Otakon to help alleviate costs. It could be a gift towards memberships, or toward guests, facility fees . . . whatever. The point would be to offer Otakon funds to help keep costs down for others who may be more financially strapped.

1) Could that help keep the membership cost down?

2) How would we do this?

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2 hours ago, Revengel said:

Please let me know if this is better handled in a different forum or a PM. I post this here because of the Membership/Ticket/Tax/Cost issues discussed above.

 

Suppose someone or a group wanted to donate to Otakon to help alleviate costs. It could be a gift towards memberships, or toward guests, facility fees . . . whatever. The point would be to offer Otakon funds to help keep costs down for others who may be more financially strapped.

1) Could that help keep the membership cost down?

2) How would we do this?

Such a nice dream... Good luck with that.

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As a 501c3, Otakorp does accept donations. I'll try to see if I can get more information on how exactly you can donate to us. Until then, if you are interested in making a financial gift to Otakorp, contact us at help.otakon.com.

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I'll second Kim's post on how to donate to Otakorp. Contacting our help desk will get you towards the right people in a better documented fashion. After that you basically would send us a check, and depending on the amount receive a thank you letter from us.

I will add that one of the reasons it is difficult to find out how to donate is that we cannot solicit donations outside of our membership directly without spending a lot of time registering and reporting our efforts to various state agencies, which depending on what state you are talking about includes posting a "donate here" button on our website. 

However, if you got any of the email newsletters that we sent out, towards the bottom of the email there was a link to one way to indirectly donate funds to Otakorp (which helps Otakon).

Other than that, if you want to offset everyone's registration costs by $5, you'd basically need to donate $125,000, by $10 would be twice that, etc. Of course it should be noted that when a donation comes in we may choose to only accept it with the caveat that we get to choose how to spend it. 

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So I'm guessing considering "daily registrations" as "non-membership visitor passes" and continuing to treat the "weekend registrations" as "yearly memberships" wouldn't fly?

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36 minutes ago, MattTheMinion said:

Other than that, if you want to offset everyone's registration costs by $5, you'd basically need to donate $125,000, by $10 would be twice that, etc.

So only a donation of $2,500,000 to offset everyone's registration completely for the year? Any takers?

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58 minutes ago, StarCreator said:

So I'm guessing considering "daily registrations" as "non-membership visitor passes" and continuing to treat the "weekend registrations" as "yearly memberships" wouldn't fly?

If you have to use quotation marks to describe the structure of the membership, then no it will not fly.  Any auditor would look at "Non-member visitors" and see that Otakon was selling tickets and immediately write a bill for the unreported taxable income.  Even though most people treat the badge as a ticket to Otakon, the literature on the website is very clear in telling you that you have paid for an annual membership.

"To clarify: Otakon is the largest annual meeting of Otakorp, Inc. All Otakorp members are invited to attend and participate in our annual meeting. When you pay money to attend Otakon (either through this website or at a booth at Otakon), you are actually paying to become a member of Otakorp for this year. We aren't selling you some unwanted extra membership as part of this process. The Otakorp membership is actually what gets you into Otakon.  Membership in Otakorp is non-refundable and non-transferable."

Otakon Vegas sells single day tickets, but that is because that event was set up from the start to be an entertainment event put forth by Otakorp.  As Matt said up above, to do the same for Otakon would require many of the underlying venue, performer, and security contracts to be rewritten since it would no longer be a private meeting for the members of Otakorp, Inc.

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I'll just point out that anyone using Amazon Smile can set Otakorp as their charity of choice.

You know, if you wanna. For ease of donation.

Just saying. *wink wink*

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2 hours ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

I'll just point out that anyone using Amazon Smile can set Otakorp as their charity of choice.

You know, if you wanna. For ease of donation.

Just saying. *wink wink*

I really need to remember to start using smile instead of regular Amazon, lol. 

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9 minutes ago, Eimi said:

I really need to remember to start using smile instead of regular Amazon, lol. 

Just do what I did, I changed the address in my book marks. That way I go strait to it and never have to think about it again. :D

2 hours ago, LittleHobbit13 said:

I'll just point out that anyone using Amazon Smile can set Otakorp as their charity of choice.

You know, if you wanna. For ease of donation.

Just saying. *wink wink*

 I was skeptical of this but then I ran a query through their donation preferences. It made me say: "Oh my god it's actually listed! *laughter*" Who knew?

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Yeah I've found Amazon is a little sneaky about smile when you go to buy things, but as long as you checkout from a smile.amazon.com page it will apply. 

As for us, we've had it set up for a little over a year now, the problem with getting the word out is tied into the solicitation rules. Amazon doesn't want to get involved either so they make theirs a little more stringent to cover their butts. But Otakorp is an option out there if you look for it.

 

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As far as I know, it is not possible to access "smile" or set up donation settings via the Amazon mobile app, so anyone wishing to have donations made when shopping on mobile devices will have to go to smile.amazon.com in their browser.

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51 minutes ago, Krabstarr said:

As far as I know, it is not possible to access "smile" or set up donation settings via the Amazon mobile app, so anyone wishing to have donations made when shopping on mobile devices will have to go to smile.amazon.com in their browser.

Yup! That is correct. That's why I usually place things in my cart on the phone, but actually order from a computer

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You can use smile.amazon.com from a mobile web browser just fine, and it's perfectly fine using the app to populate your cart before switching to browser for checkout. That's what I usually end up doing.

My computer has been unplugged for a year and a half now.

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I asked this years ago but never did get a reply upon it. Other than paying the membership "entrance/ticket" fee for Otakon, what else does this entitle us to across the year? I am inquiring again because, as they begin to look at tax code reform, it would not be surprising to see an enterprising accountant, tasked with finding creative ways to bump up state revenue, notice not just us, but all similar organizations & draw the "entrance/ticket fee" conclusion based upon comparison to other weekend entertainment events. Just passing it along for consideration to see if more needs to be added/changed to push us farther away from being labeled "a single, taxable 3 day event",  as I am aware of this at least being reviewed in Massachusetts...last thing we need is a hugh bump in membership costs. CA & MA usually work in tandem when laws change + they seem to love being national trend setters.

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18 hours ago, kalyoth said:

I asked this years ago but never did get a reply upon it. Other than paying the membership "entrance/ticket" fee for Otakon, what else does this entitle us to across the year? I am inquiring again because, as they begin to look at tax code reform, it would not be surprising to see an enterprising accountant, tasked with finding creative ways to bump up state revenue, notice not just us, but all similar organizations & draw the "entrance/ticket fee" conclusion based upon comparison to other weekend entertainment events. Just passing it along for consideration to see if more needs to be added/changed to push us farther away from being labeled "a single, taxable 3 day event",  as I am aware of this at least being reviewed in Massachusetts...last thing we need is a hugh bump in membership costs. CA & MA usually work in tandem when laws change + they seem to love being national trend setters.


"In order to attend Otakon you must be a member of Otakorp, Inc. Once a member of Otakorp, Inc., you will also need to register to attend Otakon. This seems complicated but we've set it up so that purchasing a membership automatically sets you up with a convention registration, because only members of Otakorp, Inc. may register to attend Otakon. So you only need to take one step to become a member and register.

Since 2006, we've set it up so that each year you are able to renew your membership. This process makes it easy for you to become a member again and register for the convention. Your member ID (and the associated contact information) will stay with you for all the years you attend Otakon. Renewing your membership will register you for that year's Otakon. Being a member will also grant you access to other benefits as we are able to provide them. " - taken from https://www.otakon.com/help/faq/

The Otakon staff can provide more specific examples, but the "other benefits" in the past have been discounts or public outreach at events like Otakon Vegas, Otakon Matsuri, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and special concerts like the Anisong Matsuri.  Since Otakorp already does do a mix of ticketed events (Vegas) and free public programming (Matsuri events) I don't see how an auditor can single out Otakon as a taxable event under its current structure.

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3 hours ago, DeathJester said:



The Otakon staff can provide more specific examples, but the "other benefits" in the past have been discounts or public outreach at events like Otakon Vegas, Otakon Matsuri, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and special concerts like the Anisong Matsuri.  Since Otakorp already does do a mix of ticketed events (Vegas) and free public programming (Matsuri events) I don't see how an auditor can single out Otakon as a taxable event under its current structure.

That's exactly it -- member contests, discounts (we've done Crunchyroll and others in the past), and the things you list are all ways we provide additional benefits beyond the main "attend Otakon" membership perk.

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On 9/15/2017 at 10:23 AM, DeathJester said:


The Otakon staff can provide more specific examples, but the "other benefits" in the past have been discounts or public outreach at events like Otakon Vegas, Otakon Matsuri, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and special concerts like the Anisong Matsuri.  Since Otakorp already does do a mix of ticketed events (Vegas) and free public programming (Matsuri events) I don't see how an auditor can single out Otakon as a taxable event under its current structure.

Otakon is structured as the annual meeting of Otakorp. Otakorp does call them tickets for Otakon Vegas, and therefore can do single-day tickets and probably does pay Las Vegas and Nevada taxes as such.

I'd add that being a member also got one early access (and the only access to VIP admission, as I recall) to the Otakon Music Festival in 2012. That didn't keep being a thing probably because a) not a lot of people went to it, in part because of the hurricane around that time, but mostly b, that Lantis decided to set up their own thing. That became the Anisong World Tour (which dropped by Otakon Vegas), which became Anisong World Matsuri.

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Many conventions are moving toward this model, where you pay a flat fee for the entire weekend instead of buying a "day pass". Once a convention reaches a certain size, it's virtually impossible to distinguish which badges are legit for a particular day, especially after staff has been on their feet for most of the day and the badges start running together. While going towards an "all-weekend" pass will lose some attendees, the overall benefit (lesser overhead/training because staff is only looking for one badge, happier staff, better communication, etc.) outweighs those cons.

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13 hours ago, Tigress said:

Many conventions are moving toward this model, where you pay a flat fee for the entire weekend instead of buying a "day pass". Once a convention reaches a certain size, it's virtually impossible to distinguish which badges are legit for a particular day, especially after staff has been on their feet for most of the day and the badges start running together. While going towards an "all-weekend" pass will lose some attendees, the overall benefit (lesser overhead/training because staff is only looking for one badge, happier staff, better communication, etc.) outweighs those cons.

It's kind of funny that New York Comic Con just did away with multi-day badges this year and now sell only daily badges. Of course they have their own reasons.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Daniel Perales said:

It's kind of funny that New York Comic Con just did away with multi-day badges this year and now sell only daily badges. Of course they have their own reasons.

Unfortunately, reasons = $$$$$$$$$$$$

Luckily the badges sold relatively slow this year so hopefully they improve the show to enough of a degree to justify paying for more than one day.  It has been an extremely attendee unfriendly convention ever since tickets sold out faster than their guest / activity announcements.

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It's NYC. There are 8 million people there, plus another several million within reasonable access.  Publishing and Entertainment capital, and media thrives there.

They're in no danger whatsoever; their sponsors cover a big chunk of their costs in exchange for access to your eyes and the media's. It's a different model entirely.

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Remember, at commercialized conventions like NYCC it's the other way around. You, the attendee, are the product, not the customer. 

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On 9/18/2017 at 2:30 PM, DeathJester said:

Unfortunately, reasons = $$$$$$$$$$$$

Luckily the badges sold relatively slow this year so hopefully they improve the show to enough of a degree to justify paying for more than one day.  It has been an extremely attendee unfriendly convention ever since tickets sold out faster than their guest / activity announcements.

I'm curious, what makes NYCC so "unfriendly to attendees"? Also, one of the reasons why badges didn't sold just as fast because it's making it harder for scalpers to grab them by the bunch.

 

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16 hours ago, Daniel Perales said:

I'm curious, what makes NYCC so "unfriendly to attendees"? Also, one of the reasons why badges didn't sold just as fast because it's making it harder for scalpers to grab them by the bunch.

The first few years of NYCC were focused on giving the attendees great experiences.  Companies would give out great swag just for showing up, panels were easy to attend, overcrowding issues would get addressed year to year, etc.  Once they hit that critical point where tickets were selling out BEFORE guest and panel announcements then the focus of the organizers switched to squeezing out the most value out of the attendees and exhibitors that fit in the Javitts.  As Aux10 said above, the attendee (and their disposable income) became the product.  More upcharges for convention exclusives, more upcharges for panels hosted outside the Javitts, more crowding in exhibitor and artist spaces, no transferring badges if you bought one day and it turns out the thing you want to see is announced for another day, very little in terms of line and crowd management, the list of complaints can go on and on.  The only reason I have tickets for this year is because my wife ordered them during the pre-sale just in case they announced anything good later which is a backwards way of attending a convention.  That is not to say that NYCC has bad content, there are plenty of good things that happen at NYCC to fill out the weekend.  My issue with them is that they intentionally sell tickets to you blind and then once the schedule gets announced its a free-for-all of either camping out lines or paying extra to see just a fraction of that content with no improvements in sight.

Compare that mentality to Otakon where the majority of the show is presented for the attendees enjoyment all under one membership.  You can wait and see what guests or events are happening so you know what kind of value you are getting out of attending the show.  Even a show like PAX which is also run by Reed and has similar crowding and sellout issues spends a lot more resources into making sure that all the attendees are having a good time even if you are camped out on a high demand panel line.

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On 9/20/2017 at 12:43 PM, DeathJester said:

The first few years of NYCC were focused on giving the attendees great experiences.  Companies would give out great swag just for showing up, panels were easy to attend, overcrowding issues would get addressed year to year, etc.  Once they hit that critical point where tickets were selling out BEFORE guest and panel announcements then the focus of the organizers switched to squeezing out the most value out of the attendees and exhibitors that fit in the Javitts.  As Aux10 said above, the attendee (and their disposable income) became the product.  More upcharges for convention exclusives, more upcharges for panels hosted outside the Javitts, more crowding in exhibitor and artist spaces, no transferring badges if you bought one day and it turns out the thing you want to see is announced for another day, very little in terms of line and crowd management, the list of complaints can go on and on.  The only reason I have tickets for this year is because my wife ordered them during the pre-sale just in case they announced anything good later which is a backwards way of attending a convention.  That is not to say that NYCC has bad content, there are plenty of good things that happen at NYCC to fill out the weekend.  My issue with them is that they intentionally sell tickets to you blind and then once the schedule gets announced its a free-for-all of either camping out lines or paying extra to see just a fraction of that content with no improvements in sight.

I understand what you're saying. But in their defense, there was a time when badges were available up to the days of the event. But like you said, once the show became "super-desirable" to attend, scalpers were buying off these badges in bunches and then sell them off at ebay, stubhub, ect with high mark-up and there were enough people who were desperate enough to pay those prices (someone has already offered me $300 for my Saturday badge). 

Once they started the "Fan verification" thing, it curbed the rampant scalping somewhat, but still there are many people who still wants to attend and they can only sell so many badges.

Anyway, I've already went way off-topic, so I will end it, here.

 

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