Fan Expo: Letter From The President

Last updated on November 27th, 2011 at 08:04 am

On August 31st this letter was posted to the Fan Expo website and emailed to all subscribers September 2nd.  In the wake of angry fans who waited hours to not only get into the show all three days but to re-enter the show on Saturday Hobby Star is attempting to ease tensions with promises of a larger, smoother show next year.

Dear Fans,

On behalf of the staff of Fan Expo Canada™ I would like  to apologize for the lengthy delays and inconvenience experienced by many at Fan Expo Canada™ this past weekend.  We were, quite simply, inadequately prepared for the increased crowds in a venue that was neither familiar to us nor not capable of meeting our collective demands. We recognize and have heard from many of you that this  was unacceptable and unfair to our loyal fans.

The staff at Fan Expo have been and will continue to read and act upon the concerns communicated by our fans about Fan Expo 2010. In preparation for Fan Expo Canada™ 2011, we have already confirmed a booking of the entire South Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This will be the largest area ever used for our show and its layout is far better suited to the size and nature of our event. We are also committed to the communication of key practices for ticket purchases, show access and other related logistics effectively and well in advance of the 2011 show. In addition, we intend to engage all of the event stakeholders as we work through the planning process including: staff, fans, venue, security, Fire & Emergency Services, Tourism Toronto and the City of Toronto in this process.

We appreciate the continued support of each fan, and are grateful to have fans who are willing to take the time and effort to help improve the “Fan Expo Experience”.  Again we sincerely apologize to the fans that were unable to enjoy the full experience of Fan Expo 2010.  Please know that we welcome your feedback and suggestions for how we can improve the fan experience. Please forward your comments to us at info@hobbystar.com.

Sincerely yours,

Aman Gupta and the Fan Expo Canada Team
President and CEO Hobby Star Marketing, Inc.

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  1. September 3, 2010

    The response would have been a good one, except for a glaring untruth in the statement:

    “We were, quite simply, inadequately prepared for the increased crowds in a venue that was neither familiar to us nor not capable of meeting our collective demands.”

    The venue was not unfamiliar to them. Hobbystar has held several conventions in the North Building over the years. I am puzzled as to why they would make a statement that can be so easily refuted.

    I would argue that the inclusion of such a statement casts doubts on the sincerity of the apology. It could be construed by fans as a flagrant attempt to say anything that will placate angry customers.

  2. Hogie
    September 3, 2010

    Indeed – they’ve had the convention on the North side numerous times before, along with long line-ups with frustrated people.

    It’s been progressively getting worse and worse every year with regards to how they handle the number of people that come through the doors.

  3. September 16, 2010

    Well, I think you have to take into account that he was apologizing for everyone at Hobbystar… James and Aman may remember the North building days but the majority of the STAFF — that is, those of us that are hired by the company to come and specifically work on the show WERE unfamiliar with the logistics of running the show in the North building. I came on board in 2007 (although I had attended some earlier North building shows I’ve never worked behind the scenes on one there) but my job doesn’t involve outside line-ups – it’s a specific task in the show and we were not happy to hear the horror stories either and agree things need to improve. We want people to enjoy the fruits of our labours! New companies were brought in specifically to run the lines and ticketmaster brought in additional workers to run the box office.

    Fan Expo 2005 and Fan Expo 2010 are completely different beasts logistically. One has 30,000 attendees the other had a lot more than twice that number, and having twice that number means a lot of different things logistically and the MTCC and Ticketmaster stepped in to make recommendations to the company on how to handle lines and crowds differently than the way things were handled back in 2005… clearly those recommendations did not work as well as hoped and there were a lot of problems. I’m not standing up for the company — we need to be prepared.

    Thankfully the show is back to the much larger space in the South building in 2011 and hopefully being back in the North alone will never be an issue ever again. The South building brings different challenges and different concerns for the Fire Marshall (last year it was bottle-necking on the 600 level that led to staggered entry). Knowing that was the issue in 2009 the organizers can take that into account for 2011 planning.

    But the company is asking for people who encountered problems to contact them directly and an outside consultant – Audra – has been hired to respond to emails and talk with people about the problems they encountered.

Make It Good.