Comic-Con, Crowds, and Queuing: All Part of the Experience

September 11, 2014Perry Kuklin

Last month, fans flocked to the San Diego Convention Center for Comic-Con International 2014, filling the facility to capacity as well as spilling out into the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter, various hotels and other designated locations. With such a large number of people – over 130,000 making it the largest comic book and pop culture convention in the world – you can expect there were great crowds and many extensive waiting lines throughout the four-day event. But to these enthused attendees, waiting with fellow Comic-Con goers was all a part of the attraction.

crowd control

Why pay to wait?

For Comic-Con, crowd means community. While attendees queued for close-up looks at esteemed artists and collectibles, the possibility to buy limited-edition toys, and the chance to view the weekend’s popular film and television presentations, the real charm came from each attendee’s ability to indulge in a unique community of fandom – a real sense of camaraderie. Many attendees took full advantage of the ability to network. It is the industry’s event of the year to make valuable connections especially for the likes of designers and artists. If it weren’t for the sheer number of people attending the event, those connections would be nonexistent.

Strategic and fun crowd control

Fans traveled from near and far, dressed up in elaborate costumes, and created a unique four-day metropolitan region that could likely be found on the pages of a fantasy or science fiction manuscript. To accommodate these visitors, the event strategically placed venues and attractions around the convention center in a way that provided both crowd control and much-awaited photo opportunities and other activities. This crowd control strategy was the perfect blend of security and entertainment in one, contributing to the overall energy of the show, preventing boredom and ensuring safety.

Crowds, Queues, Culture

Comic-Con goers accept significant crowds and lengthy queues as part of the event’s culture, at times relishing in it as they take advantage of the unique experience. So, while queue managers and crowd control specialists have very important jobs as they aim to keep all attendees and personnel safe, trying to eliminate the queues entirely could quite possibly have a negative effect on the entire event experience. Comic-Con gets people to enthusiastically pay $45 a day to wait in line amongst thousands of other attendees. What can you do to attract customers to your waiting lines?

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