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General Admission at Nationals


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GA is generally abused at Nats. People that are members know it's cheaper to go GA if they a) are not entering or b) aren't aircraft modelers looking for a "free" decal sheet to be included. It's all about saving $$ for the vendor room.

Scott said Omaha would not encourage GA "skipping" by not offering 4-day passes. I have long been of the opinion that if walk-up registration is $55, GA should be $15/day as it encourages the membership to register, thus lowering the risk to the sponsoring chapter.

While working the GA desk on Wednesday,  there were a bunch of guys buying the Family 4-day pass for their "cousins"! Was I supposed to confront them to prove relations? People saw a way to save $20 and abused it, IMO. (I'm pretty sure they weren't all related)

I think we need to have a serious discussion about this topic for the future shows. GA shouldn't be ended, but "regulated" by the Society. 

Note: I started a new topic, moving it from the moving models topic.

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Always a tricky issue.
 

I believe a discussion was held on this forum years ago about how other organizations (I believe the popular one at the time was the AMA) charge much more (as in half again the member cost) for non-members to attend their annual convention, but the counter was that IPMS wants to encourage non-members to come it, look around, and see what we're about.

If memory serves, we didn't do "Family Passes" in 2016.  We did offer a 4-day pass, though, and it was slightly more than paying a registration.  We used the goody bag as incentive to pay the registration--you save $5 or $10, and you get a pin, a decal, and (IIRC) coupons for special deals with various vendors.

Cheers!
Ralph 

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Back in the day, 99-ish, the committee for the 2000 Dallas convention discussed limiting the attendance on Wednesday to registered members only.  It was felt that day-tripping non-members, those who blame and defame IPMS, were accessing the show and shopping at the vendors to the possible detriment of the paid members. This was seen as a perq for members to and an incentive non-members to join and register.

Oh No!  We're not showing who we are and what we do!  On Wednesday afternoon only, all were free to attend on Thursday/Friday/Saturday?   

Oh No!  The vendors will miss a half day of sales!   No, the registered members will still be there with their open wallets.

Due to pushback, largely from outside of the organization, Members-only Wednesday didn't happen.

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12 hours ago, EFGrune said:

Due to pushback, largely from outside of the organization, Members-only Wednesday didn't happen.

I remember that, plus wasn't there something about vendors being upset because Squadron ran a shuttle bus up to Carrollton? 

I would be in favor of a members-only Wednesday AND only a 3 day pass for T-F-S.

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The posts in this thread made interesting reading. Multi day and 'family' passes for non members unfortunately are always open to abuse.

At IPMS UK SMW Telford I believe that non members are charged per person per day to get into the show so access abuse is not really so much of an issue, but they do however also have the option of joining the society on the day. 

IPMS UK members of course have access on both days as part of their membership. The other thing that happens is that on each day members get access to the halls one hour before non members so that they can get to their favourite traders early.

The other thing is that at Telford IPMS runs a swap meet for members to sell off old kits, and this area is not accessible for non members until about half way through each day so members are not competing for kits and other things with the general public each morning.

Edited by noelsmith
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I should remember better, but I think we set out GA price to where 4 days was more than convention registration.  And we did not offer a 4 day pass.  If some one wanted to attend all 4 days on GA tickets, they had to line up every day and pay up.  
 

I agree GA is abused.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe a nuisance fee is a good thing to keep out those that really have no interest, but just happen to be bored and looking for something to do. A fee of a dollar or two is fine. However, bigger fees work against us. I know few people who aren't serious model builders who would come in for more that a couple hours. They definitely wouldn't keep coming back every day.

In 2003, I told a coworker about the convention and he brought his whole family only to be hit with a big fee which he wasn't willing to pay. He was really angry about it. No good will there. If you want to attract people, then let them in. Trying to make a profit on visitors is counter productive.

Dak

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9 hours ago, Dakimbrell said:

I believe a nuisance fee is a good thing to keep out those that really have no interest, but just happen to be bored and looking for something to do. A fee of a dollar or two is fine. However, bigger fees work against us. I know few people who aren't serious model builders who would come in for more that a couple hours. They definitely wouldn't keep coming back every day.

In 2003, I told a coworker about the convention and he brought his whole family only to be hit with a big fee which he wasn't willing to pay. He was really angry about it. No good will there. If you want to attract people, then let them in. Trying to make a profit on visitors is counter productive.

Dak

I agree.  One thing that gets lost is that new folks to the hobby will get turned off if you're going deep into their pockets before they even walk through the door.  And it is often overlooked that you will get money from them sooner or later, either via raffle ticket sales, SWAG purchases (T-shirts, pins, and the like), or indirectly via the vendor tables.  That last one sounds odd, but the better the vendors do, the more likely they are to come back year after year, and the patrons will get that taste for the excitement that the Convention brings and they'll likewise keep coming back.

That's one reason our local show doesn't charge for walk-ins.  Our vendor table rentals cover most of the venue costs, the contest supports itself, and the raffle fills the gap.  As long as we break even on our local show, we're happy.

Cheers!
Ralph

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It is a difficult thing setting an entrance fee that does not sell the society short but also remain attractive.

Dak brought up about a co worker taking his family and finding the entrance fees prohibitive.

Well maybe the answer to this is that adults pay and their kids get in free on a day ticket.

It depends on various things when costing out as small local shows generally have a bit more flexibility than when a large venue is booked and has to funded.

 

 

 

 

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The problem with a “day” ticket is still that many—-like my friend—-would only be there a couple hours and they might also resent paying to see the vendors where they will pay out money.

Dak

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As has been amply explained here, there is no way to make everyone happy with GA.  My policy at the '03 nats was first and foremost, that it was a business intended to make a profit; plain and simple.  As I recall, we made the GA fee as equally fair to everyone as we could.  Making money on the event was, and always should be, the major consideration for the host chapter.  As long as the GA fee is published in advance, everyone can make an informed decision if they want to attend.

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That’s fine for those in the hobby, but transient visitors who could generate goodwill won’t pay premium prices. A high GA fee is the wrong place to make a profit. High fees erase goodwill. 
 

Day

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Rusty has already pointed out that the show has to make a profit. I would surmise that casual transient visitors to the US Nationals would be small in number compared with the number of members and non members who have an interest in the hobby visiting.

You cannot pander to those who who might just wander in off the street for a couple of hours and just give the models a casual glance before leaving and forget what IPMS is upon going out the door  As for worrying about them getting annoyed when they get to vendors because they actually have to pay to buy something?  Er, isn't that the same at any other venue? If you take your kids to a zoo or theme park you don't get the ice creams and souvenir merchandise for nothing either do you?

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People go to the zoo and make a day of it. Non-model builders rarely spend the day at a contest. 

As a model builder, I have twice left a show I was not entered in when I found they wanted me to pay to visit the vendors. 
 

Are you more interested in making a profit or promoting IPMS and model building? Making a profit is fine, but there are better ways to make money than charging a high walk around fee. 
 

Dak

Edited by Dakimbrell
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Dak, I whole heartedly agree that show visitors should not be charged extra over and above the entrance fee to have access to vendors. After all, vendors pay a pitch fee at shows do they not? Extra charging of visitors for access to them is both  counter productive to the show and also detrimental to the vendors who have paid to trade there. I guess either a room of fenced off trader area has to be set up to facilitate this and have to be marshalled.

I am not aware of this practice at any shows over here in the UK and it certainly does not happen at SMW Telford where traditionally traders tables are mixed in with display stands throughout the show. If traders were placed in one area and visitors expected to pay extra to access them, they would kick off considering the fees they pay to trade! In view of this, no kit selling is allowed from under club and special interest group tables. A kit swap (in reality a second hand kit sales area) is run by IPMS at Telford for members to dispose of unwanted kits, books etc. At local model shows  in the UK however, many allow under table sales.

Edited by noelsmith
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The vendors underwrite a significant amount of the costs of the Nationals. Anything that decreases their customer base is bad for their business. It also betrays a lack of gratitude for the support they have given us over the years. If we have to forfeit a few bucks because of a liberal walk-in policy, that would only be fair and smart given the mutually beneficial relationship IPMS USA has enjoyed with the vendors and manufacturers over the past almost 60 years. Nick 

 

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As I said, a nuisance few of a dollar or two is fine, but if the idea is to make a profit from walk ins, then you are doing the event for the wrong reason. 

Dak

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I thought the reason for doing the event was to have fun. When competently managed (and it almost always is), the Nationals have always made a healthy profit for the host chapter and the National Organization. I know this is America, but must we be so predictably mercenary all the time? Nick

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Nick,

If IPMS/USA were to guarantee a set profit to the host chapter, then I'm certain we would all be in it for the "fun".  Maybe it's just my mercenary and capitalistic way of thinking, but I didn't consider it too much "fun" putting our club's and my own personal reputation on the line in '03.  😁🤣😂  It wasn't a terrible time I assure you for those two years, but a guaranteed profit would have sure helped.  Walk up to anyone who worked a nationals for their club and ask them ; "how much "fun" was it?"

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“How could the National Organization “guarantee” a profit? How does any undertaking come with a “guarantee?” But, historically, other than the only one I can think of off hand (due to errors of management ), every National  has turned a profit since my first in 1987. 
 

While I have never run a National, I have run many Regionals. And before you scoff, I did not have the National Organization to indemnify my chapter or me if we took a bath. That is a “guarantee” that no chapter has in place to protect them when putting on any show below the level of a National. Your show might have been out X number of dollars if it flopped, but neither you personally nor your chapter would have been on the hook for any of that loss, given that the National Organization must underwrite any loss at a National, just as the host is obligated to split the profits with the National Organization! So, lectures on the risk to one’s Club’s or one’s own personal treasure and reputation I do not need. I think of it every time I sign a contract with a venue or a trophy manufacturer or a rented table supplier. That signature is my personal “guarantee” that I/we will honor the contract. So when our show flops and the chapter’s money is gone and the hat has been passed, who will legally and ethically have to make up any shortfall? Nick

 

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44 minutes ago, Nick Filippone said:

neither you personally nor your chapter would have been on the hook for any of that loss

Correct.  I speak of the "perceived" view everyone in IPMS/USA takes of the "chairmen" and their chapter, which in your previous statement, lives on to this day of the one chapter whose nationals failed.  I don't hold anyone personally responsible; s**t happens.  My point was, that any chapter and its membership who hosts a national convention takes on a tremendous responsibility for the success of the show, not to mention a boatload of money, which will follow the chapter and it membership for decades if not longer and most of the time it's not very much "fun".   I personally spent the entire conventions sitting in meetings and putting out fires as they arose.  If anything went wrong, I was blamed, and to this day, I accept any and all responsibility for the '03 convention.  It was loooooooooong on work and verrrrrrry short on "fun".

Would I do it again?  Knowing what I do now, I probably would if asked, but a LOT of things would need to be just right before I would take on such a huge responsibility again.

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7 hours ago, Dakimbrell said:

As I said, a nuisance few of a dollar or two is fine, but if the idea is to make a profit from walk ins, then you are doing the event for the wrong reason. 

Dak

You missed my original point.

Modelers are cheap.

These are the guys that moan about the membership being too much for a "crappy magazine" yet are always around when the vendor rooms open. These are the guys who moan the "crappy decal never has anything I want". These are the guys who glom on at your local club meeting,yet never contribute. These are the guys that benefit most from what IPMS does best yet refuse to join except and until they need to be a member to enter the contest, and then complain about the contest being rigged so the same people always win and a large reason we have 50000+ membership numbers and we've never had more than 6000 active members. These are the guys who howl how elitist IPMS is. We, as a society, have bent over backwards to try to get these guys to join for 40 years or more.

If it costs $60 (in advance) for the 4 day pass and $40 for 4 days of GA or $60 for "family pass" guess which one will be bought by those that abuse the society. 

I say the society owes them nothing more than the same deal members gladly pay for.

Edited by jcorley
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1 hour ago, jcorley said:

... a large reason we have 50000+ membership numbers and we've never had more than 6000 active members.

Don't read much into the number of members vs the IPMS membership ID numbers...  I would say a good many were lost, re-issued, etc.  In a recent database file, there are roughly 19500 members listed (going back to Jim Sage at #0) but the IPMS# is at 54200ish.  

Another example, for the first 1000 members listed, the IPMS# goes to 11400....

Eric 

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