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General Admission at Nationals


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All I’m doing is restating my basic position which is if you want to encourage membership, charging them big dollars simply to look is not the way to go. 

I have been dealing with the hangers and non contributors for the past 45 years. I don’t care about them. I want new people who get turned on to something they had never thought about before. Charging them $20 to walk around for an hour is not productive. 
Dak

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Consider this from National Model Railroad Association National Convention:

NMRA Member Full Registration. $ 175.00  
Non-NMRA Member Full Registration. $ 200.00  
Registration is for the full 7 days and includes free admittance to the National Train Show and one self-drive tour.

NMRA Member Two Day Registration  $ 130.00  
Non-NMRA Member Two Day Registration. $ 155.00

NMRA Member One Day Registration. $ 65.00  
Non-NMRA Member One Day Registration. $ 90.00 
  

Partner Registration. $ 65.00  

Youth Registration (Under 18 years of age)  $ 25.00

 

Notice they charge $90 for a non-member to access their vendor room for a single day. I went back in 1995 when it was in Atlanta.  IIRC, 7 days was $75 and a "GA" was $20 or 25. Not even really to trains, but the vendor room was frikkin HUGE!! I got good ideas for dioramas and display bases.

Oh, and BTW, they have something like 18,000 members and don't worry about "offending" non-members by charging them more. They feel their event is worth it, and so do those attending it, members and non-members alike.

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Finding people interested in trains is like finding sand in the desert. Model building at our level is not.

To the general public, we are geeks, and nerds. Few people have a genuine idea of the level of craftsmanship and art we achieve. The only way to change that is to let them see what we do.

Many would see no reason pay high dollar to see stuff that the kids do. Little do they understand it is as different as a little league game and the Super Bowl.

Dak

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How is charging only $2 for walk ins dis-preferring or disrespectful to our members? If they are entering the contest, they have to be members, right? And they have to pay the entry fees, right? Letting a few people in to look at what we do seems desirable to me. That it might encourage people to join IPMS seems very desirable.

Dak

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So, we can have lots of walk-ins at an attractively low price and thus make some money and boost vendor business or punish them for not joining IPMS by raising the walk-in fee to a prohibitively high level and make less money as well as restrict the vendor’s profits. The latter is what my mother used to refer to as ‘ cutting off you nose to spite your face! ‘ Nick

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I have not said to raise them to "a prohibitively high level" (nor lower them to Dak's $2). A $2 GA rate would almost certainly be a loss-leader for the host chapter and possibly see a huge drop in registration numbers as guys think "$60 or $8. Wait, that's an extra $52 for models!!!" A show can go in the red very quickly (we are a non-profit, but even so!)

I suggested a parity rate, and still do, of approximately a quarter of the registration fee for a single day. No "4-day passes" and no self-inflicted rhinoplasty needed. Nobody should be able to exploit the system to get a free ride (or even a $2 ride at a National!!)

If the walk-up registraion rate is $60, make the day pass $15 (and make sure the cashiers have TONS of fives!!), if it's $75, then $20/day isn't excessive IMO. Always round it to the nearest $5, tho to simplify the cashiers jobs and speed up the lines.

IPMS/UK admits any cardholders any national branch free GA admission. Should we do the same on a GA basis? Perhaps, the idea does have merit. To make that happen, the vendors would have to pay significantly more for tables. UK rates (where more tables means ahighercost per table!!) I seem to remember John & Caroline telling me their 5 table booth was £1800 ($2950 @ $1.64/£) or so for two days back in 2008 or 9. How many US vendors would gladly underwrite that expense?

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The Registrants should remember that they ARE getting a lot more for their money. The difference between the walk in fee and the registrants fee covers the cost of the trophies, the contest room tables, the contest room, the tables clothes, the judge’s pins, etc. None of those things are free and if the members want a contest to enter (and experience suggests that they do) then they are going to have to pay for it, like everything else in life. How much cheaper would the National Convention be put on without a contest?  

Personally, I would not bother to attend a Convention with no contest and a vendor room and “display only” tables. I am quite willing to pay for the excitement and possible reward of the contest. Whatever the walk-ins pay is gravy! Nick

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So, you add $5 to the contest admission and $10 to the vendor tables. The vendors will see the return in more sales. 
 

What makes you think hundreds are going to trace to the show and not enter the contest? I attended FOR the contest. The vendors are a nice, secondary, if unknown quantity. They change from year to year and I have rarely found the same ones there EVERY year. For a high walk around fee, I would want a guaranty of certain vendors being there.

Dak

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I, for one, attend every year and rarely enter. I have proved to myself that I can compete and win. When I do enter, it isn't about trophy collecting like so many guys I know.

I know many like me. We register to support the host chapter and the society as we believe there is value in doing so. I don't really care about the pins, t-shirts or hats. I do care about the Society and the brotherhood it offers.

And you propose adding costs to registrants and vendors so the rest can get in for $2?! You and I will not agree on this, DAK, as I don't believe in giving non-members special treatment by subsidizing those who refuse to support the Society at the expense of the membership and supporters. Your continued advocacy for these same non-members suggests (my inference) the opposite.

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I don’t see it as giving non members special treatment. I see it as good PR for the Society. It creates better understanding of what we do.

In 2014, I brought my Dad to the show. While he has seen my work all my life, he was taken aback by what he saw. He said he never understood until then what level we were working at.

PR and goodwill is worth a few dollars. When you charge a high walk around fee, it just makes us look cheap and greedy. 

When I attend, I compete. I enjoy the competition. For me it is sport. I also sponsor and a category awards both on my own and with others. I love the pins and t-shirts. And I regularly write articles for the Journal.

The only people I am an advocate for are those who might end up joining us once they see how things are.

There will always be cheapskates. If they are too cheap to pay a convention entry fee, what makes you think they will pay a high walk around fee? They will also be too cheap to spend much money with the vendors.

You remind me of the guys trying to sell prunes by putting recipes on the box. What they didn’t get was first you have to get people to eat prunes.

Dak

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