Conventional Podcast is a project created by Jarrod Lombardo to learn why and how event organizers create their events. Jarrod has been volunteering and working in the convention industry in a variety of roles at over 15 different conventions since 2001

2019 JoCoCruise Management Q&A

On the last day of the 2019 JoCoCruise (featured in Episode 4 and Episode 5), the show managers held a Q&A open to all attendees and below are my transcribed notes from the meeting. Everything is paraphrased unless in quote marks and attributed to one of the managers by name. Notes added for context as I transcribed them are in [brackets]. Many of these questions are pretty general and the answers are similar to the answers one would get from many different conventions so sharing it here might help some curious folks who haven’t attended a Management Q&A before.

  • How do I become a guest?

    • Email us with samples of your work. We read all emails even if we don’t reply to everything.

  • Session tracks?

    • No tracks mostly so people explore and interact broadly/cross-pollinate between sub-cultures (e.g. musicians and writers). Also, venue size (i.e. theater and meeting room capacity) is the first priority for scheduling where things are.

  • Interesting moments this year?

    • Dealing with the TMBG/rain venue change and everything coming together to make it work. [There was an outdoor concert on land in San Juan, Puerto Rico and near the end of the show but before the headlining band (They Might Be Giants) played, it was rained out and the concert was moved to the main theater on the ship with much difficulty but excellent teamwork.]

  • Can we turn off more lights for the star party?

    • Maritime law won’t allow more lights off than already are already turned off at 2330. [While out at sea, the lights on Deck 11 (the top of the ship) are turned off to make it easier to see the stars.] Also, much of the remaining ambient light comes from the cabin windows so is out of control of the Captain.

  • How much does the ship crew know about SeaMonkeys [JoCoCruise Attendees]?

    • We have lots of contact with HAL [Holland America Line] and they know us well. Lots of crew specially request to work this charter because they enjoy working with our group.

  • How to scale the culture?

    • There will be a size limit but we don’t know what that size limit is. Please fill out the post-cruise survey; we really use that feedback to enhance the cruise year over year.

  • Can environmental impacts be mitigated?

    • We’re not ready to say anything yet, but are trying to figure out what can be done. We are actively working on fuel carbon mitigation and investigating other environmental impacts.

  • 2 cruises a year? One east and one west?

    • Not sure what option will be right if we want/need to grow that much. Please fill out the post-cruise survey.

  • New Orleans Departure?

    • Maybe? Departure cities primarily depend on ship availability and price points

  • How much of a full-time job it is for each of you year round?

    • We 4 have at least 1 call each week, but often more. Just before the cruise all 4 are very busy full time. Probably a total of 4-6 full-time person-years in TheHomeOffice each year.

  • Better accessible seating for land concert?

    • Paul: “I do that. Please tell me how to do it better.” Please fill out the survey.

  • How did the visitor deadline work for TMBG?

    • US Customs regulations require all ship visitors to be off the ship by 23:59.

  • What are the historical attendance counts?

    • 1958 at double occupancy on the 2019 contract.

    • 2104 at double occupancy on the 2020 contract.

    • 1964 actual attendance in 2019

    • We need to meet 80% of the contract to not break the company.

  • 2020 teasers?

    • Rough outlines but we don’t really know specifics yet. Look for “ten-based puns.”

  • D&D Night went really well. Maybe make it a charity event next year?

    • Puerto Rico charity was great. Maybe that [D&D Night] could be another way to raise money. Maybe we’ll set up a foundation in the future, but legally and tax-wise it’s all super-complicated.

  • How to make cruise better for children attending?

    • Chicken and egg problem. Trying to increase content for children, but also don’t want to compromise the overall culture. We worked to increase Club HAL time.

  • Shopping on the ship?

    • Shopping doesn’t really matter for our contract. Casino might affect things long-term since they don’t make much money there. “We under-perform at” Casino, Slots, and Art Gallery. Spa is fine. Bars over-perform.

  • For land concert food, can we pre-purchase food tickets again?

    • Storm: “There were some ‘communication disconnects’ with the venue this year.” We’ll work closer with the Santo Domingo venue. We want to have a ticket system and pre-sale next year.

  • How can SeaMonkeys support show management better?

    • Thank you for all of the Kickstarter and Charity Money. “I don’t know how you could support better.” - JC

    • Word of mouth advertising. Keep helping each other onboard and year round.

    • Paul: “Please do not go naked in the pool!”

Episode 17 - DevOpsDays Vancouver Audio Blog

Episode 16 - Tara Theoharis (GeekyHostess.com)