If you’ve ever been to Dragon*Con in Atlanta, you know that it’s probably one of the best (if not the best) multi-genre, fandom, cultural, everything convention around. With over 30,000 (at least!) in attendance each year, registration is one of the biggest challenges Dragon*Con faces. Fans who purchase their memberships months in advance can wait upwards of 4 hours in line to pick up their badges, which is about the same amount of time that fans purchasing on-the-spot will spend purchasing their badges. And let’s face it: 3-4 hours in line, in September, in Georgia humidity, is not an appealing thought.
However, it looks as though Dragon*Con has taken steps to alleviate the problem, judging by a recently posted announcement on the official website:
Dragon*Con will be using barcodes to speed up the registration process for 2011. Those of you who have purchased your memberships in advance will receive (or have received already) a postcard with a barcode on the mailing label. Please bring that postcard (with the mailing label intact and legible) AND a valid government-issued photo ID with you to the registration area at the convention. That will greatly speed up your (and everyone else’s) registration experience at Dragon*Con 2011. Forgetting to bring the postcard or the valid government-issued ID will slow down your registration process.
For those of you who are paying on-site, you can shorten your time in line as well. Click here and fill out the form, submit it, and it will generate a .pdf file with a QR code that you print and bring to the on site registration area at the convention. This form is not connected to any database, it is merely a utility for printing your own QR code. The QR code will contain all your demographic information, mildly encrypted and base64 encoded. As always you will need to have a valid government-issued photo ID with you as well to complete the on-site registration process.
I’ve had the opportunity in the past to speak with both fans and Dragon*Con staffers who have been frustrated with the delays in registration and genuinely trying to find reasonable solutions to make the experience better for everyone, and it looks as if they are traveling down the right path. We shall see this Labor Day weekend, when celebrities and geeks from around the world take over the streets of downtown Atlanta for the four-day fandom celebration.