DucKon needs your help. If you attended DucKon 21, please tell us about your experience. If you chose not to attend, please tell us why. We are aware that there were numerous problems this year. By giving us your feedback, you not only tell us what is important to you, but you also give us documentation that we can take to the people responsible for the issue.
For those of you that have already sent feedback, you should have already gotten a response. We are reading and responding to each and every piece of feedback as quickly as we can, and we are grateful for the information you are sharing with us. We cannot fix a problem unless we know about it.
Help us make DucKon the kind of convention YOU want to attend year after year.
Yes, We Are Listening
Among the feedback we have received so far have been a lot of comments expressing the belief that no one is listening.
Please trust us, we are listening.
We have made a commitment to read and respond to each piece of feedback individually and quickly. We are also committed to showing each and every one of you that we understand the issues and we are addressing them.
As the DucKon 21 website gives way to the DucKon 22 version, we will continue to post summaries of the feedback that you have given us to date, incorporating that feedback and our responses into the content of our website and social media. We want you to see day-by-day how we are addressing your concerns, and also provide you the opportunity to set us straight any time you see us going in the wrong direction. We promise to listen to every comment and concern and be honest and transparent in our responses and actions.
This is not our convention, it is your convention.
All that said here is a summary of the feedback to date and how we are dealing with the issues.
[Art Show] Programming and Auction in the Art Show is a winner
All of the feedback we have received concerning having the programming and auction actually in the Art Show has been very positive. If that trend continues, we will work on having sufficient space to do it again next year.
[Con Suite] Kudos for the Con Suite
Despite being in a location described as an “airplane hangar”, all of the feedback about Con Suite has been very positive. The assortment of fruit and vegetables was well received. The coolers provided by the hotel for soda worked very well. And people were very pleased to be able to break off from the table top games, run over and grab a snack, and get straight back to their fun. We will do everything we can to maintain this level of Con Suite moving forward. The most succinct summary of the feedback so far has been:
Possibly the best food selection in 30 years of con going. Thank you.
[Hotel] Distances between events
The overwhelming number of comments concerning hotel had to do with the marathon distances between the programming in Gallery Hall and the rest of the convention in either the Golf Wing, the St. Charles Ballroom, or the MegaCenter. Sadly, we had to use the space that we had available sharing the resort with golfers and three other events during the weekend. We know the sprawl of the resort caused a lot of problems, and we are definitely going to look for a much more compact layout for future events.
[Hotel] Major accessibility issues
We are all unhappy that so much of Pheasant Run was unfriendly to our staff and attendees with accessibility and mobility issues. Half of the sleeping rooms required using stairs. Gaming was on a second floor without elevator access, as were the Skyboxes of the MegaCenter. The numerous ramps and odd surfaces and twists and turns of the hallways made navigating the long trek from one end of the property to the other even more difficult. In the future, DucKon will not accept a hotel contract that requires the use of non ADA compliant function space. Further, we will stipulate that a significant majority of our sleeping rooms be accessible to all of our attendees, regardless of any limitations to their mobility. We are drafting convention-wide accessibility guidelines that will be posted to our website as soon as they are completed and approved by the Board.
[Hotel] Sleeping rooms were filthy, noisy, smelly and falling apart
Our Hotel Liaison spent much of his time checking into various sleeping room complaints. Pheasant Run has been made aware of all of the issues of which we have been informed. The condition of many of the sleeping rooms and hallways is simply not acceptable and will not be tolerated moving forward.
[Hotel] Scary elevators are scary
Sadly, the one set of sleeping rooms that had elevator access (the tower) apparently required an iron constitution to make use of them. This goes back to accessibility and will be addressed in all future hotel negotiations.
[Hotel] Checked into a room that was not cleaned after the last guest
The hotel has informed us they are trying to determine how this happened. According to them, when a guest departs the room is labeled as “dirty” and is not available for the Front Desk to check in a new guest until after it is labeled “clean” by Housekeeping. Obviously, that is not the case. We will be monitoring their investigation closely, and this problem will be brought up with any other venue being considered for future DucKons.
[Hotel] Housekeeping issues
People have commented on everything from never receiving housekeeping service to housekeeping barging into rooms without announcing themselves and everything in between. These complaints have been forwarded to Pheasant Run and we hope to receive some feedback soon. Moving forward, this will be addressed with any new venue and in each new contract.
[Hotel] Room key epic failures
Keys were finicky. Keys stopped working randomly. Keys had to be tried multiple times. We have heard it all. While just about everyone has had problems with the key cards over the years, there seemed a much higher instance that usual at this year’s event. We have asked Hotel Engineering to look into it and will keep you all posted.
[Hotel] Lack of signage
We regret that our contract contained very specific verbiage concerning where we could and could not put up signage. We are painfully aware of all of the problems that caused, and we will be addressing it specifically in contracts moving forward. We will require that DucKon be identified in the main lobby or at the check-in desks, as well as appearing on any appropriate hotel signage. We will make certain that we can place our signage kiosks in prominent locations.
[Hotel] Staff was wonderful or terrible, depending who you asked
Feedback concerning the front-line hotel staff is a very mixed bag. Some people had nothing but praises for the bell staff, front desk staff and the fine folks at the various food outlets. Some people had the exact opposite to report. Moving forward, we would ask that as soon as you have any comment or complaint regarding any hotel staff member, let us know. Find the Hotel Liaison, drop a note at Operations, anything you can do to let us know as quickly as possible so we can address any complaints and provide compliments where they are due.
Another positive note among the feedback has been high praises for the hotel-provided youth activities and the exercise room. Comments concerning the pools that were open were generally positive, and only a few of you commented on the lack of hot tub resulting from the Atrium construction. We are taking all of this into account evaluating our options for DucKon 22.
[Marketing] Lack of social media during the convention
There were a few comments regarding the lack of DucKon-provided social media during the convention, especially the lack of response to comments others were making online as they arrived. We dropped the ball. We know we need to be better about monitoring what other people are saying, even when the convention is happening. We know we need to get updates posted as soon as we have them. We will do better in the future.
[Marketing] Why is there no App for that
With more and more people using smart phones, tablets, etc., you have told us that we need to have better downloadable information, especially schedules. We are looking into the best way to provide that information and will update the website as the plan comes together.
[Parties] Split location of parties
The negotiations on where the parties could be located went literally to the last week before the event. The hotel expressed concern about noise complaints no matter where we wanted to put the parties. The hotel also wanted to charge a much larger fee for the removal of beds from party rooms than is the norm at other conventions. We tried to come up with a solution that would work for everyone. When the Skyboxes were offered as an option (no noise complaints possible, no beds to move), we knew that the lack of elevator would be a problem. The alternative area was along the patio and pool in our sleeping block (accessible, space outside), but came with the risk of parties being shut down early if guests complained about noise. In the end, we offered the limited number of Skyboxes to those parties we felt were in the highest risk of generating noise complaints. We explained the pros and cons of each area. And the majority of parties chose to move to the MegaCenter. We know this is not a workable solution moving forward and will address it in any and all future contracts.
[Programming] Some events in the MegaCenter were too loud
There were a lot of A/V issues this year. We are actively recruiting a new Department Head to rebuild that department with a focus on better control over the equipment. And while we like a big space for our Main Stage, something with better acoustics than the MegaCenter is certainly a priority for us.
[Programming] What happened to the Tesla Coils
There was a great deal of confusion as to whether the hotel would allow us to bring back the Tesla Coils. Some people thought they counted as a pyrotechnic display and would thus require special licenses and insurance. There were questions concerning FAA variances required for having them so close to an airport. The hotel had power concerns and space concerns and so on. And by the time we got every concern addressed, there was neither the time nor space for the Tesla Coils this year.
We know how important the Tesla Coils are to DucKon and the convention’s unique flavor. We are doing everything we can to bring them back for DucKon 22 and keep them for future years.
[Programming] Award for Best Purchased or Assembled Costume
This suggestion has been passed on to our Masquerade Coordinator who should address it when the update Masquerade information is made available.
[Programming] Issues with panels and panelists
Feedback in this area has been mixed. Most people view the programming they saw in a positive light. Most of the panelists and program participants got excellent reviews. The few that did not were very specific in nature, and while we will not be naming names, Programming will be given the information and make the determination with the Convention Chair as to whether or not these people need to be invited back.
There were also several comments on certain events being counter-programmed against others. We try to avoid that every year, but it will happen from time to time. When we post the schedule online, something we are going to try to do much earlier this year, it will be a work in progress and you are all welcome to comment on it if you see an issue.
[Programming] Lack of feedback or gripe session at the convention
Some of you pointed out that the feedback/gripe session seems to no longer be a convention staple. While it was not scheduled this year, we made a deliberate decision at con to ask everyone to send us their feedback via email. We needed the documentation when we went back to the hotel to enumerate the complaints and issues. And we want the feedback in a format that we can easily forward to the various departments and staff responsible for area that need improvement. If we receive feedback indicating that an actual, scheduled feedback session at the convention is what our attendees want, then we will schedule one.
[Publications] Dealers and Film room locations missing from the Pocket Program
We will work on having more complete maps available in the future. Publications are always being refined, but there is certain core information we always need to have.