Registration Desk and Info Point
Some conventions have different information and registration areas. It is probably best to keep them together, as jugglers will always stray back to the registration point, as it is their first point of contact.
A reg desk during busy periods is no place for someone who hasn't worked on one before. Ideally, someone experienced at the job will be in charge of the desk, arriving early to set everything up, arranging the space, recruiting a team of volunteers they know can handle it, laying out merchandise so it is easy to handle, and so on. The person in charge of reg desk needs to be able to work at reg desk - so this is not a job for someone with other responsibilities that will require them to move around the site a lot.
Things you need…
A well chosen area for the desks. You need plenty of secure space behind the desk for merchandise, cash storage and volunteers. Ideally there will be easy and secure access from the back of the desk to the site office for cashing up. There needs to be a way to secure the stock, passes, tickets and so on when the desk is closed, as well as closing off the desk itself to preserve its state of chaos for the following morning. A nearby toilet is also useful, as is a power point for kettles / toasters. Ideally a member of paid security staff will be in sight of the desk during the hours it is open.
Two separate desks or areas – one for paid-on-day, one for pre-registered.
Welcome packs, passes, show tickets (if applicable), all to hand.
Two lists of pre-registered people. One alphabetical, one numerical. If the jugglers turn up with their number, you can just use the numerical list, ticking them off with a highlighter pen. If not, then you can cross reference them against the alphabetical list.
Volunteers! It's better not to use regular volunteers who sign up for a slot like litter pickers. Reg desk is a responsible job that involves handling a lot of cash. The person in charge of the desk should hand pick the volunteers and work with them to schedule their hours. There are various people around who enjoy sitting behind reg desk all day and are good at it.
A list of instructions for your volunteers.
This should include what they need to give out, how to contact you, and any other relevant information. This could be written down, but you also need to have people pass on the information to the next set of volunteers, via a quick induction.
A till or cash box (plus somewhere to keep larger amounts of money). Also, a list of prices for various different passes.
A radio at registration desk. This is important, as your volunteers will need some way of contacting you. It might be good for the volunteers to have a list of who to contact for different things e.g. show problems are likely to be dealt with by one person, site problems by another.
A list of technical crew, artists and/or guests who should get in for free, and will need instruction once they arrive. Traders are normally handled separately - the traders' co-ordinator can pick up the passes and show tickets for all the traders at once, so there's no need to keep a list of individual traders.
A T-shirt (& other Merchandise) display, with prices. Some people list how many have been sold, and other information. This is admirable, but bear in mind that a great deal of tally charts are forgotten about, then made up. It is important, however, to lay aside any pre-booked T-shirts. If someone has paid for one, and you sell it, they are going to be a bit peeved.
Signs around the site. If you’re running registration, this will probably be your responsibility. Remember to put them in easily visible places, everywhere people might need them.
Usual stationery things – highlighters, paper, pens, scissors, staple guns, drawing pins, sticky tape. If you do not have these, then ask previous convention organisers before you buy them – they inevitably have a large amount of kit from their convention.
Things to bear in mind…
Some previous BJCs registration desks open the night before, for a few hours. This is a good idea. It gives you a chance to test your system, whilst also getting through the people already on site, leaving less work for the morning.
Have set opening and closing times (you are allowed to leave the desk!) and a plan of what to do with people when they arrive during the night. Tell security your plan. This plan may be to give people no passes for the night, or give them the previous day's pass, meaning they have to register first thing in the morning.
Think to yourself, ‘Is this activity really necessary?’ Some BJCs have packaged up registration packs the night before for pre-registered people. This can be a good thing, but could be considered a waste of your volunteers time. Having passes, tickets, etc to hand, in boxes, in the morning is all you need. However, the more passes you have on strings ready for the morning, the better.
A workshop board and other information. This should include a map of the local area, with shops, cash points, food and beer marked on. Also have bus routes and taxi phone numbers written down. A message board is also a good idea. Frequently people ask you, ‘when so-and-so gets here, can you tell them…’. You will inevitably forget. Get them to write it down!
It also helps to have some local information.