Monster-Mania is a Philadelphia area based Horror Convention that takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ, every March and August. After an 8 year hiatus I decided to given the con another whirl. As a person that is well versed in the con universe with anything from comic-cons, anime-cons and furry-cons; not to mention my experiences in event planning and execution there are a few things I would like to comment on. Please note that these are my own opinions and I am not in any way promoting the con itself or it’s host hotel, nor is this a bash session of the two either.
I was shocked to see how things have changed. For one pulling into the Hotel parking lot was an absolute nightmare. It was so bad that we decided to park in a nearby shopping center and Lyft to the hotel. As the Lyft driver pulled up the hotel there were several ignoramus that blocked people parked in handicapped spots. Wouldn’t they think to have staff in the parking lot directing traffic knowing the volume of attendees? Surely you must know how many tickets you sold and what ratio of them were non-hotel guests coming in for the day.
The Hotel itself was filled to capacity, as I can’t even imagine how many fire codes were violated throughout the weekend. You literally had to push through people to make your way around. There were also people that brought their kids that were still in strollers. This a horror convention, not family fun day! I’m fine with people bringing their kids, but have a no stroller rule.
I believe part of the problem was having so may big names drawing all walks of life young and old to the con. You need to find a larger facility that can handle all of this. There are plenty of larger Hotels with triple the meeting space and expo centers that you can explore. These places would more than likely provide better customer service to the person running the con and it’s attendees as this hotel clearly takes this piece of business for granted knowing that they are guaranteed two huge revenue months per year in the slowest quarters of the year. I would like to add that these hoteliers clearly do not have con experience. This hotel has changed operations managers and sales managers several times in the past years, so not having that consistency of seasoned professionals handling the event is an issue in and of itself.
The Hotel had food concessions set up in the middle of the lobby which made everything even more congested, as that area was always left open for people to congregate. You need to have an are to congregate at a con, as con-goers like to have a place to chill and sort through all the cool autographs and shit that they bought! To make it worse they had a make shift bar set up behind their front desk. It was the epitome of cluster fuck!
The ATM machines both ran out of money! How does that happen? Wouldn’t you have your company come out several times throughout the weekend to replenish them? There were plenty of pissed off people because of this. The area that the hotel is in does not have what you call walkability, and there are no convenience stores within walking distance either.
It is quite evident that this event has outgrown this hotel, as people were being denied entry at many points throughout Saturday until people left the con. How in the hell they kept track of that I have no idea. Some of the staffers were clueless and rude.
The gentleman that hosts the convention is a stubborn old fool, and set in his ways. There were plenty of rumblings among the vendors who mainly shit talked him for becoming so disorganized and letting things get out of control. It’s a great con don’t get me wrong, but find a bigger hotel that knows what the fuck they are doing, as The Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill has definitely lost their luster with being able to handle large events.
After hosting this con for the millionth time you would think the Hotel would know how to prepare for the ever growing attendance of this con, and that the President of Monster-Mania, LLC, would open his eyes and see that he needs a bigger venue.
To conclude I would like to mention again that these are my observations, and by no means am I slandering the hotel or the convention in any way. This will always be one of my favorites to attend!