Comic Conventions Can Be A Geeky Goldmine

Lexi Tucker
Posted on July 18, 2017

Photo via Flickr user Michael Ocampo
Photo via Flickr user Michael Ocampo
LOS ANGELES — Chauffeured transportation companies provide shuttle services for universities, airports, and hotels, but have they ever considered tapping into fandom conventions? My recent experience at Anime Expo, North America’s largest Japanese pop-culture event, got me thinking about unexplored opportunities for the industry.

I attended the show, which coincides with the July 4 holiday annually, for three days with my boyfriend and spotted a few instances where limo companies might be missing out on golden opportunities.

Many Potential Clients

According to The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation’s (SPJA) press release, “This year Anime Expo added its first Pre-Show Night which had 8,068 unique attendance. The regular unique event attendance was 107,658, marking a 7% increase from last year. Overall unique attendance for Anime Expo reached 115,726 including Pre-Show Night, marking a 15% increase of attendance from 2016. Overall turnstile attendance was marked at 357,178 with Pre-Show Night, representing a 17% growth increase from last year.”

“The Exhibit Hall featured a total of 450 booths, which covered 137,600 sq. ft., a 14% increase from 2016. More than 150 guests, performers, voice actors, and creators were on-site to mingle with attendees and provide special performances, sneak peaks, and premieres.”

Therefore, there are three different groups operators can focus on:

The convention was packed with an insane number of people (Photo via Flickr user Michael Ocampo)
The convention was packed with an insane number of people (Photo via Flickr user Michael Ocampo)
Attendee Opportunities

Best fit: Shuttle from hotel to convention center, and vice versa

This is a massive event with a global attendance reach. Because of this, non-locals are typically going to stay at a nearby hotel, but this doesn’t mean they’ll always be within walking distance of the Los Angeles Convention Center. This is especially difficult for those who participate in cosplay (short for “costume play,” where people dress up as their favorite characters).

The weekend of the con, the weather was in the high 70’s/low 80’s, and heavy costumes make for downpours of sweat. Chauffeured transportation companies could save the day, assuming they can negotiate a shuttle contract with one of the 18+ hotels in the area. This number will increase in the next few years, as more hotels are being built around the downtown LA area.

For those who are native to Southern California and plan on commuting via public transportation (I’ll take the bus over Uber or Lyft any day) or TNC, you might be able to entice them with free on-board Wi-Fi in a sedan or SUV for them to stream their favorite anime on the way to the event.

Special Guest Opportunities

Best fit: Private hotel and airport transfers

This is your opportunity to rub elbows with celebrities of a different sort: Manga (Japanese comics) artists, voice actors, and Japanese musicians and actors. Just like their Western counterparts, they need transportation from the airport (after flights of grueling length from Asia to the US) to their hotels, and from their hotels to the convention center.

They often want a private, safe, and punctual ride. They’ll be meeting hundreds of thousands of fans over the course of the event, after all, and need time to relax before and after shows, autograph sessions, and meet and greets.

Note, this kind of transportation is typically arranged between the convention and the transportation company, not the guests directly.

Your name could be here.
Your name could be here.
Vendor/Sponsorship Opportunities

Best fit: Brand recognition

Perhaps the best way to get your name out to the public is to become the “official” transportation provider for a convention. Your logo will often be included in promotional materials and on the show’s website. There are often tabs on convention websites that provide details as to the best ways to get to the event; your company’s name could be on that list.

This is a prime opportunity to win over Millennial clients who may not know why chauffeured services are better in many ways than TNCs.

Anime Expo is just one of hundreds (if not thousands) of fandom conventions across the world, with more popping up each year. Here’s a list of a few others you may want to look into as well:

  • PAX West (Seattle, WA)
  • PAX East (Boston, MA)
  • Gen Con (Indianapolis, IN)
  • D23 Expo (Anaheim, CA)
  • E3 (Los Angeles, CA)
  • San Diego Comic-Con International (San Diego, CA)
  • WonderCon (Anaheim, CA)
  • New York Comic Con (New York City, NY)
  • A-Kon (Dallas, TX)
  • The Official Star Trek Convention (Las Vegas, NV)

Related Topics: California operators, celebrities, client markets, Lexi Tucker, Los Angeles operators, meetings and conventions, Millennials, special events, Think Fast Blog

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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