This is the event that every tech I know looks forward to and talks about all year long. Some of us met for the first time at an Open Day. It is a way to catch up with friends of old and meet new ones. It’s also a way to meet with people that can give you advice and direction in business. Techs as a whole are not really social people. Unless you are prepared to talk about the latest processor and ARGB lights, we really are lost for conversation.
That’s why this event is great. You get to do just that! Open Day was hosted at the same place as last year, Cedar Court in Bradford.
We kicked off the day by Paul Cubbage, saying a few words. After which, I got a cup of coffee and headed to see the vendors.
The layout of the vendors was a bit haphazard. You had one big room with vendors in it, which was great. Then you had a few side rooms tucked away and I am sure I missed one or two of those as no signs were posted (map was provided). It would be nice to have signs on the side rooms saying what vendors were in there. Or, better yet get a venue that has one big room for every vendor. Keep it all together. If I am honest, when I go to the vendor area, I already know who I want to see. I go to them first. Then if I have time, I will go around and talk to others. It would be great if it was contained in one area so I don’t have to chase down people.
There were talks held after visiting the vendors. These overlapped. I do not like this method in that there were two on at the same time that I wanted to see and I had to choose. Back a few years ago it would not be an issue as Target used to video the talks. You could tune in and see what you missed on the website. Not so anymore though. Sadly, I missed a few talks because no one was shouting “five minutes till A B C talks”. It is easy to get engrossed in a talk with a vendor and potential business connections. You lose track of time and suddenly you have missed the talk you wanted to see. Not to mention, some of the talks were running over the allotted time and causing people to miss the next talk. So, for that reason, it would be nice for someone to give us a nudge and alert people that talks are running over. A good solution for talks running over, could be more time between talks.
There was a free bar from 6:30 PM and all you had to do was show your badge. We soon had a chicken dinner with mixed veg and potatoes. On the verge of sounding like Gordon Ramsey, the veg was hard and the potatoes were raw in the middle. If I am honest, I would recommend that Target do something like they did at GameTech when the Prince William (Pub) kept sending out pizzas. Have a buffet full of pizza. It is what we know and seldom can anyone mess up on pizza. I must say the lunch buffet was nice though. We had a veg or chicken curry and some pasta. OK, as some mentioned the rice was dry. But we managed as there were sandwiches and pastas on offer as well. You were not limited.
Target need to reconsider the venue. At the time they started using it, it was adequate. I really think they need to look at another though. The hotel service at times was poor at best. I went up to the bar around noon for a Cappuccino. The girl was dealing with a lost reservation at the bar??? After she sorted them she barged past me and almost stepped on my laptop bag. I waited 15 minutes for her to return but she never did. I guess the coffee was not meant to be. Others were talking about mishaps that happened to them that never should happen. (ie getting room keys and finding people in the beds already) I was sitting in the bar area and had people come up to me and demand I move. (Hotel guests, not Target affiliates) “We are sitting here, we ordered food”. There were other places and I was heavily burdened with equipment. Some of which I could not physically pick up. It would have been as simple as taking the number from my table and putting it on the table next to me, and when the food came, telling the waitress. “Here we are”. I told the lady I could not physically pick up the equipment bag. But no she was not having it. The lady demanded I move. I attempted to drag our equipment to the next table so as not to cause a stir. After sitting down, they moved table yet again because she did not like the table. The man with her seemed embarrassed.
And now for the scores: Comfort: 5 ----The climate control was great and most of the time I could find a chair. Customer Care: 4 ---- I was told there would be a room for equipment and to find Scott, I never could find him. Thus, I drug equipment around all day. Maybe if he had left word for someone else to handle us that would have been good. No one seemed to know about this room he spoke of. Venue: 1 ---- Besides the layout, the hotel staff are not very accommodating and they don’t seem to know what they are doing. I booked us a couple of nights and never got confirmation. They took payment but denied I had booked. In the end, I cancelled the reservation when they found it. The reason they could not find it, they misspelt my name. The lady on the bar handling the reservation walked off and never came back to what should have been her job, tending the bar. One of the lads behind the bar was only concerned with chatting up a girl behind the bar and downing Donald Trump. I don’t care what you think, but there is a time and place for everything and that was unprofessional. Just now I have been informed that some people came home and received parking fines from being parked at the hotel. The hotel was supposed to lift parking fines for the day. This hotel used to be a Best Western which are known for hospitality. This hotel is no longer a Best Western and it shows. Standards have truly slipped. Vendors 5 ----Very easy to talk to and work with. Each very willing to talk to us. We have formed new relationships with new people and are working closer with some old friends. Talks 4 --- I enjoy the talks but it would be nice for someone to shout us in the vendor hall. Plus, if you have to have overlapping talks, please bring back videoing them so if we miss one we can see it at a later date.