How I Guarantee a Great Event
Sometimes it seems like no matter how well an event goes, there are always complaints. Unless it's run by Jason Webster. In the 5+ years he's been running premier tournaments, we've received virtually no negative feedback—a feat any organizer will recognize as near impossible. We asked him to share how he's pulled it off. Here's what he had to say.
The success of an event is measured by the customer’s experience—the more fun they had, the more likely they are to return.
But it can be tough to quantify, because if you've done everything right, your players won't necessarily notice.
That's okay. In fact, that's the goal. Players don't notice when things go right. They notice when things go wrong. The best indicator of the player's experience may not be the abundance of praise so much as the absence of criticism.
At our events, our goal is to create no occasions for criticism to make them "effortless."
The is key preparation.
It's more work to do extra prep, but it will improve your customer experience. Identify anything that could sabotage you—technology failures, space inadequacies, staffing issues—and address them before they can trip you up.
Prepare your technology: Making sure you can run the event without technological problems is essential to making sure your players had a great event. If your event should suffer a technological setback, players will remember.
Fill the printer with paper and ink, check your tournament computer and point of sale, test your displays. Have back-up plans for key processes, if you can. For example, we use PayPal mobile in case our internet goes down during an event.
Prepare your space: One often neglected pain point here is overbooking. In some cases it's unavoidable, but do everything you can to schedule events when your store can handle the customer load.
We recently had a scheduling conflict on Amonkhet release weekend, where another game's Prerelease fell on the same Saturday. Every seat in our store was filled, which was fantastic, but players were visibly and verbally annoyed with the disruption.
Prepare your staff: Arguably the most important aspect of effortless events is your staff. This includes your own store staff, your judges and you yourself. Before the event, always remind everyone that a positive customer experience is the goal. Their job is to friendly and attentive and stay engaged with the tournament.
Just as important as the pre-event prep is the post-event review.
Talk to your staff about how the event went and what things could be improved. Try to take the time to make a list of things that weren’t perfect for how you want to run an event and consult that list for the next event you run.
And there's always room for improvement. It’s not easy to get your Magic events to an effortless state. But the more you follow through and make these things second-nature, the easier all of this will become.
Remember: great events make your player base happy, returning customers. They may not notice the work you are putting into your events, but they will appreciate it.