Would Longer Be More Satisfying?

Salute, of course.

Every year at Salute, people ask why it’s only a one-day show and not the whole weekend. It’s one of those age-old questions that seems to have no answer. This year the mutterings seemed to be particularly strident, and over the last few days I’ve heard this question from many gamers and quite a few traders too. So, I’ve been thinking; would it actually be an improvement, and is it possible anyway?

Firstly, is it possible? Whilst I don’t know the exact sums involved, I do know that it’s not going to be cheap to run the event for another day. However, the traders and customers already manage to cover those costs for one and a half days (including friday set up time), so it doesn’t sound too implausible. In fact, the actual cost is immaterial. What really matters is whether enough gamers would go (back) on the sunday and spend their pennies with the traders to make the traders want to invest their pennies in being there in the first place. I think they would.

The reason why I would be fairly confident is mainly down to the size of the thing, but also to the fact that not everyone can get there on saturday. Being open another day accesses a group of potential gamers who otherwise could not go or think it too far for a one day event. On exactly that theme it might also encourage more continental gamers to make the trip as it would be more of an occasion.

Salute hallTo go back to the size of the event, it is so big that most attendees don’t manage to see everything in one day. People tend to go with some particular companies, games or events in mind and focus on them. I suspect that the smaller and less well known traders in particular suffer for this reason because they are less likely to be something you’re going to see specifically, and more likely to be that hidden gem, suddenly discovered. If the event was open for two days then visitors would be able to see what they came for and still have time explore the rest of the demo games and stands at their leisure. At present, if you take part in a participation game or two you’ll almost certainly not see half the hall.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is conjecture based on scuttlebutt and cogitation rather than hard facts, so if anyone has some actual evidence either way I’d be intrigued to hear it. I’ve spoken to some of you offline on this topic and haven’t wanted to put words into your mouths, but feel free to comment as always.

At the end of the day the Warlords run a great event and it’s down to them to organise it as they see fit. I just think that their very success at this argues for an extra day so that we can appreciate the fruits of all their hard work.

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8 Responses to Would Longer Be More Satisfying?

  1. My knee-jerk reaction would that (despite living in Kent) I would still only go for one day, whether the show was on for a day or a week. However, this year I seemed to miss more than ever judging by the photos doing the rounds on the internet… in fact I think I was at a different show. I did think later on that I wished I seen x and y, but on the day just forgot or was distracted. I think the show has reached the point where it could go to 2 days quite easily but, as you say, would it be an improvement or possible – I don’t have an answer, but I’d like them to give it a try.

  2. Ben says:

    They answered this on their FB page on Sunday. Their stance is that a second day doubles their costs but wouldn’t double their revenue and it would push them way beyond what their available manpower is capable of.

  3. Tony Harwood says:

    A couple of points.

    The cost – I know you have already touched upon it but from the point of view of a trader, this would mean an extra nights stay over in one of the most expensive Cities in Europe.

    Similarly would many more people attend, or attend for two days? I don’t think so.

    Remember that the same weekend of SALUTE is the London Marathon. With huge logistical issues for Sunday!

    If the show was two days (or longer) I am convinced that there would not be a doubling of takings, just a dilution.

    Finally I see SALUTE as the main go-to show for buying and eye-candy, there are others throughout the country and throughout the year that have convention type events.

    I for one would prefer two SALUTES (or equivalent) throughout the country, for example one in the Midlands and one in the North, rather than an extra day in East London.


  4. Chris says:

    Well, despite being there all day I only managed to see half the show.But that is the first salute I have managed to attend since the Olympia days. I wouldn’t go for two days and I doubt they would manage to double numbers (I dispute it would double costs however).
    The manpower comment is more apt. The warlords members would be less keen and small traders, who ask friends and family to help out often, could have problems staffing it. Indeed as I finally got around to the well staffed Mantic stand with the intention of boring some rules writer they had there to keep the cheerleaders happy, his knees seem to have gone so I had to question his ability to survive a second day…

  5. Doug says:

    Hmmm. We have the largest (afaik) wargaming convention in Australia in Canberra (CANCON) which runs for 3 days. Not as big as Salute obviously but it takes up a fair whack of the Epic: http://www.epic.act.gov.au/

    It’s been running for 30+ years and 3 days for at least the last 13 (the times I’ve gone- in fact I helped run Dreadball demos all long weekend this year…).

    I don’t know the costs involved but it keeps expanding every year and brings a lot of exhibitors (although most are ‘just’ retailers).

    It’s run on the Australia Day long weekend which is a pretty popular weekend for doing things.

    I suppose the point is that although not as big as Salute it:

    Is run for three days
    On a national public holiday long weekend
    Held in the national capital which is one of if not the most expensive place in Australia

    Honestly I have no idea how they manage to do it every year but it obviously works or it wouldn’t have been going this long or expanding every year (we are apparently running out of room for everything).

    • Doug says:

      Oh, it runs tournaments (which you pay to enter) for many different systems (we hope to have a dreadball one going next year) and the exhibitors pay a fee for space, but there is no money made anywhere else afaik.

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