Let the 2013 scheduling begin…

I just got finished registering for the 2013 Canadian International Auto Show, which takes place next February.

It went something like this. (totally paraphrased by moi)

Dear Person we value!
Since you attended our event last year, and we value your presence and coverage, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to attend our event again this year. Yes, it’s over 2 months away, but we want get the pre-registration of our valued regulars completed before moving on to new attendees, so WE are reaching out to YOU to make you feel special and entice you to attend again.

So here is an invite with a link to your profile with all that info you filled out previously, which we saved in a handy database. Please verify that your info is still correct and then click to answer these four easy questions so we can assure you have everything you need when you get here.

Why yes, you can do it right on your cell phone.

Oh, you’re done! Great! now we’re going to send you a confirmation immediately and then mail you your credential so you’re good to hit the ground running on media day.

************************
There you go. One event locked and loaded. Confirmed. In the calendar, no questions marks, no “tentative pending approval”.

This got me thinking, as I have been spending the morning mapping out my 2013 season schedule. There are two events that do this “pre-approval” every year, without fail. The Autoshow and the Indy 500. I love how easy it is, and I love how it takes all of the guess work out of my schedule and my planning.

This would be such a GREAT and SIMPLE thing for all of the races on the circuit to do, especially for those of us that cover the entire season every year.

Here’s how easy:

Dear Media type;
First of all, thank you for your support and coverage of our event in 2012. Since you attended last year, we have taken the liberty of automatically pre-registering you for this year’s event. (one would assume that the goal of these events is to have consistent and continued coverage of their events no?)
Please click this link and answer the following questions:
Are you planning to attend? yes/no
Is your information the same? yes/no
Are your requirements the same? yes/no

Great! Consider yourself registered. (and approved)
Your credential will be waiting for you when you arrive.

Thank you again for your continued support and coverage.

***********************
What a concept!
Sadly though, this is not how it works.

Unless you’re one of the chosen ones who is granted a hard card (took me 4 years to be worthy of one from ChampCar, then the merge happened and I had to start at the bottom of the heap again. It’s now been 5 yrs of polite denial from IndyCar…) (Maybe 6th time’s the charm *sigh*)

So I, and many others, have to jump through a variety of hoops to be granted the privilege of covering and promoting their events. There are multiple registrations dates and deadlines which I have to track down myself in a lot of cases, and Multiple platforms through which to apply. Many have finally (thankfully) adapted to online forms. Some require pre-approval before you’re even allowed to apply. Some still require a written request to be snail mailed.

So great. Whatever. I suck it up and I make the effort and jump through all the hoops, then make my plans and wait.
It doesn’t sound like such a big deal to you I’m sure, but here’s the caveat:

We’re usually  left waiting until approximately the WEEK BEFORE the event for confirmation. That’s right. I’m expected to plonk down airfare, book hotel rooms, and adjust work schedules to attend an event, that I don’t even get the courtesy of a confirmation of access to until a week prior, when it’s either too late to get a refund or too late to book.

This is a good system. NOT.

Since I will be taking on coverage of other series in 2013, it will be interesting to see how the accessibility and hospitality compare… Will keep you posted.

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