Last week, a well-known cosplay convention made a big announcement. They decided instead of their typical 3-day convention, next year will be reduced to only 2 days. On top of that, there would be no panels or cosplay guests for the entire weekend.

While they didn’t specify why they made these changes, it’s likely because the costs of renting out the venue have gone up drastically since the pandemic. Perhaps doing a 3-day convention at this venue would have been too expensive for the convention organizers.

This is just one example I’ve seen. But I’m seeing other things over the course of 2022, such as:

  • Convention organizers being short on staff and volunteers, making it more difficult to run activities smoothly
  • Hotel blocks taking much longer to be released
  • The difficulties enforcing and balancing safety measures at conventions

While a lot of conventions in 2022 were run very smoothly with no issues (such as MCM London Comic Con!), not all of them have been like this. So I mentioned in 2021 that it’s going to take some time to transition smoothly back into conventions again, it seems like we’re still in that phase.

Why do I bring this up?

The pandemic has affected many industries, so it’ll take some time before things are back to normal.

If you plan on going to a convention this year or next year, I say to just be prepared. Best case scenario, the convention will run smoothly like it did before the pandemic. But if not, be prepared for some things such as:

  • Increased prices for conventions or hotels. Many things have taken a hit during the pandemic, so they’re trying to recover their losses. Plus we got crazy inflation right now!
  • Be patient at the convention. Cons are understaffed, so things may take longer than usual, such as lining up or getting into the con
  • Potentially changing up your convention plans. Because of the prices and potential disruptions, as well as your own health and safety, you may want to change up your plans. Perhaps attending fewer conventions so you have more money to spend.

How to prepare for an Anime convention during these times

Here are some ways you can prepare yourself if you plan on attending an Anime convention during this transition phase:

Check the rules and regulations of the con and region you’re attending

Every area has different rules, so be sure to check them for the con you’re attending. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

If you’re going to a con that’s out of your state/province/country, then be sure to read up on all the rules, regulations and restrictions. Some areas have lenient or even no rules, while other areas may have restrictions that you may or may not be comfortable with. Be sure to do your research first and see if it’s possible for you to attend a convention outside of your area.

The best way to find out the health and safety measures is to go on the convention’s official website. They’ll usually have the information on the front page, or at least a link to their rules.

If you’re planning to attend a con in your area, then you probably already know the rules.

Another thing to keep in mind: conventions can change their health and safety measures at the last minute. I’ve seen conventions change their rules from needing the vaxx and mandatory masking, all the way to not requiring any of these things at all. And these changes happened a week or two before the convention was about to take place. Likewise, I’ve seen conventions not needing a mask or vaxx, to requiring a mask and the vaxx/negative test right before the convention weekend.

So my advice: keep checking the convention’s website to stay updated on their health and safety measures.

Book the hotel, even if you’re not 100% sure you’re going

Hotels can get pretty expensive during Otakuthon but you have plenty of lodging options.
Some of the cons happening next year have already sold out of their hotel rooms.

Even before the pandemic, I always advocate for people to book their con hotels in advance. But now it’s even more important to book early during these crazy times. Why?

Case in point, I recently booked a hotel for a large U.S. convention next year. Even though there’s no guarantee that the con will actually happen (it got cancelled 2 years in a row), the hotel bookings still sold out within hours of being released!

And now with hotels having difficulty setting up hotel blocks for conventions, securing a hotel room is even harder now.

This is why I advise you to book a hotel room as soon as possible, even if you’re not sure if you’re going. Because if you do decide to go, there might not be any rooms available. And don’t worry about wasting money; most hotels have a generous cancellation policy. So if you decide not to go, you can cancel your booking without getting charged (as long as you cancel within a time period).

How will conventions be like in 2023?

I am pretty optimistic for Anime and comic conventions in 2023. While the transition to normalcy is still ongoing, we’ve already made progress by bringing conventions back in 2022. Despite the chaotic economy in 2022, many people still found a way to save up and attend their favorite conventions this year. That just shows important conventions are to people; after all, it is the hub of the cosplay community. Although I always suggest you focus on your life priorities first before cosplaying/attending conventions (if you want to read about that, click here).

While the biggest and largest conventions have definitely made a comeback, I haven’t seen any new conventions pop up, if any. That makes sense as we are just starting again to bring back the conventions. It’ll probably take a while until we see new convention organizers take a chance and start new events.

Again, it’s great to see conventions back in 2022! Honestly, there was a time when we thought conventions would never come back during the pandemic. Let’s hope 2023 will bring more awesome conventions to attend!

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