One of the highlights of any convention whether it’s science-fiction, anime, or even a trade show, it’s going to be the dealer’s room (or some might call a vendor’s room). It’s the one area where you find everything that your heart and your paycheck desires. You can spend hours upon hours in there shopping and shopping. While spend hours there, some of the people behind-the-scenes spends days upon days and even months configuring and structuring the room and making sure that it’s the best one that they ever went to.

Recently, I had the chance to put-together and run a dealer’s room at a local Long Island convention called LI-Con. It was my second one that I have ever run, which the first one I had was last April at the same convention. The staff thought highly of me the first time around that they wanted me to run it again. I’m here to give some thoughts and advice to those who would like to run a dealer’s room at their own convention at some point.

Note: This is just some of my tips & advice. I do not plan on bashing any of the staff and/or vendors. These are some tips that I’ve gotten when worked & ran the dealer’s room.

The biggest piece of advice that I will undoubtedly offer is that communication is very key to running a dealer’s room. You have to be an open door to any and all dealers that come in contact with your staff and your convention. Dealers will always have questions that they want to ask you and have requests for either specific spots or specific needs. It’s your job to make sure if you can meet those needs, sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. Whatever the answer is, you have to communicate that back to the dealers. It’s important to have that open line of communication that way you and your vendors have a mutual understanding and can be open to other events that you maybe hosting.

In line with communication, you have to be honest with them. It’s important to clearly state the guidelines to the convention, whether it’s a sci-fi-based or you can’t sell a certain item or you can’t fulfill a request due to other commitments. Honesty is really the best policy when it comes to this. This leads to more openness with your vendors & they can trust you more.

Communication and Honesty are intangible characteristics that you’ll need to help you run a dealer’s room. However, tangibles are needed to help as well. Two things I would recommend is making deadlines and making an amazing layout. Deadlines are important it will give you a timeline to finish certain duties within your convention job. It also helps out the vendors in helping payment, cause some vendors can’t pay till a certain date when their paycheck clears. Plus also the deadlines can also give dealers that are a waiting list a chance to be invited to your dealer’s room.

When your deadlines are set and the vendors have paid, you have figure out where they go. This is when an amazing layout to your dealer’s room works. You want to have a layout where you can have the best possible traffic flow and the maximum number of vendors in your room. For my first go around with the dealer’s room, I had 12 vendors with a very basic layout. The second convention, I had 27 vendors with the a layout that got more complicated. The layout is important because you have figure out the traffic flow to give every single one of your dealers a fair chance to even make the money back that they spend on going to the convention and spending money for the table.

There are so many other tips and advice I can give, but those were the basic ones that I like to give to people. The best piece of advice I can give is to never give up and always be willing to try new things. I didn’t know what I was doing with the dealer’s room when I did it for the first time. The second time around I had a better idea of what I was doing, but still had no idea what I was doing. My first impression of walking upon a dealer’s room before I ran one was how big the dealer’s room is. After running one, my impressions definitely changed. It was very tough to run it and maintain it, but very rewarding at the end of the day.