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Thread: TEB Organisers: Could Do Better

  1. #1
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    TEB Organisers: Could Do Better

    Had a lovely long weekend in Paris, and we were treated to some fantastic skating. Nice to see Javier Fernandez there, as well as the other skaters wandering around (his hotel room was just a few doors away from ours). We had time to see some of the beautiful sights around Paris, although the weather was cold and grey, and we're no strangers to Paris anyway.

    But it wasn't all roses...

    There was no event program (disappointing, I like to buy these as souvenirs), and no starting order or score sheets.

    Information and answers to FAQ's were difficult to find or non-existent.

    If you left your seat to buy food/drink or use the toilets, you needed your ticket to get back into the arena. Nobody seemed to know this... and many left their tickets with their partners inside.

    Announcements were often in French only, so for example when the MC called for everyone to wave their national flags... lots of French and Canadian flags... but flags from anywhere else mostly went "unwaved".

    The short programs on Friday did not have numbered seats on the tickets - you just grabbed the best seat you could. Access to the judges side was blocked off. There were people on that side though, not sure how they gained access. Actually, not sure how people got their tickets for the judges side on the other days either. Choreography is generally aimed at the judges, and medal ceremonies were also squarely aimed at that side. (We left before the dance/ladies medals since we weren't going to see anything from where we were).

    By the end of Friday, some of the remaining school children were unsupervised and becoming quite disruptive.

    The seats in the first few rows were not as steeply stepped as the seats further back. So unless you were in the front row, your view could actually be more restricted by people in front of you and the barriers... than the seats further back.

    Lighting in the arena was significantly dimmer than eg. Finlandia or Skate America... so, not as good for photographers. (1-2 stops more exposure needed).

    Saturday was split into two events requiring separate tickets (Pairs+Men, Dance+Ladies). Despite only a short time between the two sessions, everyone had to leave the building after the first session, and go back in. It was cold! Only the main entrance was in use, only 2 of its 6(?) doors were open, and there was no organised queueing. Bags were searched again, new tickets were scanned. I don't know if this procedure was announced in advance, but it seemed that English-speaking people were unaware. Much grumbling ensued. There has GOT to be a better way of organising this! We were lucky it wasn't raining!

    Not so much an "organisational" thing, but most of the ladies toilets only have 4 cubicles, leading to longer queues than "usual"... and (maybe this is peculiar to France but...) men should be prepared to discover ladies standing right behind them at the urinals, waiting to use the cubicles in the men's toilets...! Furthermore, apparently there are no toilet seats in the cubicles, just bare porcelain... which may lead to certain "practices" that can extend the amount of time spent in there, and make the queues even longer.

    It's not like these things ruined the weekend or anything... it's just that I think the organisers Could Do Better...

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    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    There was no event program (disappointing, I like to buy these as souvenirs), and no starting order or score sheets.
    Like many events in Europe, starting orders were available at the official hotel, or you can see them online & print your own.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    Information and answers to FAQ's were difficult to find or non-existent.
    I have always had good responses emailing contact given on the Bercy website, did you try this?

    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    If you left your seat to buy food/drink or use the toilets, you needed your ticket to get back into the arena. Nobody seemed to know this... and many left their tickets with their partners inside.
    I believe this is explained on the small print on the tickets, and anyway is standard procedure for many arenas.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    Announcements were often in French only".
    You were in France, I don't know what else you expected.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    The short programs on Friday did not have numbered seats on the tickets - you just grabbed the best seat you could.
    Again, it is explicit on the tickets that Fridays events are placement libre, and the doors open early enough for people to be able to get in to choose seats. I also think the Friday session is very well priced.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    Access to the judges side was blocked off. There were people on that side though, not sure how they gained access. Actually, not sure how people got their tickets for the judges side on the other days either.
    Judges side is for press and accredited persons on Friday, and tickets sold through French skating clubs on Saturday. It isn't open to the public because it would make it more expensive to have security for the whole arena rather than the 1 side on Friday.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    By the end of Friday, some of the remaining school children were unsupervised and becoming quite disruptive.
    I didn't notice this, unless you are one of those fussy people who seems to think that people are not allowed to cheer at a sporting event.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    Saturday was split into two events requiring separate tickets (Pairs+Men, Dance+Ladies). Despite only a short time between the two sessions, everyone had to leave the building after the first session, and go back in. It was cold! Only the main entrance was in use, only 2 of its 6(?) doors were open, and there was no organised queueing. Bags were searched again, new tickets were scanned. I don't know if this procedure was announced in advance, but it seemed that English-speaking people were unaware. Much grumbling ensued. There has GOT to be a better way of organising this! We were lucky it wasn't raining!
    You were sold 2 separate tickets for 2 separate sessions, it would be clear to me that you have to exit and re-enter, and again I believe it is explained on the ticket website. I had no problem with queues, entering about 5 minutes before each session easily. You must remember that not everyone attends both sessions, so new ticket checks and bag checks are needed. Of course it was cold, it's Paris in mid November - there are plenty of cafes or hotels around the arena where you can wait between events if you aren't prepared for the weather.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    It's not like these things ruined the weekend or anything... it's just that I think the organisers Could Do Better...
    And it sounds like the poster Could Do Better by actually doing some investigating before the event and not wanting everything handed to them on a plate.

  3. #3
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Well, the OP is a customer and The Customer Is Always Right.

    Perhaps TEB could put something on the tickets that says, "Info in languages other than French can be found at www whatever". Put it on the tickets in English, Spanish & Russian. Or 3 other languages that are more representative.

    Or something else.

    It is so hard to sell out a GP event these days that anything to keep paying customers happy, within reason, should be considered by the organizers.
    Last edited by dorispulaski; 11-19-2013 at 11:06 AM.

  4. #4
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    If the customer is complaining about something that is stated explicitly, such as the lack of assigned seating on Fridays at TEB, then I don't think that customer is right. The OP's complaints are a combination of reasonable points (the TEB schoolchildren can be disruptive, though they also cheer a lot so it's not a total loss) and not so reasonable (e.g. Friday seating, and there's not much the FFSG can do about the Bercy arena, nor many alternative venues for an annual event of this size). While skating does have an international fanbase, I don't find it unreasonable for TEB announcements and information to be mainly in French. Does Skate America offer information in multiple languages? Obviously Skate Canada has bilingual information.

    Having been to SP day at TEB more than once, I must say that it is incredible value for what it costs.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    The Customer Is Always Right is a US mantra-one that we always expect, but don't get so much any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by %uhh View Post
    (Lots of stuff)
    To be extra clear: I had a great time in Paris!

    But nothing is "perfect", and I see nothing wrong with pointing out where improvements could be made. Or posting a few tidbits of information that perhaps don't get talked about much.

    My context was visits to other GP events and other international competitions, where TEB organisers could take a few ideas for better organisation and "customer focus", and making it easier to find/receive information... bearing in mind that it's not just a local French event, it's part of the international Grand Prix series.

    No, I do not expect everything handed to me on a plate, and (as usual when making such trips) I did quite some research before going. Which is precisely how I discovered that things are not as good as they could be! Lucky for me I still recall a fair bit of French - others may not fare so well. A few of the things I mentioned were not even problems for me personally - but I listed them because of the reactions of others.

    I actually applaud them letting school children in, on the day that attendance is usually very low - I hope it encourages new generations of skaters and skating fans. The issues I referred to was not due to children cheering, which of course I do not object to!

    It was just a few small groups who, once early leavers had left chunks of seats empty - started moving up and down the rows, clambering over empty seats. Even that would not be a much of problem, except that one group moved up behind me and one of them was repeatedly kicking the back of my seat... and another group was wrestling each other vigorously enough to keep shaking my seat from three rows away. They were also noisy - and not because they were cheering (they were not paying any attention to the skating by that time).

    Clearly, you did not experience such things, but that doesn't mean they can't happen! I also realise these were just a few "bad apples"... but it only takes a few to cause quite some disruption. And I don't think it's unreasonable, to wish them to show a little more consideration for the other people around them? Or for their teachers to provide some "guidance"?

  7. #7
    I like pie. Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Organizers should take into account people having issues with the arena they chose so that they maybe use another facility in the future.

    that being said I've been to three US Nationals and people made huge stinks each year I was there about something - one woman even started screaming and cursing across the rink at the announcer when he told everyone to leave the arena and get tickets rescanned for one of the events after practice had ended. Obviously the OP is not doing that, but feedback is always a good thing for any business (which TEB is, in a way).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Does Skate America offer information in multiple languages? Obviously Skate Canada has bilingual information.
    That would be no, at least not when I went to Skate America last year. And there were plenty of non-Americans (read: Japanese) there.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    Organizers should take into account people having issues with the arena they chose so that they maybe use another facility in the future.
    I don't think there are that many viable options for a major event in Paris or even in other locations in France (assuming the latter is even possible given the sponsorship agreement). It's not like the JGP that you can hold in Courchevel. Bercy is a thirty year old multi-use venue and it's not the poshest arena in the world, but it's a reasonable option that allows for an annual event in Paris. Which the skaters seem to have no objections to

    Maybe I just went in with a different set of expectations than Yesway, but I didn't find most of the complaints listed to be an issue, or at least not a major one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrs. P View Post
    That would be no, at least not when I went to Skate America last year. And there were plenty of non-Americans (read: Japanese) there.
    I thought as much, and I doubt the Japanese fans expected it to be otherwise.

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    skating philosopher Mrs. P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    I thought as much, and I doubt the Japanese fans expected it to be otherwise.
    Some of the Japanese fans I talked to love Skate America and the other GP events because it's accessible. It's very difficult to get a ticket into NHK or Nationals. So the opportunity to see Mao, Daisuke and Kozuka elsewhere and get a decent seat (many of them sprung for the $350 VIP seats) is quite appealing.

    What I liked about some of the fans that they were quite supportive of other skaters too. The Japanese fans who sat near me, for instance had American, Canadian and other flags on hand to cheer for all the skaters.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesWay View Post
    Not so much an "organisational" thing, but most of the ladies toilets only have 4 cubicles, leading to longer queues than "usual"... and (maybe this is peculiar to France but...) men should be prepared to discover ladies standing right behind them at the urinals, waiting to use the cubicles in the men's toilets...! Furthermore, apparently there are no toilet seats in the cubicles, just bare porcelain... which may lead to certain "practices" that can extend the amount of time spent in there, and make the queues even longer.
    Bercy is not a great venue, but there isn't any other alternative for TEB in Paris. Hopefully, after the renovation (that is due to begin in March), the POPB won't look as old, ugly or whatever negative impression you currently get from this place.

    For the toilets, I'd recommend you go to those towards the M door. They're usually less/not crowded.

    And I agree about the unsupervised school children on Friday. They were sometimes very noisy, and not cheering! They would for instance laugh when Pang and Tong were beginning their SP, or upon seeing a slo-mo of a fall. So disrespectful and annoying -_-

    I do think the tickets for LPs and gala event are expensive for people who can't buy those through clubs.

    Obviously, %uhh is very sensitive about criticism against TEB organisation, because it seems that (s)he registered primarily to defend the event organisers.

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    This has been my 5th TEB and none of those things have disturbed me. Not even the school children who were quite well-behaved comparing them to those of previous years.

    My main issue about TEB is the fact that we can't watch practices, the rest is quite good, except for the fact that people don't seem to know that if someone is skating, you need to wait until they've finished to go down or up the stairs, ushers don't control this and it sucks.

    Whenever they have to announce something important they do it in French and English, I understand little French and I've never felt lost at TEB. And as someone pointed out, the fact of having 2 separate set of tickets for Saturday helps people that just want to see 1 or 2 events to not spend too much money. If you have 2 different tickets it's quite obvious that you're gonna have to leave the arena and enter again.

    IMO TEB has an OK organization, and all the people I know that have gone several years, think the same

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    Quote Originally Posted by sigrid View Post
    And as someone pointed out, the fact of having 2 separate set of tickets for Saturday helps people that just want to see 1 or 2 events to not spend too much money. If you have 2 different tickets it's quite obvious that you're gonna have to leave the arena and enter again.
    Sure.

    I note that Skate America managed to forgo clearing the arena between sessions... but all this talk of multiple tickets and the need to clear the arena is largely missing the point:

    The big issues were the short amount of time they allowed for "reloading" the arena before the next session... especially when I saw so many people milling around in uncertainty, making it take longer to clear the arena... and only two doors open to get back in... and only two people searching bags when I reached the front (there were about 4 more doors, and 6 or more bag-searchers when I arrived for the first session).

    Perhaps the simplest/easiest improvement would be to announce over the PA for everyone to leave, and to write it on the big screens in multiple languages (if they actually did this - sorry, I missed it!)... and to schedule more time for the changeover - the first sessions of each day started well into the afternoon, after all? And/or use more doors/staff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    The Customer Is Always Right is a US mantra-one that we always expect, but don't get so much any more.
    The Customer Is Always Right is still in full effect in Australia and it is the most EVIL horrible thing ever invented! I am quite sure its sole purpose is to legitimise the abuse of retail staff! The language I have been forced to endure because The Customer Is Always Right...that mantra means that all retail staff have to develop a super-thick hide...because you can guarantee they'll be abused AT LEAST once a week, and 9 times out of 10 it'll be for something that is the customer's fault and the poor staff member had no control over.

    (Some of the worst ones are the ones that believe store policy doesn't apply to them, and abuse the staff for trying to apply it. "No, sir, I cannot allow you to walk out with a $700 item without seeing your receipt. Yes sir, apparently that does make me an effing female dog.")

    Customers are truly awful beings.

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    I agree that there's room for improvement at TEB.On Friday it's all about showing up early. Two hours waiting in the cold, for me, was worth getting a seat on the 1st row for. It's truly an incredible price. (Though contrary to that, I think the LPs are very expensive.)
    True about the 'Gold' section not being steep enough. Being in the 4th or 5th row can be very frustrating, compared to people in the 10th row that paid less and have a better view.
    Also true about the practices - why aren't they open to the public? I'd gladly pay for it, like in Nice. I assume it's a security + budget issue. Apparantly though, if you showed up early on Saturday you could watch the entire last group of Ladies practice. (I did not know this)
    The leaving between sessions, it's pretty annoying but probably unavoidable. Otoh they should start letting people back in sooner, so the queues aren't that long *and* so that everyone can be in their seat in time. Now half of the arena is still empty when the first couple takes the ice - that's a shame!
    Toilets are pretty annoying too. The no toilet seat thing is typical for France - it makes them 'easier to clean'. But of course it makes them dirty to begin with. This is something the venue could definitely improve. Though I'm not too optimistic they will bother.

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