We're getting phone calls and emails from all over the province and from Americans planning trips up to Vancouver from Seattle and Chicago. Yesterday we received just over 130,000 page views on CityCaucus.com and we're trying to keep you, our readers, as informed as possible while finding a little spare time to check out the venues ourselves. The feedback we're hearing so far from our readers is hard to ignore. Many of the free sites are requiring long line-ups, and many are not living up to expectations. So, we ask, how will these venues deal with the intense popularity?
Our challenge to date at CityCaucus.com is that few venues have had their public relations staff take a moment to introduce their venues to us. For example, the City of Vancouver has hired a major local PR firm to manage their communications, and to date we've received no contact from them. When we reached representatives of Karyo-Edelman they referred us to a web page. Why not have one of their staff dedicated to keeping in touch with us, so we can keep in touch with you?
It's our hope that organizers are reading your comments so they can communicate better with visitors, improve their service or let people know in advance to prepare for high demand. There have been many exceptions, of course. We've been getting great help from the BC Pavilion folks, Canada Pavilion, Ontario Pavilion, La Place de la Francophonie, House of Switzerland, CentrePlace Manitoba, Saskatchewan House, BC Hydro PowerSmart Village, Royal Canadian Mint Pavilion, German Fan Fest, Surrey 2010 Celebration Zone, Poco Zone, the North and West Vancouver venues and even Korea House. Kudos to all of these venues who have put the effort into communications.
For example, on Saturday I visited Richmond's O Zone. There were aspects of the O Zone that worked. They have tourist booths and a (very) modest amount of street entertainment, plus volunteers working to keep the grounds clean at all times. The field where the live music stage stands is soft and dry under foot thanks to the turf playing surface. However, the food on site is simply third rate and far too expensive. The Heineken House is being run a bit like Studio 54, with exclusive access for Dutch passport holders, and unable to cope with the demand from the general public for a dry, warm place to have a beverage.
O Zone should try to figure out to use their tents and ample space to maybe set up an alternative. They should also try to get some better food vendors on site – stat. Some of the best Chinese food in the world is prepared in Richmond restaurants, so why can I only buy a hot dog or a pita pocket?
Day Two of the Games, and of this explosion of enthusiasm for a low-cost good time with friends and family, is well underway. We'll see how the venues deal with the demand.