Questionnaire Feedback
What did you think of Salute Zero Four


Every year since 2000 we have had a questionnaire for the visitors to Salute to fill in if they so choose. While it's nice to be able to give away a big, fat prize (and some smaller ones, this year) to the winner of the draw associated with the questionnaire, the real reason for printing up and distributing the sheet is to get feedback from the gamers who come to the show.

So what did we find out?

Well, first off, we had more people turn up at the show this year: around 3800 people paid to get into the Salute Zero Four compared to the previous year. On top of that, approximately 200 children were let in free and there were nearly 700 gamers and complimentary passes. So - ignoring the traders who buy stands - there are around four and a half thousand plus gamers in the building. Which is nice! That figure is about 8% up on last year.

956 gamers filled in a questionnaire. Plus (at least) one trader. And two gamers who filled it in twice (naughty, naughty - you wont win!)

Every single questionnaire was read and - even though there were fewer questions than last year - it still takes a lot of time, but it is worth it!

The analysis:

60% of the attendees had been to Salute before. That means (obviously) that 40% were new to the show.

Of those who had been to Salute previously, 56% had been to Salute Zero Three but 44% had been to a previous show. That's more new faces than previously.

What was important to the attendees? Trade stands were of great interest to those who came with 83% of those attending ticking this box: you want to buy stuff, obviously! The second most important feature of the show was the atmosphere (and we're not talking about the air conditioning struggling to keep up with a capacity crowd, which was mentioned by a number of respondents!): 57% thought the Atmosphere was important, closely followed by Demonstration Games at 53%.

Despite some requests for more participation games, Party Games scored 37%. Lower on the priority lists were Meeting Old Faces (22%) and the Painting Competition 12%. But remember, even with that low score, over 500 people want to see a Painting Competition at Salute.

We asked "Did you look at the web site ( before you came to the show?" 71% of you did, and of those, 60% visited several times in the months running up to the show, and 9% are regular users of the site. Well, we have had just under 100,000 hits in the last five years so that's not too surprising, perhaps.

Finally, what did you think of the show? 65% rated it as Very Good and 32% as Good, with 3% as Satisfactory. The number of people who rated Salute Zero Four as Poor and Very Poor were too small to make it up to half a percentage point. Combined. So that's very pleasing for the organisers.

And will you come to Salute Zero Five? 99% said YES to that question and, of those who had never been before, that rose to 100%. (i.e. the numbers that said NO were less than half a percent).

So thank you very much for your support.

But what else did you want or say?

The large majority of your responses in the "free comment" area of the form said variations of "Great show: keep it up!" which is fabulous and thank you very much for that.

But there were other comments and we will try and answer those in a Question and Answer format, summarising and compiling your concerns and queeries and putting them in rough order of how often they were mentioned by you:

Q: The Bring and Buy: it's so busy what can be done to make it better?
A: Well, it already takes the entire membership of our mates at SELWG just to run it as it is and we will pass on your suggestions to them regarding space (everybody wants more of that), layout and period separation. But, space wise, it's a beast that is hard to satisfy in the room size we have available. But we will try harder for next year.
Q: Gosh the food's expensive, can't you bring the cost down?
A: Well, the simple answer is: no, we cant. We have to go with the on-site Olympia caterers who - like motorway service stations - charge 'captive audience' prices over which we have absolutely no control. Because of our license, we're not even allowed to mention the pub across the road - The Hand and Flower - which serves nice food at decent (as in 'London') prices as well as draught beer. And in The Hand and Flower we have a special room hired just for badge wearers to the show to chill out in.
Q: And no Bar?
A: Beer is available at the show but we refer you to the previous answer!
Q: And rucksacks worn by inconsiderate idiots who clout people with them: what can you do about that?
A: Well, we can continue asking people who wear rucksacks to be more considerate, and point out that there is a fully staffed cloakroom on site at which to dump not only your rucksack, but your anorak or anything else you don't want to hump about all day and annoy people with. But big rucksacks and the people who wear them are the bane of any event (and all wargames shows). If you see someone clouting people with a rucksack at Salute, can we suggest you mention the cloakroom in a strident voice and point?
Q: Can we have less fantasy games/more fantasy games etc etc?
A: We get almost exactly the same number of people asking for more of the games they do want (always a positive thing) as opposed to those who want less of the ones they don't like (which is, perhaps, slightly less positive). And it's almost always on the Fantasy/No Fantasy divide. Judging by your responses, we've got the mix on that one just about right. But you all need to bear in mind that - at every Salute, while we exert some control over the games - we are, to a degree, 'hostage' to "Hobson's Choice": clubs will bring what they want to bring.
Q: What about "_ _ _ _ _ _ _" as the free figure for next year?
A: We've had quite a lot of suggestions for the subject matter of the "free give-away" figure (including at least one for a "statue" that would be "useful in any period"). We try to produce a figure that has universal appeal - or as near as we can get it: that's why we painted up the statue versions of the last two figures!! We are considering all options so keep a watch on the website, show leaflet and advertising. Only one person of all the nearly 1000 respondents said they wanted us to ditch the figure and make entry cheaper, but since he indicated on his questionnaire that he wouldn't be coming next year we probably wont take up his suggestion... And anyway, the difference to the entry cost would be irrelevant.
Q: Can you do more for the Queue Busters? It's not too much of a 'buster' if you still have to queue outside!
A: Short of having an individual door for every person trying to get in, we cannot really reduce the queue before the doors open. However, the Queue Buster door this year was cleared in 15 minutes and we did open it ten minutes early. Our opening of the Q Buster door is governed by only one thing: getting the traders "ship shape" so that the Olympia Fire Officer allows us to open the door early. We try every year to get that to happen 15 minutes early and some years we manage it!
Q: Talking of getting into the show, can you make the entry cheaper?
A: Not significantly! The hiring of the hall for one day for Salute, plus the table charge and the £10m insurance bill adds up to a phenomenal amount of money. To give an indication of how much this comes to, if you found out the costs of the hiring halls for the top 10 Wargames shows in the country, and then added them all together, we still don't think it would come close to the cost of hiring Olympia for the day. Never mind a free figure, Salute costs an enormous sum: central London hall rent is an order of magnitude more expensive than halls in Reading, Sheffield or Derby, and - while it offers more trade and more games than any other show - Salute just costs much more to run than other shows and, frankly, someone has to pay for it. That someone is the gamers who come through the door and the traders who rent space. However, the show only costs about as much to get in as a similar two day show in the south (providing one attends both days) so we think it is very 'competitive' in its pricing. Talking of which...
Q: Why don't you hire more space or - better still - run Salute over two days?
A: That's tricky. We've pretty much maxed out the current venue: the only floor left is now the top floor which is only really suitable for role-playing games and is slightly less accessible, but it could be used if we could get it for a price that the customers - the gamers and traders - would be prepared to bear. A two day show is more problematical: the venue for two days is - surprise surprise - double the price of hiring it for one day and that's an awful lot of extra cash to find. But it is something the club has looked at over the years and will undoubtedly revisit on a regular basis.

One area we at the South London Warlords - the club who run the show - have to bear in mind is staffing levels. We don't have the cash to pay staff to run the show or do work on the Friday before (or even to pay for overnight security): that's all done by club members of whom we have a limited number and asking them to work an extra day may just be too much. We are, after all, just a wargames club.

However, Salute will inevitably evolve and change and one of the major factors governing this will be input from the gamers who come. So: many thanks for your input - the gamers who came this year - and we'll see (almost all of) you at Salute Zero Five!

For more feedback sent in via email, click here

John Treadaway
PR Officer
South London Warlords