One of the things that has been happening more common is the amount of major events on the same weekend. While some conventions try to avoid having a major event on the same weekend as another major because of availability of guests, programming, and also not making fans choose. This is something that is happening more and more because of business reasons and also sometimes to make fans choose. Another major thing is what planning you might have to do for another major event while at another one. Such as thing happened with the SDCC hotel lottery (also known as Hotelpocalypse) during the first day of Star Wars Celebration.
At the end of March there were three major events all happening the same weekend in the United States. Pax East, Wondercon, and Planet ComicCon. These are in Boston, Anaheim, and Kansas.
Whereas most people are gamers and comics/pop culture fans and vice versa, there is a difference in the focus of each convention. Pax East is extremely focused on gaming whereas Wondercon and Planet ComicCon were pop culture focused. With Wondercon having a premiere of the new DC animated movie.
Planet Comicon had a very large amount of media guests from fan favorite shows and movies, a large number of creators, and guest cosplayers.
Each show has its own merits, primary interest group, and also a factor as a local large/mega event.
Which con should you go to has a large number of factors when you think about it.
Going to cons is a privilege especially as it gets harder to get passes for each and in many cases now requires months of advance planning, especially as very little if any programming is announced (including some guests) until a week or two before the con.
A lot of convention planning has to do with financial resources and that is an important thing for fans, businesses, and pros.
Businesses especially some of the larger ones in fandom spaces can hit multiple conventions at once.
There are the expenses of accommodations, badges, and of course travel (which in and of itself can be the largest expense overall). This can be a major factor in where you can go and also to the number of conventions that you can go to.
If you are going as a fan for certain experiences, photo-ops, etc. this is determined by who is coming.
Now what if you are going as a professional or looking to network, perhaps find work in fields?
This makes it more complex especially if you are looking to work in more field more than another.
Pop culture is big business and there is a lot that goes into it at in creasing amount of levels. Gaming (and everything related to gaming conventions) is one of the biggest growth markets and also is one of the most that has some of the larger value items that aren’t in the realm of collectibles. (Gaming has a sort of baseline that you need to have a minimum of hardware, software, etc.)
Increasingly as there are more conventions that are run by for-profits there is also to the opportunity to work for the convention as paid crew. This is something I do with PAX as I am one of the paid temporary staff (known as enforcers at the PAX shows). For people at all stages of their work history working at cons is an excellent experience which can be something to put on the resume, in some like the above make additional money, and also network for new friends and gain experience in additional fields.
Working for/at a con is a major factor in choosing which con to go to. It’s something that has come into factors for me in the past as well as more recently. (Even though I was already working for PAX I was also doing some prelim work for a computer manufacturer which unfortunately turned out to be scam.) This itself was also a factor that came in that does for others, the potential of more “full-time” work.
Various professionals in the convention scene say that they have gotten work from going to cons, staffing, etc. This is true especially when it comes to artists and portfolio reviews and is also possible when some companies actually host job interviews as Blizzard has in the past at Blizzcon.
Though perhaps the biggest thing is the networking and talking with companies, from the big to the small businesses (and individuals) because through the networking you might be presented with new opportunities or be able to provide help to various individuals. This is can lead from everything to fun meeting stories (such as how I met Sam Witwer), to helping save (document a beloved property), to actual work with a variety of individuals and companies, all paid.
The connections made at cons can also come up later when people think about you for your skills, abilities, and other such things.
I bring this up because the connections made do vary at cons, some cons are better for networking and it can completely vary based on your experience. Now you should not think about networking too much when choosing what con to go to but certain things of interest may be more at one con over another, and hence the connections might be better to make there. Such as if cosplay or cosplay related things were a focus of interest, WonderCon had more cosplay overall than Pax East.
Overall when thinking about what cons to go to especially with multiple on each weekend, every weekend think about what you want to accomplish and what you want to do. This can vary for each con and can require a lot of thinking and planning.
You need to do more and more planning for cons, especially bigger ones and all these factors are something to think about.