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First things first

Kelzie

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We have to decide on the characteristics we will be looking at for various places. Since price is going to be the biggest hurdle, the obvious ones are hotel room costs, meeting center costs, some catered meals, and airline tickets. The last one will be a little harder to estimate but something in the East will have a lower cost for most of the people wanting to go. If you think of anything else we should be looking at before we do a budget proposal, post away!
 

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Time: What is duration of convention? A single day? An evening? All weekend?

Places: Many folks would prefer to solo after hours and tag this on as part of their vacation. Places to do/see should be on top list. Close to many? Close airport?

Charges: Door prizes? Guest speakers? Group discount lodging if paid in advance?

Entertainment: Card games? Live band? Beer?

Really just brainstoming.
I think we should establish a goal then look for a place and see what would be doable or not.
 

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vauge said:
Time: What is duration of convention? A single day? An evening? All weekend?

Places: Many folks would prefer to solo after hours and tag this on as part of their vacation. Places to do/see should be on top list. Close to many? Close airport?

Charges: Door prizes? Guest speakers? Group discount lodging if paid in advance?

Entertainment: Card games? Live band? Beer?

Really just brainstoming.
I think we should establish a goal then look for a place and see what would be doable or not.
Time: at least a weekend. I ain't flying my *** out somewhere for an evening! I was thinking a three day weekend.

Places: An interesting place should take precedence over a boring place. But if that interesting place costs $200 a night for hotel rooms...well...

Charges: I'm sure most places will (hopefully) have a group discount, We're going to have to do a bit of research to figure out the total costs.

Entertainment: You've already suggested the debate. Which is a great idea. jallman also suggested a "roast" dinner, which could also be a lot of fun. I think we have plenty of creativity, both from the committee and the rest of the interested people to think of activities.
 

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Oh boy, brainstorming......

Time: Like Kelzie said, I think three days would be ideal. If we shoot for October, Columbus Day weekend would be a good goal. A lot of folks would already have three or four day weekends for that, so they wouldn't need to take vacation time, and it's not such a popular holiday that places would be booked solid, nor would prices be outrageously jacked up.

Places: Most of the cities that have been suggested thus far are good touristy sorts of spots. Vegas, D.C., New York, Boston, Philly. All have historical stuff, barring Vegas, really; and all also have plenty of other attractions as well.

Charges: americanwoman mentioned that she's a travel agent, so she could probably help us with perhaps a group discount with a hotel. Also, if we used the hotel's conference rooms, rather than renting out a whole convention center, they might have some sort of package deal with that, maybe even with some catering thrown in. What about airline discounts, if we were all able to book our flights together? I know we wouldn't all be flying out of the same place, but it might be worth looking into.

Entertainment: A number of our members play instruments, perhaps we could have them play a bit, maybe even make a contest out of it....

Another angle on this that I mentioned to Kelzie would be making sure that we'd have some sort of childcare available. I'm sure plenty of folks would love to bring their spouses and children, but toddlers would be bouncing off the walls and older children would get a bit bored, I imagine. And some of us wouldn't even have the option of leaving the kids home...I wouldn't have anyone that could watch the baby for me (if hubby isn't able to come, it'd be because he'd have to work, so I couldn't just leave the baby with him), nor would I even feel comfortable leaving my baby that soon!! Just another thing to keep in mind.
 

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Time: I think Stace's idea about having it over columbus day holiday is solid. She is right about having the time off and about it not being a big vacationing holiday. Another thing about the time...what times are we going to have events...is it going to be an evening thing or will we have the events during the day? If we have our convention events and meetings during the day, it will a lot cheaper to reserve rooms in the hotel for the event. Rental of ballroom/banquet/meeting rooms goes up considerably at night from what I understand.

Places: Any of the places suggested have been good...but keep in mind washington and NYC are going to be pricey. Although if we are bent on NYC (which would make it more accessible to our european members), we could always consider having it in one of the burroughs around NYC, making it more affordable and still leaving NYC accessible by the train. And I dont particularly care to drive into NYC anyway. (I will be back on the east coast this fall).

Charges: I have given this a lot of thought actually...I think registration packages are the way to go. We offer registration (both an early deadline and then a general deadline) and come up with different packages to make it most affordable...like a premium package that will pay for both hotel and registration costs along with a dinner (perhaps the roast I suggested or the member musicians "concert", a standard package that includes hotel and just the meetings/debates, and then a registration that just pays for the event and leaves the accommodations to the guest. Once we get some ideas of costs, then we can create a budget and figure out how to optimize the registration revenue...and an early registration will give up capital to reserve facilities well in advance, which will make renting them cheaper.

Entertainment: Of course we will want to have events like a dinner with maybe a show or music like we suggested...but if we are in an interesting city, like vauge said, a lot of people will want to find their own entertainment, especially in the evenings. The only suggestion I can come up with for the entertainment is the banquet roast and even use it as a mini fundraiser for the forum costs and maybe to make a small donation to a local charity...good PR for the forum :cool:
 

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Stace said:
Oh boy, brainstorming......

Time: Like Kelzie said, I think three days would be ideal. If we shoot for October, Columbus Day weekend would be a good goal. A lot of folks would already have three or four day weekends for that, so they wouldn't need to take vacation time, and it's not such a popular holiday that places would be booked solid, nor would prices be outrageously jacked up.
When is the Columbus Day weekend? I don't think too many people get that weekend off, but regardless, just about anytime in October that isn't Halloween should be a good time. It's not too close to Christmas - around which time money could be a factor for some people. I know it is for me. Weather should still be fairly temperate just about anywhere.

A three day weekend starting on a Friday evening would be ideal.
Places: Most of the cities that have been suggested thus far are good touristy sorts of spots. Vegas, D.C., New York, Boston, Philly. All have historical stuff, barring Vegas, really; and all also have plenty of other attractions as well.
The more I think of it, the more I like the idea of DC - for the obvious thematic reasons. Plus, aps & oldreliable both live in the area and would be able to help a lot with logistical details and advice. And I would feel very comfortable with them making a commitment to help pull this together without flaking out on us. I think having reliable people "on the ground," so to speak, would be very beneficial in making this happen without last minute surprises and miscalculations.
Charges: americanwoman mentioned that she's a travel agent, so she could probably help us with perhaps a group discount with a hotel. Also, if we used the hotel's conference rooms, rather than renting out a whole convention center, they might have some sort of package deal with that, maybe even with some catering thrown in. What about airline discounts, if we were all able to book our flights together? I know we wouldn't all be flying out of the same place, but it might be worth looking into.
Airfare: I'm kind of at a loss for this one. I certainly think it's worth seeing if americanwoman can help with this in any way. Although I can't imagine how. Otherwise, Southwest and JetBlue have the most reasonable rates....of course they don't fly out of everywhere, though.

Hotel: I think Stace is right and we should look into a self-contained venue - a hotel and a small ballroom or conference room. I am sure americanwoman could help us with this. I don't know about the hotel throwing the catering in, but really, just one catered dinner would be sufficient....maybe the Saturday night? Otherwise we could meet up at a local restaurant and take care of our own bill the other evening. I am certain that our budget will be tight and no one will be expecting a fully accommodated weekend.
Entertainment: A number of our members play instruments, perhaps we could have them play a bit, maybe even make a contest out of it....
That could be fun.....we could do a sort-of DP talent show and Awards Ceremony on the Saturday night of the dinner. Would need tech assistance for all that.

If we were in DC, I think it might be fun to tour together......maybe (just had a flash of touring the White House with jamesrage, lol). Possibly we could provide a continental breakfast that morning.
Another angle on this that I mentioned to Kelzie would be making sure that we'd have some sort of childcare available. I'm sure plenty of folks would love to bring their spouses and children, but toddlers would be bouncing off the walls and older children would get a bit bored, I imagine. And some of us wouldn't even have the option of leaving the kids home...I wouldn't have anyone that could watch the baby for me (if hubby isn't able to come, it'd be because he'd have to work, so I couldn't just leave the baby with him), nor would I even feel comfortable leaving my baby that soon!! Just another thing to keep in mind.
Some hotels provide child care......depending on how many people bring children we could probably work something out.
 

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Man I was really hoping for the summer. I hate skipping classes. *sigh* Oh well.
 

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Kelzie said:
Man I was really hoping for the summer. I hate skipping classes. *sigh* Oh well.
Well, if we all fly home on Sunday night, you might not miss too many classes, right? Perhaps just the Friday and the Monday if you need a day to recuperate.
 

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mixedmedia said:
A three day weekend starting on a Friday evening would be ideal.

The more I think of it, the more I like the idea of DC - for the obvious thematic reasons. Plus, aps & oldreliable both live in the area and would be able to help a lot with logistical details and advice. And I would feel very comfortable with them making a commitment to help pull this together without flaking out on us. I think having reliable people "on the ground," so to speak, would be very beneficial in making this happen without last minute surprises and miscalculations.
That makes total sense. I think we wouldnt find better people than aps and oldreliable to be recon people for us and DC is a blast for both historical/cultural things and just fun times partying. I am down for another spin around Dupont circle LOL

Airfare: I'm kind of at a loss for this one. I certainly think it's worth seeing if americanwoman can help with this in any way. Although I can't imagine how. Otherwise, Southwest and JetBlue have the most reasonable rates....of course they don't fly out of everywhere, though.

My personal take on the travel accomodations is that they should be left solely to the guest. It would be a logistical nightmare for us to even try to coordinate something like that. Now if americanwoman were to offer her input and even arrange travel for people at great rates independent of this comittee, that would be awesome for both her business and the guests who want use that resource.

Hotel: I think Stace is right and we should look into a self-contained venue - a hotel and a small ballroom or conference room. I am sure americanwoman could help us with this. I don't know about the hotel throwing the catering in, but really, just one catered dinner would be sufficient....maybe the Saturday night? Otherwise we could meet up at a local restaurant and take care of our own bill the other evening. I am certain that our budget will be tight and no one will be expecting a fully accommodated weekend.
Yead definitely a facility that is self contained. Most hotels offer a continental breakfast to their guests anyway, so we probably wont be worrying about that so much. Maybe a welcome dinner on friday and then some early evening entertainment event on Saturday. Break for lunch and leave that to the guest during the convention/meetings/debating events. I really dont think a fully accomodated weekend is expected either.

That could be fun.....we could do a sort-of DP talent show and Awards Ceremony on the Saturday night of the dinner. Would need tech assistance for all that.
I think that would be a lot of fun. Even to pay for that we could include it in the cost of registration or we could have it be a pay event...like pay for a plate and the entertainment is provided event. Either way, alcohol tabs should be left to the guest for any event that has it just to keep our costs down.

If we were in DC, I think it might be fun to tour together......maybe (just had a flash of touring the White House with jamesrage, lol). Possibly we could provide a continental breakfast that morning.
That sounds like a blast. The smithsonians are in DC also...tons of stuff to do like that and I bet DC would be one of the easiest cities to find tour services for really cheap. That would save us some planning if we could hand a large block of time over to a local tour company to fill with sight-seeing and maybe some kind of historic show. Takes care of the whole touristy thing people will want to get in.

Some hotels provide child care......depending on how many people bring children we could probably work something out.
I'm sure securing childcare wont be that big of a problem when we have those needs fully identified.
 

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mixedmedia said:
Well, if we all fly home on Sunday night, you might not miss too many classes, right? Perhaps just the Friday and the Monday if you need a day to recuperate.
Yeah I guess. I really wish more people had participated in the "when" poll. I was thinking of repolling with the top four, but since so few participated the first time, I dunno. Right now it's a tie between August and October I believe.
 

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Kelzie said:
Yeah I guess. I really wish more people had participated in the "when" poll. I was thinking of repolling with the top four, but since so few participated the first time, I dunno. Right now it's a tie between August and October I believe.
The farther out we set it, the more time we have to maximize the budget in-take from people signing up. But if we set it earlier, we might get more people signing up quicker, which would even out.
 

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jallman said:
The farther out we set it, the more time we have to maximize the budget in-take from people signing up. But if we set it earlier, we might get more people signing up quicker, which would even out.
I'm worried about setting it so far in the future that people lose interest. Six months is a long time to just be discussing it.
 

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Kelzie said:
I'm worried about setting it so far in the future that people lose interest. Six months is a long time to just be discussing it.
Not really...I dont think. Six months is a very short time to plan an event for people coming from all over the country and possibly the world.
 

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jallman said:
Not really...I dont think. Six months is a very short time to plan an event for people coming from all over the country and possibly the world.
I think if this committee makes announcments *often* - then it will not be forgotten.

I also think if we make banners and pics about the event then it will keep the interest as well.
 

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vauge said:
I think if this committee makes announcments *often* - then it will not be forgotten.

I also think if we make banners and pics about the event then it will keep the interest as well.
Plus we want to give everyone time to plan and save for travel arrangements...and then time still to make their arrangements in advance to get the best fares. I know I like to buy all my travel tickets at least 3 months in advance.
 

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jallman said:
Plus we want to give everyone time to plan and save for travel arrangements...and then time still to make their arrangements in advance to get the best fares. I know I like to buy all my travel tickets at least 3 months in advance.
Bingo. I did some searching around today, just playing with a few possibilities, and if I booked something now, as an example, it'd cost me a little over $200 to fly into D.C. A flight from California to D.C. in the same time frame yielded slightly higher airfares, but that's to be expected. Of course, if we stuck with the East Coast thing, I could also cut my expenses by driving. Money's tight for us right now, so the cheaper, the better - and I imagine that's true for a good portion of our members (broke college students come to mind :mrgreen: ) Of course, the more members we can get committed to coming, the cheaper it'll be for all involved as far as the registration fees and such.

Oh, and Mixey, Columbus Day weekend is October 7-9 (Saturday through Monday). Of course, if folks were to have a long weekend (federal workers would for sure), they'd still have to take a vacation day for Friday if we went that route, but it'd also give them Monday as a freebie day to be home and unwind from the trip, so looking at it that way, it makes the most sense in my mind.

As far as timing of events, we could perhaps have an introductory dinner sort of thing Friday night; that could be a simple affair, perhaps even just pick up some party subs and such from a Subway or Quiznos, maybe even just order a bunch of pizzas. Something very fun and relaxed just to initially break the ice. Saturday morning we could maybe meet after breakfast, do a live debate sort of thing, break for the afternoon for some tours or for members to do their own sightseeing, and meet again for dinner, something a bit more elaborate this time, and do maybe the roast idea with live entertainment provided afterwards by our members. As far as tech support for that sort of thing, most hotels have a lot of that stuff wired into their conference rooms permanently, and it's not hard at all to set up.....I have experience with all of the required equipment, as would at least a few of our musically inclined members. If the hotel didn't have the stuff permanently set up, I'm sure the use of it (assuming they own the equipment) could be worked into the rental fee; otherwise, checking out an outside rental might not be a bad option.

Anyway, getting back on track.....we could have the dinner early enough so that folks would have some time to get in some nighttime sightseeing before hitting the hay, and we could reconvene Sunday morning for a breakfast, maybe do a little awards thing, and break it up early enough so that those with earlier flights home would have time to catch those flights, and the others could squeeze in some more sightseeing before they too had to leave.
 

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Stace said:
Bingo. I did some searching around today, just playing with a few possibilities, and if I booked something now, as an example, it'd cost me a little over $200 to fly into D.C. A flight from California to D.C. in the same time frame yielded slightly higher airfares, but that's to be expected. Of course, if we stuck with the East Coast thing, I could also cut my expenses by driving. Money's tight for us right now, so the cheaper, the better - and I imagine that's true for a good portion of our members (broke college students come to mind :mrgreen: ) Of course, the more members we can get committed to coming, the cheaper it'll be for all involved as far as the registration fees and such.
Exactly, and the earlier we can set a registration fee, the earlier we can sign people up and generate capital for securing the event facilities. I know I keep harping on the money thing, but until we have some capital or at least a plan for obtaining that capital, this is really all just a well-intentioned pipe dream.
 

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jallman said:
Exactly, and the earlier we can set a registration fee, the earlier we can sign people up and generate capital for securing the event facilities. I know I keep harping on the money thing, but until we have some capital or at least a plan for obtaining that capital, this is really all just a well-intentioned pipe dream.
I'll put together some estimates on Monday. We also need to figure out where we are going to put the money. It appears that July/August is leading now in "when", but we'll just have to see if we can get it organized by then.

It seems what I keep hearing is "cheap". So once we get some price estimates from the five top places (looks like NYC, Vegas, Chicago, DC, and somewhere in Florida) I say we go with the cheapest one. After that, we can start the business of reserving hotels/meeting centers and selling our package deals.

Thoughts?
 

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I can't do June, I have my son's wedding, and July is my most important month for my job, unless it was close by, but I don't want to hold up the process, and I can make adjustments, as I am the boss, but I would prefer not to have it in June, or July.;)
 

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yeah, June is too soon I think.
 

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vauge said:
yeah, June is too soon I think.
Plus I have Cubs tickets, I know, I'll shut up now, but August seems about right, I don't know why, but it feels right to me.
 

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August would be a no-no for me, unless the venue was close enough for me to reasonably be able to drive the distance. No flying allowed for me that late in the pregnancy!! But whatever we decide is best, even if I can't attend because of things like that, I'm still happy to help out with the planning.
 

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Stace said:
August would be a no-no for me, unless the venue was close enough for me to reasonably be able to drive the distance. No flying allowed for me that late in the pregnancy!! But whatever we decide is best, even if I can't attend because of things like that, I'm still happy to help out with the planning.
No no, we must have our first DP baby there, and I am sure you would rather have child in hand, then still expected, that way you can drink!;)

Oh my, so many considerations huh, but let's do it right, and make sure everyone can come, and have a good time.......I mean, none of us is going anywhere.:2wave:
 

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Deegan said:
No no, we must have our first DP baby there, and I am sure you would rather have child in hand, then still expected, that way you can drink!;)

Oh my, so many considerations huh, but let's do it right, and make sure everyone can come, and have a good time.......I mean, none of us is going anywhere.:2wave:
Very true. Well, if the first DP baby is really that important (and you're right, I'd rather have baby in hand than be waddling around like a cow!!), October is still ideal for me...that will give me at least 2-3 weeks of recovery after delivery, if not a little longer, so I'd be more up to making a trip. My only concern with October, as Kelzie has brought up, is college kids missing classes, and parents that want to bring their children would probably also have to pull their kids out of class for a day.

Then again, if we did it in July, we could have a DP baby shower in person!!! :2razz:
 

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Stace said:
Very true. Well, if the first DP baby is really that important (and you're right, I'd rather have baby in hand than be waddling around like a cow!!), October is still ideal for me...that will give me at least 2-3 weeks of recovery after delivery, if not a little longer, so I'd be more up to making a trip. My only concern with October, as Kelzie has brought up, is college kids missing classes, and parents that want to bring their children would probably also have to pull their kids out of class for a day.

Then again, if we did it in July, we could have a DP baby shower in person!!! :2razz:
There's also gunny. I believe he is deploying after summer. I'm thinking East Coast is most feasible, so it will be in driving distance for you. That and as nice as it would be to see the first DP baby, it would also be nice for you to not have to deal with a newborn. :mrgreen:
 
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