SITE SELECTION SURVEY RESULTS
Char Simser, Denise Novak, and Joyce Tenney
2006/07 Site Selection Committee
We want to thank everyone who took the site selection survey! We had over 330 individuals participate! What a great response!
We heard privately from many NASIG members: some are tired of hearing about site selection; others find it very relevant.
Your comments included many questions and there were many common themes. We are addressing those as part of a Site Selection FAQ which is linked from the Members-Only section of NASIGWeb: http://www.nasig.org/membersonly/index.htm. The complete survey results (without optional comments) are available there, also.
Here are highlights of the survey. So delete now, or read on!
The most important criteria when determining a site are location (48%), major airport nearby (23%), and then price of hotel rooms (21%).
What factors concerning location are important: 37% say proximity to a major airport; 36.5% say geographic location.
48% said you are willing to spend $120-140 a night; 37% say $140-160. A number of individuals say find something under $120.
When we gave you actual dollars based on 2009 costs (2008 costs for Vancouver), Baltimore, Vancouver, and Kansas City received the highest number of votes.
Multiple hotels vs. 1 hotel: 66% said multiple hotels would not make the conference less attractive.
Renting a vehicle to travel to the conference is not an option for 68% if public transportation was not available. 46% of you indicated you would not attend the conference if you had to rent a vehicle.
23% indicate they prefer to drive (or bus/train) less than 45 minutes from airport to conference site; 27% said 1-2 hours max.
88% are willing to have breakfast, lunch and/or other meals on their own if registration could be significantly lowered.
45% said NASIG should only provide 1 reception or sit-down meal (and no other meals) even if conference registration is not significantly different, though quite a few individuals commented on the benefits of joint meals for networking and informal conversation.
134 individuals suggested over 300 potential conference sites. Removing the duplicates, we received approximately 130 unique locales, with Boston, Seattle, Nashville, and Atlanta being suggested by more than 10 individuals. Toronto, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul were each suggested by 7-9 individuals. Please note: hotel rooms in larger cities tend to be on the high end for a group our size so we previously ruled them out. However, since 40% of you indicate an interest in Vancouver, we need to definitely consider the location factor you rate as most important.
Other comments you made (also included on the FAQ):
“People should note that housing costs and registration for professional conferences, such as NASIG may be tax deductible (must itemize, use schedule A, etc.), just as membership in NASIG may be tax deductible.”
“I prefer one hotel, because I enjoy the opportunity to have the unplanned conversation and like the serendipity factor. However, I sometimes chose to stay in a less expensive hotel to save money.”
“The more disbursed we are, the more like ALA, and the less like NASIG, the conference will become.”
“Since I’m relatively new to NASIG, I like the social support of it being easy to find others.”
On meals options:
1. “Eating meals on my own starts to strongly limit the amount of time I spend with other conference attendees”
2. “While I would be willing to have meals on my own I do really enjoy the ability to network at the meals that have been a part of the conference”
3. “Meals on our own sort of defeats the purpose of the idea of a NASIG group dynamic”
4. “Lunch is critical: there has to be an abundance of quick, affordable lunch spots within walking distance” [if NASIG does not provide that meal]
5. “I would prefer to be on my own!”
6. “It is really great to be able to eat at facility where you can meet and greet other NASIGers… I’ve met the most interesting people over informal meals, especially lunch and breakfast, but also would not mind finding my own place to pick up a quick meal if there were places close by”
7. “Would I be willing to pay for my own meals in exchange for cheaper conference registration? Is that the question? Answer: I would prefer not to, as my employer will pay for registration but not meals.”
8. “Hanging out together offered opportunities for genuine communication between the various constituencies. The organization had a really identity based on the ‘bonding’ experiences we all shared at the conferences. In my opinion, moving in the direction of multiple hotels and a convention center just makes us another ALA.”
9. “Decoupling food from the conference is fine. We do this for SLA, ALA, ACRL, Charleston, etc.”
10. “As has been stated many, many times by conference attendees, the professional and social networking is a very important part of the NASIG conference experience. Would be very hard to hang onto that if we’re taking meals away from the meetings.”
11. “Not providing meals significantly limits the ability of students, early-career professionals, and people with limited institutional support to participate in the conference.”
12. “I do not feel NASIG needs to provide any meals.”
13. “Receptions [rather than sit-down meals] offer more mobility and less exclusion.”
14. “Meeting and greeting and continuing discussions over a meal are an integral part of this conference; NASIG provided meals are a good way to talk and mingle with other people. If I ate on my own, I would miss out on a significant part of networking at the conference”
15. “Don’t really care much about this issue.”
16. “Too much chicken” [repeated several times].
One final question and answer to help summarize: Is the point of this survey to see how the membership wants to reduce the cost of the conference, or just to see what people like about the current setup and what they want to change?
Answer: certainly we were hoping for both types of feedback, but one of the bigger issues is to ensure every member understands how we go about choosing a site, how costs are derived (in the one hotel situation), and to determine if we should look beyond the one-hotel model. Our hope is that, in providing some additional background to your questions and comments, you understand the relationships in the overall scheme – how room rates, food & beverage, meeting rooms, AV, etc. – are all intertwined and impact our ability to put on a good conference. Please see Denise Novak’s comments on site selection in the Newsletter blog: https://nasignews.wordpress.com/2007/02/13/221-200703-executive-board-minutes/#comments .
Bottom line: we will never meet everyone’s needs. Please be aware we do listen and we are trying to hold costs down. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.