Behind the Scenes of the Annual Conference.Your Registration Fee in Action!

By Wallace, Richard | Information Outlook, March 2000 | Go to article overview

Behind the Scenes of the Annual Conference.Your Registration Fee in Action!


Wallace, Richard, Information Outlook


Have you ever considered all that goes into to producing an SLA annual conference and all that you receive for your registration fee? Well, as Treasurer, I certainly have, and I thought I would share this knowledge with you since it's quite impressive.

An amount of nearly $1.5 million of the association's budget is allocated to be spent on the Philadelphia conference. (see box)

As an aside, I thought I would share some eye-opening figures I have learned in my treasurer's role of reviewing the detailed conference budgets. You may wonder why a simple thing such as coffee is not served at every morning function. I have discovered the answer to this mystery...the price of a cup of coffee charged by a hotel or convention service center is upwards of ten times the price of the street or coffee shop vendor. A similar pricing structure applies when purchasing meal functions, refreshment breaks, and onsite technology such as computers, audio systems, and projection screens.

There are also substantial rental fees associated with the exhibit halls, ballrooms, general session facilities, and other function spaces. The labor costs associated with the hotels and convention centers also carry a hefty price tag. For example, every time a room is re-set or equipment is changed there is a labor costs attached. By contract obligations, a staff member or program facilitator is not free to make changes without going through the appropriate local labor force.

Do we collect $1.5 million of registration income? Quite the contrary. The registration fees represent only half of the income necessary to produce the annual conference.

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