I’ve been tracking several conferences that have recently changed locations after being held in the same city for several years. Included in this list are: Future in Review (FiRe), VMworld, Web Summit, AdTech and CRM Evolution. They all relocated for different reasons, but all kept attendees in mind when making the decision.  Some hoped the trip would be more convenient due to construction or issues with the previous venue (VMworld); Some were hoping for a different environment (AdTech/West coast); Some just needed more space (Web Summit).  Regardless of the reason, when a conference changes location, attendees and potential speakers should ultimately reevaluate the participation opportunity.

The main points to consider during this evaluation include:

  • Ease of travel – Did the new local just add several hours onto your itinerary? Does it now require an overnight stay?
  • Ability to tie the opportunity to other business – If a conference based in New York (where most of your customers are located) is relocated to Chicago (where you have none), you must consider whether it is still a good use of your time. This is especially true if you had planned to conduct other meetings while you were in town.
  • Headquarters/office locations- Was the conference originally located in a region where you have branch offices or company headquarters?  If you planned to visit staff or work from another location during your trip, you may need to reconsider the travel it if that is no longer an option.
  • Effect on other attendees – If you had planned to attend a San Francisco event due to the number of tech companies or start ups who would surely be there and the conference moves to a location like Phoenix, where the tech/entrepreneurial community may be much smaller, will this effect conference attendance and the types of attendees you would be networking with?
  • Cost – This can be a big factor for smaller firms or start-ups who have already budgeted out their conference/travel dollars for the year.  An event in New York may offer more networking opportunities, but the cost of the hotel – and most everything else – may be considerably more than another location.

Even if you decide to stick with your original itinerary and attend, it is always helpful to take the time to reconsider whether the event will still meet your original business goals and whether you will get the same return from your investment – whether it is measured in money or time.

For more questions or answers on this topic contact Scarlino Speaker Strategies