Charles Stricklin, Mr. WordPress Podcast, has been putting up some amazing posts with regard to running a WordCamp. Unlike most Barcamps, WordCamp was set up very much like a traditional conference, but Charles didn’t have hundreds of thousands in free money floating around.
His posts are very informative, and have tips, tricks and thoughts that could help conference organizers from small to super large. Thus far he has only put up two sections of his series, but they are both amazing and deserve your time and attention.
Here’s a rather long, but mind blowing sample from one of the posts:
Suppose you expect 500 people to register for and attend your WordCamp. You ask the hotel for a meeting room or auditorium capable of seating 500 people. They tell you they’ll let you use The Fluer De Lies Ballroom, which accommodates 500 people nicely, for free if you agree to a 250 room block. They explain that their normal rate for rooms during the dates you’ve chosen for your WordCamp normally run USD$150/night, but your attendees will be able to rent rooms at a rate of USD$110/night. They then tell you the percentage of rooms rented is 75%. You agree to their terms, and you sign the contract.
Here’s what that all means: You’ve just agreed to ensure that 75% of 250 (or 188 rooms) will be rented for 2 nights at a rate of USD$110/night. You’ve just agreed to ensure that the hotel will receive $41, 630.00 when then contract comes due. “So what?”, you ask, “Probably half the people who’ll attend will be from out of town. Maybe so, maybe not, but how many people will blanch at paying USD$110/night and go on Priceline.com or some other service and find a cheaper hotel and stay there? There are even reports of other hotels advertising on Google, making it appear to be the official hotel for the conference when they’re really not.
Using the previous example, let’s say 100 people stay at the official hotel the first night and 50 of them check out, choosing not to stay the 2nd night. That’s 150 room nights. You’d agreed to 376 room nights. You’re liable for the remainder: 226 room nights at USD$110 = USD$24,860.00, and they’ll charge you fees and taxes on top of that.