SETTING THE MEETING DATES
Please check with GSA headquarters before committing to dates.
You can avoid attendance headaches if you determine far in advance whether dates and locations of other section meetings and meetings with related interests will conflict with yours. You might also find that, should overlapping with another section occur, you and the other section officers can work out changes that would benefit attendance for both sections.
You should be aware of qualities that make the meeting attractive or unattractive business for the hotel or convention center, and attendees. Here are some of the points to be considered:
Time of Year
April, May, and October are the most popular convention months in most cities, so groups meeting then may pay higher rates than those meeting in January or July. (This rule may vary slightly in resort properties.)
Weekend vs. Weekday Meetings
Many convention hotels are busy all week, but virtually empty on weekends. The group that shows a willingness to arrive Friday and depart Sunday should have the edge in negotiations. Conversely, a group arriving Monday or Tuesday and departing Thursday is not very welcome at a hotel that prefers to accommodate two groups over that same period.
Most groups do not wish to meet immediately before, during or after holidays, so rates are often lower for groups willing to meet during that time. Use the long-range calendars in this section for your planning.
Beware of local holidays and festivals that can conflict with your meeting. For example, St. Patrick's Day is a big day in New York City. People flock to the city to see the parade, and hotel space is at a premium. Local holidays, festivals, or sporting events also can affect any outside services you may need, and transportation may be slowed.
Spring Break and university schedules should be considered when determining a date for the meeting. But, this has a downside in that you may find it difficult to get student volunteers during breaks.
Holiday “off-periods” for domestic metropolitan hotels are Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving weeks. Some holidays now have been moved to make three-day celebrations. If your membership is interested in holiday periods for your meeting, these periods may save you money. You might compete for facilities with local events planned during your meeting, but the added promotional value of a major local event could boost your attendance substantially.
Overlap with Other Scientific Meetings
AGI publishes a calendar of events that runs up to two years ahead. One purpose of these calendars is to help avoid the possibility of related meetings being scheduled in conflict with each other.
Standardization of Section Meeting Dates
Official meeting dates are to be restricted to the days of the volunteered technical sessions ONLY. Pre- and post-meeting field trips are not to be included in the official meeting dates.