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
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.