Something in the Midlands would cover quiet a big area that currently looks unserved? I would come*
*That's not an excuse to not do something in the Midlands
Why not just tell your schools etc that the refundable deposit is the fee for attending? Or have I missed something :)
The middle of the country would be fine for us down here too - Bristol is nearly as far away as Birmingham - and Reading would be lovely :)
I don't know about other schools, but ours is pretty hot on only paying against invoices or official orders. If you assume that others might be the same, then you risk just losing those schools completely.
A non-refundable ticket charge with a gift for the attendee is win-win for most people... £20 is a reasonable fee that almost everyone would be happy with, and if the gifts are reasonable then people will be very happy to attend even if the rest of the conference is a disaster (I'm sure it wouldn't be...)
If the deposit is refundable, on attendance or proper cancelation I.e. Telling someone the week before your schools changed its mind, rather than just a no show then it doesn't matter who pays the deposit.
It's only there to ensure we don't book food etc for far too many people and waste funds.
The idea of charging and freebies could have issues with schools "no gift" policies.
I was thinking along the lines of charging to attend - proper invoice and all - and then refunding "out of the blue" as it were. No school is going to quibble after the event when you walk back in with their £20, are they?
The problem 'I' have is that traditionally we have always provided the conferences for free. This is mainly down to historical reasons in that schools were very unwilling to pay for IT staff to go to events when we first started to host them. It does now seem from some of the feedback so far that this situation may now be changing.
I think though that this then is probably a topic for another day, so if we could get back on track with your preferred conf venue locations we can get back to this further down the line.
Australia would be nice, would be much cheaper than blowing $3-4k on just the flights to get to the hosting country. I have no problem with the refundable fee and would be covering all the expense myself anyway as training is not something that non-teachers get round here.
I'm going for Option 3.
How about setting up a catchment area? So if you live further away than X range from the venue you pay.
Well... it depends. Distance MIGHT be related for some schools as naturally there's the travel costs as well, which if you're claiming them too could in some cases amount to more than the deposit. It's just about shaving some of the costs off.
But then yes, good point, I meant the other way round above... xD
Looks like the international one may still be a 'far off' dream :(
The same goes for the US. With almost 7 million visits a year from the US alone we have the problem of geography to contend with as our largest hitting areas are spread from the west to east coasts meaning we'd have to organise something in them middle putting up transport costs for everyone!