Why is the conference hotel so expensive?
We could get better rates if we met in January or February. But we don't want to conflict with the meetings of other large societies also of interest to our members (AHA, MLA, CAA), and there would be a greater risk of travel problems due to bad weather.
How do we pick the cities?
Because of the size of our annual meeting, we need to meet in large cities with major airports, otherwise there wouldn't be enough flights to get everyone there and back, and the flights would be too expensive. We try to vary the locations in North America, and every fifth year we hold our meeting in Europe.
Why is there free coffee for breaks and free wifi at some locations but not others?
We provide coffee and wifi whenever we can without raising the registration fee, that is, whenever the hotels and conference centers give it to us for free. At hotel catering rates, a cup of coffee can cost as much as $12. Some hotels still see wifi as a profit center, while others offer it for free, to create goodwill and loyalty. Hopefully, as time goes on, more hotels will join the second group.
At our Boston 2016 meeting, there will be free wifi throughout the Hynes Convention Center, but free wifi only in the lobby of the Park Plaza Hotel, not in the meeting rooms there.
Why do I need to bring my own laptop and adapter to show images in my session?
AV is one of the biggest items in our conference budget. The standard audio-visual setup includes a projector, screen, and basic connecting cables. Adding computers would raise the cost enormously, and there would be no guarantee that the computer provided would have the exact software that you need. The only way to be sure everything will work is to bring your own.
Why was my session scheduled at the same time as other sessions on similar topics? Can’t this be avoided?
In Boston 2016 there will be 686 sessions held over three days. Although that is fewer sessions than we had in New York in 2014 and Berlin in 2015, there still is no way to avoid conflicts between sessions on similar topics. The only solution would be to drastically reduce the size of the annual meeting, and then it wouldn't truly be the society's annual meeting anymore.