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post #94 of (permalink) Old 05-18-2008, 07:36 PM
Pat Braden
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AROC Convention Planner's Thread

Originally Posted by Alex Csank View Post
1. I'm not sure, but I believe that may just be the longest sentence I have seen here on the BB.
At least I gave you commas and semi-colons to breathe. Pat used to call me "run-on queen" when he would edit my papers. The facts were all there, but could have been structurally expressed better grammatically. We all need an editor like Dave Johnson who has an excellent command of the language, grammar, and can express the thought so that it is understood without the nit-picking and bantering.

Originally Posted by AlexCsank
2. I never "restricted" anything...especially about lessons learned from past conventions! But Cheryl, your post about Chicago was (to me) clearly a dig at the planners of the current convention. You have also written the same kind of complaint on other threads. Please go take that elsewhere. What I think would be FAR more constructive, would be to suggest that convention prices should be kept low, to help make conventions accessible to as many AROC members as possible.
Apparently, the thought came across pretty clearly to Dave and he responded to it with why their venues and prices are more expensive this year. And it was not intended as a "dig" as you indicate; simply what I have heard from others and which has been posted by others to the bb about as Carm indicated "boycotting" the banquet and awards luncheon because of the price.

Originally Posted by AlexCsank
3. Negative feedback?!?! Well, I guess that is YOUR specialty. But, that really isn't very useful to me - or others, I think - as I am trying to get a collaborative effort going with help from everyone who has convention planning experience. Have you ever planned a convention? I know that there are lots of others who do have planning experience...and their perspective is really important to me and anyone else getting ready (or thinking about getting ready) to plan a convention. Scaring them off isn't going to help anyone! Why not try some positive feedback instead?
My specialty is run-on sentences and analysis, which you seem to interpret as negative feedback. I know two of you that graduated from the same academy where auditing and accounting are not taught.

Well, I suppose committing the same type of funds as Carm posted to a wedding of Pat and my oldest daughter with a larger attendance return than Carm has so far doesn't count for much, including blocking off the hotel rooms for out of town guests, getting the dj, flowers, food, photographer and other miscellaneous items all there at the right time and not to mention that the wedding coordinator changed jobs mid-way through the process. Further considerations: dresses, tuxes, hair, make-up etc. It took about a year to plan and tie-down with 4 of us working on it, all working more than 40 hours a week at regular jobs. And not to forget how many catered recitals.....

I suppose arranging and planning receptions for astronauts wouldn't count in that category either because it was not AROC specific in either case.

Btw, when I plan, my spread sheets balance to the penny.

Originally Posted by Alex Csank
4. I believe your suggestion about having a convention survey could prove very useful. I will try and incorporate an online survey should our chapter's bid for 2010 be successful.
AFAIK there are no competitors lurking in the short of having a proposal that is some how deficient in some area, I don't foresee a problem of your chapter getting it.

Originally Posted by alfadj2600 View Post
...This is where Cheryl's point is so important - we need more transparency and availability of information about what worked and what didn't for previous conventions. What events they had that were success stories and what bombed. A better understanding of what advance commitments were needed to secure hotel space, a track, etc. Also, given the fact that the convention proceeds are a source of income to AROC, it might be worth considering an arrangement with an event consultant to help guide the local chapters in creating a successful event financially. The result could be greater attendances and satisfied AROC members and sufficient profits to more than cover the consultancy costs. If that proves too expensive, how about having a convention chair on the national BoD to establish some historical records and work with the host chapter to guide them through the process? We should certainly be able to improve on the current state of affairs.

Dave J.
CAROC convention co-chair
I have been corresponding with some off-line, and Dave has made some important points regarding information that I "snipped" from his post to meet Alex's, "You don't have to repost the entire quote;" and there are certain variables that no chapter no matter how well thought through or careful their planning is that can be accounted for. The major one is, of course, personal choice and just where that individual's line is for too much as far as expense, which can be determined by where they live, what they had alloted for vacation or this expense, what their normal habits are or what they're accustomed to as far as food, lodging etc. Then the variable that no one could have planned for which effects in one way or another pretty much everyone coming to the convention and that's the expense of fuel, whether you are driving and from how far; and for the other contingent having it tacked on to airfares. For example, a ticket round trip from where I live to Chicago on March 29th was $288, non-stop on a recognized Airline, that ticket is now between $459-$525 depending on the time you pick to fly and does not include extra baggage charges and a host of other things, plus getting to the hotel, which does not have a shuttle service or renting a car. So there are expenses beyond the hotel and convention expenses once you get there.

On statistics, while I have some, they are far from complete and I've been chasing my tail for about the last two weeks trying to put things together that I've received from various people. What I've discovered is that there is apparently no specified reporting structure for attendance at conventions, which I would consider a pretty important incremental item in planning. Some report paid attendance, some don't report comp'd rooms and those that had others pay for their attendance or were given a guest write-off, some add non-paid, walk-ins to their totals, meaning they stay somewhere else or don't register for the convention and do the free things. Some base attendance on banquet attendance or some average of all or some of those. Trying to find any consistency in the attendance base is a nightmare. It appears that no one has kept attendance figures from the beginning in any recognized and consistent manner, let alone being able to compare paid to non-paid as it pertains to membership dues increases etc. over time. At this point, I'm not going to start reading 50 years of Alfa Owners for the figures that are normally reported the month after the convention.

For future convention planning that makes it very difficult to base anything on previous unreliable attendance figures. For instance, I've come within 9 people on the Detroit convention final attendance figure. On New Hampshire's there is a 150 person difference between paid and walk-ins. The Ft. Lauderdale shows 150 registered paid attendees, but yet they had 300 at the banquet. How do those figures even go together? But an even bigger question who on the board is accepting reporting like this and calling it adequate?

But the most important thing in all of this is that AROC be supported and survive to have other conventions. I don't know how to word that positively, so I'll wait for Alex to come back and criticize me: Bad news travels fast. If the CAROC convention is not successful, should lose money, etc. it will be hard to get other chapters to put their personal chapter finances or personal finances on the line to support a convention and its expenses for the enjoyment of other Alfisti, who probably do not understand or appreciate what goes into planning and putting on a convention. Therefore, the reason there should be transparency as Dave put it about finances and expenses, which I refer to as full and adequate disclosure.

CAROC should be applauded for the undertaking and planning of what could and should be a wonderful 50th Anniversary Celebration of AROC and its history. It should be a convention of a lifetime, probably not to be repeated in my lifetime. If at all possible, anyone that is on the fence should come and enjoy the fun, and experience what a convention is, and especially, one that is commemorating such an important event in AROC history.

(Not an authority nor SME
on anything, just PATSYF)

Last edited by Pat Braden; 05-18-2008 at 07:42 PM.
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