If you’ve never served on a conference planning committee, you may have a hard time appreciating what our conference planning committee has gone through for the past several months. The hard-earned success of the 2018 ADC was barely behind us when we started discussions about dates and a location for 2019.
Finding the Right Venue
Feedback at the 2018 event told us there were a number of people wanting to return to the coast. We also wanted to consider a venue closer to the bulk of our local chapters in the northern tier of the state to see if such closer proximity would generate more attendance. We asked our meeting planner to get proposals from a variety of venues across the state. These included Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham (2 venues), Montgomery, Mobile, and the Gulf Coast (3 venues).
A number of the venues had trouble finding acceptable dates for us. This ended up ruling out the venues on the coast. The conference business is apparently booming these days. Some of the venues didn’t propose acceptable terms that would help us be successful with the conference. After reviewing all the proposals, the Committee has selected the Hyatt Regency (The Wynfrey) in Birmingham. It’s a destination venue for shopping and dining, and attendees will find the room rates to be very attractive.
When to Hold the Conference
Spring in Montgomery works if we want to be visible for the legislative session, but if we were going to be somewhere other than Montgomery, Spring was not a necessity. and to choose Spring meant we had less than a year to do the planning. So we expanded our initial requests for proposals to cover fall dates.
We originally selected dates in October 2019. We thought we had been good at avoiding a conflict with the National Conference that year, but immediately discovered our chosen dates were within days of National. That was not acceptable. So back to the hotel to find different dates. Our meeting planner worked very hard for us on this point. We have now settled on September 8–11, 2019.
We know that there will be some of you disappointed that we won’t be at the beach in 2019. But Birmingham is a great destination, with attractions ranging from the Civil Rights Museum to the Barber Motor Sports Complex. It also has a dining scene that’s attracting national attention. and I can tell you we are going to be getting an early start on selecting a venue for 2020, and the Gulf Coast will receive priority consideration.
Get Involved
The planning committee is looking for volunteers to serve on a number of sub-committees. The committees with open positions are as follows:
Accessibility CommitteeEvent Sponsorship CommitteeExhibit CommitteeLocal Arrangements CommitteeProgram CommitteePublic Relations CommitteeRegistration & Stipends CommitteeRespite CommitteeVolunteer CommitteeAwards Committee
If you want to help shape the 2019 conference and contribute to its success, contact Gena Richardson at gena@thearcofal.org.