Can we hear a drum roll! Badabadabada!
Let's get some trumpet fanfare! Du-dun-da-da!
The location of the YearlyKos Convention 2006 is...
(Do I hear the ghost of Elvis?)
June 8-11, 2006
For those of you who did not want to go to Las Vegas, we want you to know that we take your concerns very seriously.
Chicago is clearly an exciting and beloved place. If we were comparing cities alone, the tip of the hat would most probably go to Chicago...for one thing, there's no Celine Dion there. (If we've offended any Celine Dion fans, we're sure your heart will go on.)
Of the over 1500 votes we got, Chicago did come out slightly less than 100 votes ahead. But, to be fair, poll results while the first diary was on the recommended list showed Vegas ahead. The votes that put Chicago over the top trickled in after the diary was off the recommended list, which left us with a fairly level field of opinion.
Like most everything else in the world today, the decision ultimately came down to costs. Our Pre-Registered users declared a clear preference on cost. 84% stated that affordability and cost effectiveness should be a priority for the Convention. This is direct feedback from people who are highly likely to attend the Convention.
But before we get down to price information, let's chat about the biggest strike against Las Vegas in many of your comments: gambling and the lack of family-friendly atmosphere in "Sin City." Yes, there are lots of grownups drinking, smoking and betting the nest egg on a roll of the dice. There's no getting around it and there's no avoiding it, but there are ways of minimizing it, and we want those to whom this was the paramount concern to help us do so.
Our event maven Anika Culici visited the Riviera and checked out some family-oriented activities for convention attendees with or without kids. Please click here for a short sample of what Las Vegas has to offer families. These are just a few of the most obvious options; we have a team gathering information on more. There will be plenty of activities for families and non-gamblers alike, and we call on all of you to help us discover and plan even more!
Another concern voiced against "the city that the mob built" was that the public perception of the event might be compromised by holding it in such a frivolous and Cirque du Soleil-infected place. In answer to those concerns we are providing the following partial list of organizations hosting conventions in Las Vegas this summer (* indicates conference to be held at the Riviera). For a full list, visit the LVCVA Website
- *Blacks in Government Regional Conference
- Boys and Girls Clubs of America
- Transport Workers Union of America
- Hispanic Business Magazine Woman of the Year Conference
- *International Assoc. of Ministers
- National Association of Women in Construction
- Women,s Business Enterprises National Council
- National Association of Minority Contrac
- American Adoption Congress
- Young Republicans
- International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
- FBI Agents Association
- 4th Infantry Division Association
- Children of Deaf Adults International
- CA School Employees Association
- Bibliotheque World Wide Society
- Disabled American Veterans Association
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Now to the boring but decisive cost issue: we'll start with savings to individuals. The average per-ticket saving on airfare to Las Vegas vs. that of Chicago is $157.55. The room cost at the Hyatt in Chicago is $129.00 per night vs. the room cost at the Riviera, which is $110.00. We also have to mention that many of the comments posted in favor of Chi-town were still concerned about the expense of holding the convention there.
Now the costs for the event as a whole: the Hyatt charges an extra $56,000 for food and beverages. Many of the meals are going to be provided to you as part of the package. The increased fees from the hotel would mean that the registration fee (a fee we are trying to keep low, low, low) would have to be upped. We hope to be able to provide some kind of financial assistance to those who can't afford the full cost of attending and an extra few dozen grand available should help this possibility become reality.
The difference in cost is most striking if something goes wrong and we come up short on the number of rooms. The bottom line is that the Riviera contract allows us two opportunities to adjust our numbers without penalty prior to the convention; the Hyatt is less accommodating and penalizes us heavily if our attendance is less than 80% of the minimum identified in the contract. For a worst case scenario, the Riviera contract penalizes us in the amount of $44,000. However, for the same worst case scenario, the Hyatt penalizes us in the amount of $129,000.
As excited as we are about the very first YearlyKos Convention, we hope this event is the first of many. And with the proven success of this event we will have a greater choice of location the next time around. Also, the greater flexibility and affordability offered by Las Vegas gives us the opportunity to focus more on making this a world-changing event rather than focus on fundraising (and also provides an example to certain unnamed parties beholden to massive fundraising--rather than idea-raising--efforts).
Now let's everybody get excited about an event that's going to rock the world! In one of the most exhilarating cities on earth! And what happens there, sure ain't stayin' there!
BTW, don't forget to fill out Your Agenda and to Pre-Register.