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= Crystal Gateway =

[http://marriott.com/property/propertyPage/WASGW Crystal Gateway Marriott]

'''This venue never got back to us. Let's look for somewhere else. --amk'''

'''''I think this may be a little precipitate. Would somebody like to try
entering requirements on [http://marriott.com/schedmtg/erfpinfo.mi?marshaCode=WASGW this page] and see if we hear anything? The venue looks good ... SH'''''

   * Suggested by Michael McLay; he says we can get a good rate for the week after Easter (April 17-21, 2006).
   * Largest ballroom has 2200 capacity in theatre style, followed by one room for 1600 people, two rooms for 600 people, and one for 500.
   * There are about 10 rooms with 250-person capacity, and 12 rooms with 50-60 person capacity.
   * The 50-person rooms seat around 30-40 people in banquet style, which seems more suited to sprints, BoFs, etc.
   * Catered food available.
   * Wireless Internet available, but imposes registration conditions; need to talk to hotel's A/V person.
   * $14/day on-site parking
   * Hotel is expensive: $299 standard price (presumably PyCon guests would get a better rate, but we don't know what the rate is yet. $160 was suggested.)
   * Connected to [http://www.crystalcity.com/phone.htm Crystal City Shops], which has a lot of food places.
   * Unknown: cost of venue
   * Available in the evening?

Barring a surprising change in Python's growth, PyCon 2006 will be too large for GWU's facilities. The 2005 conference will therefore be the last one at GWU.

The larger the venue, the further in advance we need to book it, so we should regard 2006 venue choice as an immediate problem, rather than waiting until it's too late.

Since venues typically book up to 18 months in advance, you might argue we are already too late, and I wouldn't disagree. Typically we should expect to be doing long-range planning 18-24 months in advance.

First let's try to establish some ground rules. Before we start to advocate particular venues, let's all try to agree on what we'd like from an ideal venue. The hope is that this can be incorporated into some kind of "scoresheet" that those who visit potential venues can use to report back - preferably to the pycon-organizers list, with a summary here.

Desirable Venue Characteristics

  • Close to public transport. We are interpreting this to mean within a five-minute walk of a Metro station, with no obstacles to wheelchair-bound or otherwise disabled delegates.
  • Convenient for low-cost accommodation. Not necessarily in the immediate vicinity, but if not then we'd need to establish such accommodation and the route(s) to it. Low-cost can be defined as under $60 per night (although I'll accept arguments on this).
  • Able to handle at least 1,000 delegates. This might seem like an extreme upper limit, but it would be nice to avoid the venue selection exercise becoming an annual event.
  • Facilities support must be comparable or better than what you have at GWU. Plus be aware that the cost of catering, networking, equipment, etc. could be significant additional costs beyond the base venue. as they were for the first two events, but yes, they clearly have to be budgeted -- sh

  • Venue must support sprints before or after the conference or we need another venue to hold the sprints.
  • Venue must allow for sessions in the evening for the annual PSF meeting, BOFs, etc.
  • I want a demo-room, for people who want to give demos. I'd like a little more formal structure backing this -- certainly one can use Open Space for demos, and we did, but I think there would be more demos if it had its own independent and formal structure. --lac

  • room for tutorial sessions. aside from this, no 'ballroom' like rooms for sessions [Note: this might mean reserving additional space just for delegates to eat -- SH].

Contacted Venues

  • [http://marriott.com/property/propertypage.mi?marshaCode=WASBN Bethesda North Conference Center]: largest room seats 3000. Hotel is small, though; only 225 beds. Sales staff doesn't seem enthused by our RFP. --amk

  • [http://marriott.com/property/meetingsandevents/floorplans/wasdt Wardman Park Marriott] -- largest room seats 4200 in theatre style -- plenty of room for expansion. Room capacities go from 400, 450 to 750, 800. I went to XML 2005 at this venue, and my opinion was that it's big enough to swallow PyCon. There may well be other conventions at the same time, and even at 1000 delegates we'd be small fry to them. Not sure that this venue would support the community spirit we try to engender -- SH

  • Baltimore: [http://marriott.com/property/meetingsandevents/business/bwiwf Marriott Waterfront] -- space not available

  • Baltimore: Marriott Inner Harbour -- same sales staff as Marriott Waterfront. They've been asked if space is available at this venue.
  • Baltimore: [http://www.wyndham.com/hotels/BWIIH/planameeting/main.wnt Wyndham Baltimore @Inner Harbour] -- proposal received.

  • Wyndham Philadelphia: room rate of $149 offered; no detailed proposal.
  • The Inn and Conference Center (University of Maryland University College)
    • Contact Tracy Palermino (301-985-7855).
    • Auditorium supports 750 people.
    • Food service available in hallway or in main ballroom.
    • Flexible catering.
    • 3 Floors of meeting rooms ranging in sizes from small to large.
    • Available March 21 - 25, with sprints and/or open space rooms available 2 days before and/or after.
    • Cost is $85 per person per day, which includes rooms, beverages (coffee and soda), AV, lunch, service charges, and parking.
    • Rooms available for reservation.
    • Wireless complimentary in public areas (hallways), and to get a line into each meeting room we'd need $175 per line per day. We can install our own switch and/or 802.11 access point.
    • Contacted; waiting for response.
  • Johns Hopkins (in Homewood). [JHU has been pinged. They needed to have a meeting to discuss the possibility; at that meeting, they decided hosting the con wasn't feasible. --amk]


  • [http://www.itcdc.com/meetings.php Reagan International Trade Building] -- very fancy; probably too expensive.

  • Rockville Conference Center
  • American University
  • Gallaudet University

[http://www.baltimore.org/meeting/mp_facilities_results.jsp?scat=DHCC List of Baltimore venues]:

  • Baltimore: [http://www.radisson.com/lordbaltimore Radisson Lord Baltimore]

    • - JHU hosted [http://www.ismir.net/ismir2003 ISMIR 2003] there and were very impressed with their general competence. At least in 2003, were slightly cheaper than above hotels because it is three blocks from Harbor area, not right on the Harbor. Still in safe area (basically the core downtown business district). Wireless was through a third-party service, but worked fine. Unfortunately, largest space is "ballroom style" which I see above is not desired. [Doesn't seem to have well-placed space for us; the ballroom can be broken up into pieces, but we'd need to use the entire ballroom for keynotes. Or we can use space scattered over several floors. Can be ruled out. --amk]

    • Stamp Student Union (University of Maryland College Park)
      • Contact Paul Prescott (301-314-7881) or Stamp Student Union (ask for reservations: 301-314-3375)
      • Grand ballroom supports 800 people, auditorium style
      • Hoff theatre supports 500 people
      • Food is catered (same as UMUC above)
      • The food outlets in basement are closed during spring break
      • There are rooms that hold 100 - 250 people, including the colony ballroom
      • Recommended talking to UMUC, as it is more self contained and perhaps more appropriate. Am waiting on a callback from Stamp Union.

Other possibilities

Some possible sites:

4H Center, Chevy Chase, Maryland http://www.4hcenter.org/index.html (up to 800, but specializing in youth conferences; has 800 beds available, though)

Hilton Mark Center, Alexandria http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/index.jhtml?ctyhocn=DCAAHHH (largest room seats 1200; this is where Python10 was held; forget about mass transit, though).

Questions for site visit

  • What's the bedroom rate going to be? Number of room-nights required? Right to audit is required.
  • Get detailed food costs: costs for breakfast, lunch, breaks. Are tips/tax included? Do we have a choice of caterers? --CatherineDevlin

  • How much will wireless support cost? Can it be open to everyone or are access controls required?
  • Function space: Any auditorium-style space?
  • Function space: get capacities and style information.
  • A/V equipment: projectors. Cost?
  • Is function space available in the evening?
  • Parking cost for attendees?


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