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