[OSGeo-Conf] Questions for FOSS4G 2017 bidders

Michael Terner mgt at appgeo.com
Fri Oct 30 14:09:22 PDT 2015


Dear Steven:
Thanks for the good questions, below is BLOC's response. Also, please note
that some of your questions are very difficult to answer definitively given
that the conference is still at the proposal stage and things like
"sponsorship commitments" and "contract negotiation" really can't be
finalized until after award. Still we have done our best to share our
approach and some of the further financial details you seek. To your
questions:

   - ‚Äč1.
   There appears to be a requirement to fill a block of hotel rooms over 5
   nights. What are the consequences if you fail to fill these rooms

Our proposal reflects a hotel block of 810 room nights spread over 5 days.
By reserving this block it will enable a significantly discounted room rate
and a lower cost for the conference venue itself (the World Trade Center).
We are confident that the hotel block is reasonable and assuming 1,000
attendees, can be met by approximately 27% of people spending 3 nights in
the hotel. We have worked closely with our proposed PCO in conversations
with the hotel, and once our bid is secure, we will work to negotiate the
most favorable terms. Reasonable terms that we would seek include: having
the block not be measured day-by-day, but by the aggregate number of rooms
on all days; the minimal possible penalty clause. The current proposal we
have from the hotel does not state a penalty clause.

   - 2. You mention that you will be seeking a financial guarantee from
   OSGeo
      - A. Can you advise the extent of the guarantee required

We will work with OSGeo to identify a safe, suitable and affordable
guarantee. In general, we would be seeking the maximum that OSGeo is
comfortable with, particularly for the upfront financing. We have reviewed
the Bonn agreement and those funding/guarantee levels seem appropriate and
attractive.

   - B. How will you mitigate any shortfall beyond the level of the
      guarantee

We will work diligently to avoid any shortfall at all. We have a realistic
(and conservative) budget and attendance targets and the energy and
commitment to ensure our targets are met. We are confident that we will
achieve, at a minimum, break-even. Mitigation approaches include downsizing
certain cost elements in advance of the conference (e.g., reducing
food-and-beverage to the minimum). And, as appropriate, we will also seek
commercial insurance options (e.g., for *force majeure*).

   - C. Can you confirm that you have read the draft agreement prepared for
      2016 and that you would be willing to enter into a similar agreement

Yes, we have studied the Bonn agreement letter
<https://svn.osgeo.org/osgeo/foss4g/2016/financial_stuff/agreement_with_osgeo/Agreement-between-OSGeo-and-FOSSGISeV-2016-usd.pdf>
and
find no problems with the terms. We would be willing to enter into a
similar agreement.

   - 3. You mention workshop presenter compensation, can you provide
   details of this.

Our plan is to provide free conference registration to workshop instructors
which is consistent with our understanding of past conferences. Our
estimated revenues/budget reflects this level of "free registration".

   - 4. Can you provide an estimate of the loss per delegate below your
   break-even of 700

Just to clarify, our figure of 700 attendees is *not* our break-even point.
We label it as "minimum viable", and you will notice at that level we
anticipate a profit of $39,834. We are also carrying a $27,000+ contingency
budget at that level. Thus, even assuming we use 100% of the contingency,
exhausting all of the anticipated profits using the "full registration
price" would mean that our break even is approximately 650 attendees. As
pointed out earlier in this thread, many costs are variable based on
attendance so there is no single "fixed" loss per delegate figure. Based on
our current revenue/budget model the average "loss per delegate" figure for
going from 700 attendees to 600 attendees - including expected, related
sponsorship/workshop revenue declines - would be approximately:
$920/delegate

   - 5. Your sponsorship estimates are very ambitious, what proportion is
   committed or highly likely (i.e you have had informal discussions with the
   sponsor budget holder)?

Even as it is impossible to secure commitments to a conference that has not
yet been awarded to us, we are extremely bullish on the sponsorship
prospects and believe that our goal is both aggressive and realistic. Our
budget model also accounts for lower expected sponsorship revenues for a
conference that is smaller than our 1,000 attendee target. We have studied
the sponsorship that was achieved for other FOSS4G conferences and are
encouraged by Seoul apparently cracking the $200,000 of sponsorship
threshold (based on the sponsor logos and sponsorship pricing on the
web-site). We will aim to surpass that by:

   - Companies on our LOC have committed to sponsor, if Boston is selected
   - Partner companies to LOC members, including CartoDB, have committed to
   sponsoring if Boston is chosen
   - We will aggressively recruit all companies that have sponsored an
   international and/or north American FOSS4G over the past 5 years
   - We will aggressively pursue Boston and New England local firms who
   have not sponsored previously
   - We will aggressively pursue non-geospatial companies to sponsor (e.g.,
   in the vein that Red Hat has sponsored previously) to grow the sponsor base
   - Our PCO has many years of recruiting sponsors to geospatial shows. In
   addition several corporate BLOC members are frequent conference sponsors
   and are eager to directly engage in this process.


   - 6. Please detail the PCO fee structure

As outlined in our proposal we have been working with an experienced,
locally based Professional Conference Organizer. She has been advising us
through the proposal process, but we do not yet maintain a formal,
contractual relationship which outlines a detailed fee structure. Rather,
our PCO fees are embedded under the "Conference Production" line item.
Based on conversations with with other host communities, including
Portland, and with our PCO partner we are using a $60,000 budget for
comprehensive PCO services.

   - 7. What is the travel time between the two workshop venues?

As per our proposal, the Tufts (Boston) and Harvard (Cambridge) workshop
venues
<https://www.google.com/maps/dir/35+Kneeland+St,+Boston,+MA+02111/1737+Cambridge+St,+Cambridge,+MA+02138/@42.3602822,-71.1032159,14z/am=t/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x89e37a777f38ae5f:0xadfcf4fcac1ad690!2m2!1d-71.0619556!2d42.3505209!1m5!1m1!1s0x89e377443ab51a21:0x1ef314b37d653654!2m2!1d-71.1132118!2d42.3756352!3e2>
are
3.5 miles and a short public transportation ride from one another and from
the conference hotel. Biking - through the Hubway bike sharing system - is
also possible. Transiting between venues by public transportation should
take approximately 30 minutes. The BLOC's goal is to program workshops so
that a need for someone to switch between sites on the same day is
minimized.

Sincerely, MT & the BLOC


On Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 3:36 PM, Steven Feldman <shfeldman at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Boston, Ottawa and Philadelphia
>
> Thanks for your hard work in submitting proposals.
>
> No doubt you will receive questions from others on programming and other
> topics, my questions will focus primarily on financial matters.
>
> *Boston*
>
>    1. There appears to be a requirement to fill a block of hotel rooms
>    over 5 nights. What are the consequences if you fail to fill these rooms
>    2. You mention that you will be seeking a financial guarantee from
>    OSGeo
>       1. Can you advise the extent of the guarantee required
>       2. How will you mitigate any shortfall beyond the level of the
>       guarantee
>       3. Can you confirm that you have read the draft agreement prepared
>       for 2016 and that you would be willing to enter into a similar agreement
>    3. You mention workshop presenter compensation, can you provide
>    details of this.
>    4. Can you provide an estimate of the loss per delegate below your
>    break-even of 700
>    5. Your sponsorship estimates are very ambitious, what proportion is
>    committed or highly likely (i.e you have had informal discussions with the
>    sponsor budget holder)?
>    6. Please detail the PCO fee structure
>    7. What is the travel time between the two workshop venues?
>
>
> *Ottawa*
>
>    1. The financial element of your proposal (delegate rates,
>    sponsorship, qualifications to estimates) is very similar to that provided
>    by Philadelphia. Can you confirm whether these estimates have been prepared
>    by the LOC or by your PCO?
>    2. Your sponsorship estimates are ambitious, what proportion is
>    committed or highly likely (i.e you have had informal discussions with the
>    sponsor budget holder)?
>    3. Do you require a guarantee from OSGeo? If so please provide details.
>    4. What mix of delegate types (corporates, non-corporates, students
>    etc) is your income based upon?
>    5. Can you confirm that your plan is to return $75k to OSGeo if you
>    achieve 750 delegates
>    6. What is your break even level?
>    7. Can you provide an estimate of the loss per delegate below your
>    break-even level
>    8. Please detail the PCO fee structure
>
>
> *Philadelphia*
>
>    1. The financial element of your proposal (delegate rates,
>    sponsorship, qualifications to estimates) is very similar to that provided
>    by Ottawa. Can you confirm whether these estimates have been prepared by
>    the LOC or by your PCO?
>    2. Your sponsorship estimates are ambitious, what proportion is
>    committed or highly likely (i.e you have had informal discussions with the
>    sponsor budget holder)?
>    3. Do you require a guarantee from OSGeo? If so please provide details.
>    4. What mix of delegate types (corporates, non-corporates, students
>    etc) is your income based upon?
>    5. Can you confirm that your plan is to return $75k to OSGeo if you
>    achieve 750 delegates
>    6. What is your break even level?
>    7. Can you provide an estimate of the loss per delegate below your
>    break-even level
>    8. Please detail the PCO fee structure
>
>
> Look forward to hearing from you all
>
> Cheers
> ______
> Steven
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Conference_dev mailing list
> Conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org
> http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/conference_dev
>



-- 
*Michael Terner*
*Executive Vice President*
617-447-2468 Direct | 617-447-2400 Main
Applied Geographics, Inc.
24 School Street, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02108
www.AppGeo.com

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