As you may know, we’re in the process of putting together a PowerShell Summit Europe for Fall 2014. It’s a big task, with a lot of financial risks, so we try to get it right. Folks have been helpful on Twitter in offering city selection ideas… but there’s a bit more involved than just tossing out a city name. With that, here is the selection criteria!
Given the information below… AND the fact that Germany/UK/Netherlands (in that order) have been getting the overwhelming majority of “in what cities would you attend the Summit” votes… what cities would YOU recommend we consider?
(BTW, this is TOTALLY a chance to “sell” your suggestion – so do so! The criteria below are what’s really important to us, so help us understand how a given city helps meet all of that criteria! And, if you’re willing to help be our local ‘person on the scene’ to help organize, mention that also!)
City Selection Criteria for PowerShell Summits
This guide is intended to provide a framework for selecting an appropriate city and venue for a PowerShell Summit.
Understand that a PowerShell Summit is meant to be a continent-level event, meaning the attendance of international speakers and attendees is a given. A PowerShell Summit is conducted primarily, if not entirely, in English, that being the “de facto” language of the technology industry, and the most-common language spoken by expert presenters in the field. A PowerShell Summit is open to everyone, and is not intended to fill the need for regional, culture- or language-specific events of any size. PowerShell.org recognizes the need for, and value of, those more-regional events, but the PowerShell Summit does not seek to full that need or provide that exact same value.
Throughout this guide, note that “venue” does not refer to a city. While in casual discussions we may refer to a city name or metropolitan area name – like London or Munich – our venue may not in fact be within the legal limits of such a city or area. “Venue” refers to a specific facility, which may be a hotel or a conference center or other specific location.
Our expectation is that most attendees will arrive at the event via common carrier – typically, train or airplane. Some may drive, but our focus is on providing good access for those who do not have their own personal transportation during the event.
Criterion 1: Airport Access
The first criterion is easy access to a major international airport. This is intended to accommodate the wide variety of attendees expected. In general, the venue should be either within a 15-20 minute drive from an airport by private car (including taxis and shuttle busses), or within a 30-minute ride via mass transit rail (specifically excluding public bus service, but including all levels of rail access).
Exception: The airport service area may be widened in instances where a venue offers significant other advantages in other criteria, or where the venue offers specialized access to expert presenters – e.g., using Bellevue for its convenient access to the PowerShell team, despite the fact that it is a ~30 minute ride by private car from SEA-TAC airport and lacks public rail access to the airport.
Criterion 2: Local Transit
The venue must be well-connected to the local area by mass transit rail (tram, train, metro, etc.). Alternately, the area must offer a variety of amenities within walking distance. Our goal is to minimize the need for rental cars to travel to the event venue from local hotels, restaurants, and other amenities. A 15-minute walking radius is a good “maximum” guideline. Due to this criterion, local parking fees are explicitly not considered during venue selection, although the organization recognizes than some local attendees may be impacted by parking fees.
Criterion 3: Evening Amenities
The selected venue must be accessible (via local rail transit or short walks) to evening amenities, including hotels, restaurants, and so forth. While the PowerShell Summit will often include evening events, attendees must have independent access to these kinds of amenities.
Criterion 4: Price, Quantity, and Quality of Lodging
The selected venue must be accessible (via local rail transit or short walks) to hotels of at least 3-star quality (as listed on travel Web sites such as Expedia or Orbitz), with as reasonable a price as possible given the choices of venues under consideration. When possible, the organization will reserve a room block for at least 1/3 of the expected attendance number (with the understanding that room blocks carry significant financial risk, and the organization has a primary goal of mitigating such risk). Additional hotel capacity meeting this criterion must be available, but may not necessarily be reserved, for the event.
Criterion 5: Language
The selected venue must be in an area where English is commonly spoken, at least by hospitality workers. English need not be the dominant language in the area, but as it is the “common language” of PowerShell, English must at least be commonly understood as a “lingua franca” in order for a maximum number of attendees to be able to navigate the area. Venues that do not meet this criterion may still be viable locations for a regional, cultural-specific event, but might not be qualified for a PowerShell Summit.
Criterion 6: Centrality
Given all of the other criteria previously listed, it is desirable to have a venue that provides equitable travel access from the majority of the target area. However, the organization recognizes that central location is often the most difficult to achieve in combination with the other criteria listed.
Criterion 7: Accessibility
The venue must conform with a general international standard of access for disabled persons, and must provide at least basic ability to meet common dietary restrictions, such as vegetarianism. The organization accepts that extremely specific dietary needs, such as cultural or religious needs or allergy concerns, might incur extra costs that would be passed along to the concerned attendee(s).
Criterion 8: Appropriateness
The venue must provide appropriate meeting facilities. This means the venue must be able to accommodate the expected number of attendees in a comfortable and safe surrounding, and attendees must be able to access the venue without undue overhead (e.g., extensive security checks in an office building, etc.). In multi-track events, meeting rooms should be able to accommodate a 15-20% offset (e.g., in a 300-person event with 300 attendees, each room must be able to handle 120 attendees, to deal with the fact that some sessions will be more popular than others).