openSUSE:Conference How to Check List
- Does the country have any openSUSE hackers?
- Is it easy to get visas for non-European natives?
- Does the city have any openSUSE people?
- Does the city have LUG people that can help with organizing?
- Does the city have a university with a strong computer society?
- Does it have good airport connections?
- Is there a good bus infrastructure?
- Is there a good train infrastructure?
- Does the conference happen at the weekend?
- Does the conference happen during the week?
- Does the conference overlap with any public or religious holidays?
- Does the venue cost more money during certain dates?
- How long with the conference be (2-3 conference days)?
- Can you meet the milestones?
- Does the venue have a good collection of different sized rooms and areas for large keynotes, networking and small breakout sessions which can accommodate the expected attendees?
- Does the venue have microphones?
- Does the venue have video projectors and screens?
- Is there hacking space near the lecture theaters?
- Is there space for a coffee area?
- Is there space for booths to be set up?
- Is there a registration area?
- Are there shops, restaurants and pubs near the venue?
- Do we have to pay the venue for labour (security, cleaners)? How will that factor into planning and the budget?
- Can food and water be brought in?
- Is there wheelchair access or elevators available to reach each room?
More venue information
- Main auditorium: The main room needs to hold a bit more than the expected attendees and is used for keynotes, this room should normally take about 200 people.
- Smaller rooms: 1-3 smaller rooms are needed for talks. These rooms usually need to hold 50-100 people, depending on the number of tracks. We often use the main auditorium for one of these and schedule the more popular talks to take place in there.
- Hacking/meeting areas: People like to hack, meet and talk during breaks or when they are not watching a talk. It is good to have a foyer with tables, chairs, plugs and wired internet and one room for quieter meetings (big enough for 40 people), but a number of rooms will do if there is no open space available.
- Press room: Press need a quiet room where they can go to write up their reports.
- Staff room: Your volunteers will need to chill. This can also be a safe place for them to lock up their valuables.
- Sponsors' room: Be sure to ask sponsors if they need a room to use for storing promotional material, meetings, celebrations, etc.
It is best to set up the merchandise stand, information desk and auditoriums the day before the conference starts.
- Does the venue have a wired network?
- Does the venue have a good wireless network?
- How many devices can the venue lets us have? (aim for at least twice as many as estimated attendees)
- Does the host city have several party venues that are easy to get to from where the conference will be?
- Are there tourist opportunities in the city?
- Is it possible to have food and drink provided at the conference? Do we have to contract through the conference centre?
- You will need a volunteer to work with the sponsors, accounting, get bids and plan event.
- Are there any local businesses that would be interested in sponsoring the event?
- What are the different sponsorship bands, and what amount of sponsorship is required for each band?
- Note that our traditional sponsors should be approached through the board of directors.
- Is there a large variety of different accommodation options available?
- Are there accommodation options near to the venue?
- Can you organize cheap accommodation?
- Can you organize discounts with accommodation for conference attendees?
- What is the cheapest options? Most expensive?
- How do attendees get from their accommodations to the venue? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
- Can you organize a different set of travel options to get to the host city?
- Can you organize discounts for travel fares?
- Is it easy to get to and from the conference venue?
- Is it easy to get to the city from the conference venue?
- How far is it from the airport and train station to the conference venue? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
- What is the average flight cost from major European and US cities to the host city during the proposed time?
- Have you called for criticism/suggestions/patches for the website, so it looks professional?
- Are there people capable of maintaining the web page before, during and after the conference?
- Are you using the standard infrastructure?
- [Optional] Does the website allow easy translation, without one version becoming outdated/out-of-sync
Contact them before the conference to get:
- flight details
- ensure they've got a hotel room booked
- get a contact phone number
- make sure they also have one
- Give them instructions on how to reach their hotel from the airport
- Ensure that they are introduced before their conference - print out their bio, and ask them to review it beforehand with you
- Ensure they know about the social events, and have been extended invitations (they won't know the community, in all likelihood)
- Consider hosting questions for keynotes, to ensure that they are thanked at the end of their presentation
After the conference, contact them to thank them for their presence, ask them if they enjoyed the conference, and ensure travel & accommodation costs get reimbursed promptly
- Get a list of attendees & contact details
Call & email them each personally to get:
- flight details
- ensure they've got a hotel room booked
- get a contact phone number
- make sure they also have one ** Give them instructions on how to reach their hotel from the airport
Ensure they know about the social events and other keynotes & sessions, and have been extended invitations (they won't know the community, in all likelihood)
- Work with the openSUSE marketing team
- Contact press about attending the conference
- Issue one or more press releases before the conference
- Make a press room available with network access, desk, table for interviews, chairs and good lighting.
Announcements inevitably build up during the conference - schedule changes, meeting places for social events, things which are made available during the conference, last-minute BOFs, etc.
The best time to announce these is just before plenary sessions, when introducing keynote speakers. Make sure that the person introducing keynotes is aware of anything which needs to be announced.
- Do you plan to have poster sessions?
- Do you plan to have planning lightning talks or BOF sessions?
- How many speakers do you propose to have?
- What times do you intend to stick to?
- 30 minute sessions or 1 hour sessions. Try to have many lightning talks 5-10 mins so you will have many speakers.
- Do you have any group sessions?
- Get a schedule online, and have it on the door the day of the talks. Otherwise no-one knows they're going to miss cool stuff
- Who will organize the collection of abstracts, papers and photos?
- Will you have a paper committee to decide which papers to accept? Clear that up early.
- Who will you get to do a keynote during the conference?
- Who will you invite from the business sector?
- Will you have themes for the conference, and divide the schedule into separate tracks?
- Yes - if only to make the schedule more colourful. Limit to 3 or 4 tracks if possible.
- Are willing to print and distribute material to market the event?
- What's the budget for printed material?
- What do you plan to put in the registration bag?
- Do you plan to advertise the conference with any leaflets?
- Contribute to the design of the openSUSE event logo. List all the various logo files (openSUSE, conference, sponsors, organizers) on one web page.
- What numbers of people can the venue hold?
- Do you intend to collect donations?
- Must will to use the Open Source Event Manager. events.opensuse.org
- Are there likely to be any unforeseen administration costs?
- You need to provide an estimated budget.
- You may need a bank account for the conference payments. Consider the possibility of an organization (LUG or hackerspace) that can manage the finances.
- Check the business and tax laws carefully for your country before agreeing to host openSUSE conference.
- Do you have funds easily available to organize a number of local services before the conference?
- Did you factor in currency conversion into your budget?
- Are there local people available to help with conference registration, session timing, ...?
- Are there international people available to help with keeping things going smoothly on the openSUSE side?
- Do you have people in each room, to make talks start and end on time.
- Are there people with cell phones available during the conference for emergency contacts?
- Do you have current numbers for the police, ambulances, fire brigade? Do the attendees know them?
- Are digital video cameras available for recording?
- Are microphones available for recording? (avoid on-camera microphones if possible)
- Are there network connections capable of streaming talks?
- Has the streaming been set up and tested prior to the conference?
- Who will do the recording?
- Who will do the editing and publishing? (consider budgeting for this)
- Identify someone to what the stream to let video team know when a problem arises.
- List ideas for the conference. Examples:
- Offer a different colored lanyard to identify people who might not want to be in a photo.
- Have different colored stickers for people who might not want to be talked to at the conference.