Lessons from the local arrangements experience

Mark Kahrs <kahrs@pappardelle.rutgers.edu>
converted to HTML: 21 Nov 1997
relating to the IEEE 1993 Mohonk Workshop on Applications of Signal Processing to Acoustics and Audio

Here are some of my notes on the local arrangements that I hope will help the next person.

In spite of the fact that local arrangements starts maybe a year before the actual date, things don't get dicey until the last week when all hell breaks loose. Hopefully, some these notes will help.

First, the hotel is quite nervous about "day guests"; that is, people who register for just the day. Ideally, we should know about these people in advance but this is often impossible. Our arrangement this year was to be responsible for making people pay us the required fee for lunch or dinner (20$ and $25 respectively) and we paid the hotel. They want the list of day guests 72 hours in advance.

Next, the hotel underestimated the desire for red wine. They were clearly astonished at the ability of our crowd to drink red. We should order about 9:4 or 8:5 white:red. 13 cases was just right for 130 people. The house wine is pretty bad; I advise a VERY cheap alternative. Their markup is 1.46*cost + 8.00$ PER BOTTLE. We put the leftover dinner wine in the bar for the cash bar.

About registration: I believe we can make local arrangements a bit easier if the registration helps out a tad: to be particular, we should ask about diets and also about A/V requirements for speakers. Also, registrants should be sent an acknowledgement.

A/V stuff went pretty well after I gave Sandy Margolin a list. Clearly the more popular items were a DAT tape player and also the video tape projector. This time we ended up renting the slide projector and viewgraph from the hotel; perhaps Sandy can provide them next time (he was under the impression that the hotel provided them gratis). Also, this time the use of the conference hall was free. Sandy's fee this year was $3K; this may have been due to the added cost of the video projector. I continue to think he's worth it; everyone praises his work.

One suggestion worth considering is providing coffee & other stimulants early in the morning before the coffee break; the additional cost is about $50 ($16/gallon * 3 (caff+decaf+tea)). Jim Snyder says the coffee tasted like dirty dish water and that we should ask that they double the amount of coffee used. I wonder what they'd say.

One good thing was keeping the hotel in sync with registration; in particular, they faxed me their list. This helped me prepare badges for people who didn't preregister. It also permitted me to correct some of their errors on their list. As well as predict total attendance which the hotel uses to compute their charges to us.

Another thing new this year was having registration in the Lake Lounge on Sunday. This worked out well in my opinion since it was easy to find and we were close to the cookies. It's worth doing again.

The seating in the conference house is called "theatre style"; this year Sandy prepared a sketch of what he wanted the layout to be & faxed it to Mohonk. I suggest the same be done next time.

Another problem this year was with the reservation for the A/V people; they should be reserved a 2 person room. Mohonk needs the names of the people staying in the room when we reserve the room.

Likewise, if the committee pays the hotel fee for the plenary speakers, then we must make this clear to Mohonk.

I think this concludes my list from this year - if I've forgotten something I'm sure Jim Kates will remind me.

Back to Mohonk WASPAA'97 hints & tips