Thursday, March 18, 2010

Would You Pay Extra to Socialize at Your Next Conference?

My friend who's an HR director and member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) sent me a link to a post about SHRM's new pricing model for their annual conference and I'm curious to hear what others think about it.

Basically they're offering a "premium package" that's an upsell from their regular registration rate--$295 above the (already pricey) registration. The main thing they're selling is, basically, time--as in, freeing up your time during the conference for networking and socializing since you don't have to attend as many sessions because the package gives you virtual access to sessions.

I personally like it but think you'd have a hard time selling it to your boss--not only am I asking you to pay my travel, hotel and registration to an already expensive conference--but can you also pay an extra $300 so I don't have to actually attend sessions and can, instead, socialize? Call me crazy but I don't really see too many employers being psyched for that.

On the other hand, I like that they're promoting more socializing and networking because I am a big believer in those things being the real value in attending conferences. Then again, they're basically asking you to pay for the same thing twice: live sessions and then $300 extra for the recorded versions. And the recorded sessions are only available for registrants to purchase--why not let people who don't attend the live event pay to view recorded sessions and receive credits like attendees can?

I don't belong to this association, but it seems to me they're making this way more about what's good/profitable for them than being a value-added for attendees or virtual attendees.

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