Bottom line up front: EAG & EAGx conferences are often held in appealing, cosmopolitan expensive cities. Maybe bulk group rentals could cut costs, encourage more socialization, strengthen community bonds, decrease time spend deliberating and planning travel, encourage attendance, and help the right people get connected.
Has anyone looked into bulk rentals at discounted rates close to venues for conference attendees (or, renting a vehicle services to transport groups to/from conference, in addition to negotiating bulk lodging discounts further from the venues)? It seems to me that discounted hostel/ hotel rates are often negotiated for groups. Apartment, condo, or house rentals might also be cost effective. Perhaps Nonlinear's recent project, EA Houses, could also interface with this idea.
This might have potential to:
- Improve community building, strengthen relationships
- Shared commuting / lodging may lead to people spending more time together in a less structured setting -> more opportunities to connect, ideate, build, percolate, be human together.
- Cut costs ( bulk discounts)
- Decrease time spent planning for non-local attendees and hopefully increase sense of confidence in plans, allowing more mental energy to go toward being present at the conference and with the community and less time worrying about logistics.
- Make it easier if anyone is on the fence about coming due to logistical issues
- Embolden individuals who might not otherwise feel comfortable attending (E.g., If I were an underrepresented minority considering traveling to a different country, I might feel less comfortable staying by myself and trying to get around independently in a city I was unfamiliar with).
I feel immensely grateful to CEA for making it financially possible for me to attend events. In the process of asking for support, I noticed that I feel awkward and anxious asking for the amount of money required to feel comfortable staying in and getting around conference venues, which spurred this post. It's hard to know what a "reasonable" cost is in different cities and or what might be a reasonable/cost-effective commute that also lets me feel personally secure. Admittedly, some of this sense of uncertainty is likely amplified by COVID.
If this suggestion were pursued, I think it would probably be important to first:
- Get data on the number of non-local conference attendees and where they have stayed (e.g. in a hotel, hostel, rental house, apartment, or with friends or family). Might also be helpful to ask about the commute to and from the venue (e.g. walk, taxi, bus), and to rate their experience both at their place of lodging and also in commuting to and from the venue, with the option to give details.
- Survey conference attendees (or people invited who did not come): Is this a thing people want? Would pre-arranged lodging options (examples below) be appealing? Would they increase the probability that you would attend?
If it turns out this is a service people wanted, a pilot could be considered. Perhaps more useful if people are able to tick off multiple options or rank preferences, approval voting / rank-choice voting style;).
For example, on the conference registration form, this would have appealed to me. (Perhaps too many options to include in a pilot. OTOH might provide data to help identify community needs and opportunities, and elucidate whether a more comprehensive travel service should be considered).
- I would like my own bedroom and bathroom
- I would like my own room but can share a bathroom
- I just want a bed and am fine sharing a room with conference attendees
- I would love to shared lodging w/ specific people (or, other people interested in x, y, z), listed below
For shared accommodations only:
- My gender is ___ and I prefer to share a (room/ rental space) with individuals of the same gender
- I am comfortable sharing a (room/ rental space) with individuals of any gender
- I would be interested in sharing lodging with people interested in (e.g.):
- Global priorities
- Improving Institutional Decision Making
- EA for Christians, Jews, nonbinary, etc.
- EA for people who think labels can be damaging so don't identify as "EA" ;)
- Animal welfare
- Mental Health and wellness
- Global health and development
Preferred lodging type:
- Decent hotel
- Decent hostel
- Decent shared apartment
- Decent rental house
- Decent rental condo
Preferred distance from venue:
- 0.2 km
- 2 km
- 6 km
Amenities you need in your lodging:
- Wheelchair accessibility
- Wireless internet
- Access to coffee
- A refrigerator
Services you will need during your visit:
- Transport between lodging and venue
- Transport between lodging and airport
- COVID test (ex. DAT, PCR) required by airlines within (ex. 72) hrs of return flight
- COVID test pre-conference
- Travel insurance
- I am interested in staying for a longer duration:
- Arriving early
- Staying after conference
- I would be interested in opportunities to stay for a longer duration in order to
- Build community connections, network, explore opportunities
- Visit EA workspaces
- Attend related events
- Attend skillbuilding workshops
- Meet with career counselor
- Spend a few days rotating at local EA related organizations
Planned duration of stay:
- x nights (specify dates)
- I have not yet booked my stay
- Arrival date/ time
- Departure date/ time
- COVID tests required by airlines within (?72) hrs of return flight?
- My flight can be changed for a fee
- My flight is refundable
- I have not yet booked my flight