5.3 Guidance for the local host

  1. IASA delegates a large part of the responsibility for a IASA conference to the local organizers. IASA is a relatively modest-sized organization and does not have the resources to take on the organization of conferences that may be far removed from the places where the EB live and work. It is essential to have a strong local group in place.
  2. Some hosts have delegated much of the responsibility for conference planning and organization to professional conference organizers. IASA has no objection to this but that cost must be borne by the local organizers and reflected in the conference fee.
  3. This section, along with additional information in the Conference Planning Timeline, Conference Programme, and Conference budget example outlines the hosts’ responsibilities. The IASA EB is willing to work with those who are new to this process but IASA relies on strong local representation to make the annual conference a success.
  4. Local conditions, professional and social, should be reflected in the conference, particularly in the programme content.
  5. Audiovisual institutions should showcase their expertise and open their doors for professional visits.
  6. It is essential that the conference hosts give some guidance to the EB in how to assist in promoting the conference on a regional basis and how to best meet any particular local needs including possible language issues.
  7. It is essential that conference hosts ensure the availability of good sound and projection facilities in all auditoriums and meeting rooms, including experienced technical help for the duration of the conference.
  8. Along with the responsibility and hard work, comes an opportunity for the conference host to show off their institution, to introduce colleagues to another part of the world, and a chance to focus on issues in the sound and audiovisual field that relate to the conference organizer’s particular needs. It is also an occasion to possibly mark a significant event or anniversary and to raise awareness of your institution and its priorities within your own locale.

5.3.1 Meeting rooms
An adequate number of rooms must be available for the conference in order to accommodate large open sessions and smaller limited interest or working sessions which, in IASA’s case, are sometimes held concurrently. Although this is by no means fixed, a rough estimate of IASA requirements is:

  • A lecture room for main conference sessions and open sessions large enough to accommodate up to 150 delegates in the case of a IASA solo conference outside of Europe; 200 for a IASA solo conference within Europe and up to 300 in the case of a joint conference. In the latter case the organising committee should make reference to the two association EBs as to their expectations.
  • Organizers should refer to conference attendance in the previous years for conferences within and outside Europe.
  • A meeting room for concurrent or working sessions may be required and should be able to accommodate about 40-50 delegates.
  • A space for poster sessions, preferably in close vicinity to the main lecture/meeting rooms.
  • Up to 2 or 3 meeting rooms may be required during the day(s) prior to the commencement of the conference for final conference preprations by the EB and any closed meetings of the IASA committees/sections/task forces. A meeting room may be required for the day after the conference for a second EB meeting.
  • All meeting rooms to be equipped with sound and projection facilities, as well as with wireless internet capable of supporting all conference guests and presenters. The local organizers need to provide experienced technical help for the duration of the conference.

5.3.2. Communal space
In addition to the meeting rooms there should be a communal area in the same building as the conference sessions for people to mingle and hold impromptu conversations. Refreshment facilities must be provided and budgeted for in the conference fee structure. The communal space might also be the location of any trade shows and/or commercial exhibits that might be arranged.

5.3.3. Accommodation
This can be varied according to local conditions. There are a number of options: There is a lot to be said for a single venue that is the conference and hotel in one building complex, yet it does not allow for the wide budget range of the IASA membership. Special conference complexes can offer a community atmosphere and can self-contain all activities. Delegates may be housed in affordable and attractive University (education or type) accommodation. If none of the above offers affordable and attractive options the IASA EB prefers that a range of accommodation be offered. Where hotels are offered, it is necessary to have a price range to allow for richer/poorer members or institutions. However, these should preferably be in the vicinity of the conference.

5.3.4 Conference site location
This very much depends on local conditions but it should be in a safe and attractive area: close to places of interest for participants, e.g. sound archives, broadcasting stations etc, and tourist attractions both for participants and non-participating accompanying persons. Sometimes tourist attractions can be a distraction, but it is often the case that the tourist attraction means people extend their stay to take advantage of these before or after the conference.

5.3.5. Finances

The host should draw up a business plan, including a financial model based on realistic predictions and estimates, in order to formulate a balanced budget as a basis for managing expenditure and receipts against planned targets (see Conference Business Plan). The recommended financial model is a zero-loss outcome.

Sources of income may include:

  • Delegates’ registration fees
  • Rental of space by commercial exhibitors
  • Sponsorship from commercial companies
  • Grants from government agencies
  • The monetary value of support-in-kind

Budgeted expenditure may include:

  • venue rental or hire charges
  • creation and maintenance of conference web site
  • conference badges, bags, and stationery
  • food and drink for the opening reception
  • other reasonable hospitality costs including music
  • printing and design costs for the conference programme
  • transportation in connection with professional visits
  • refreshments for morning and afternoon breaks
  • hire of AV equipment for speakers’ use
  • hire of photocopiers, PCs for conference office
  • hire of sufficient wifi to ensure internet access for all guests and speakers
  • conference display panels and signage
  • bank charges
  • presentation gifts for principal organisers
  • professional conference organizers
  • simultaneous translation services

5.3.6    Welcoming reception. Normally a reception is put on at the beginning of the conference to welcome delegates. This may be supplemented by a function thrown by a sponsor or host institution. Often the welcome reception is put on by the host institution. In addition, tours to museums and other relevant or appropriate institutions may be arranged, separate to the professional visits. Where food is offered at these events it should be noted in the programme in some way, e.g., a reception with refreshments or dinner/reception depending on the circumstances. Likewise, where transport is provided or the entrance fee is included this, too, should be noted.

5.3.7   Farewell dinner or party. The closing conference dinner may be budgeted for separately, or included in the main budget. It is the current EB's opinion that the cost of the farewell function should be kept separate from the conference fee. This gives delegates the opportunity to attend an affordable conference without having to pay for the dinner if they cannot afford to attend it. Because of the cost, delegates sometimes pay out of their own pocket or are unable to attend. Delegates from developing countries, for instance, rarely have means to attend, unless they are invited by the organising committee or subsidised by the Association.

The IASA Board urges that the cost of the farewell dinner not be expensive and suggests that this could be achieved in several ways:

  • The function be less lavish;
  • Seek to use the host institution as the venue;
  • Seek sponsorship.

5.3.8 Pre- and post-conference tours and any spouse’s programme should be outside and separate from the main conference budget.

5.3.9 Level of registration fee
One of the major tasks of the organising committee will be to decide the registration fee. Although this will depend to a high degree on the overall financial model, and the forecast number of registrations, the decision should also take into account the high proportion of delegates in the personal membership category who pay their own costs. Additionally, the fee levels over the previous five conferences should be taken into account.

Attendance at the conference dinner is normally optional and this should be reflected as a separate cost option in the registration form in order to reduce the price of basic registration. A surcharge for late registration may be made, additional to any differential level of fee for non-members of IASA. Organizers may also decide to make special financial arrangements for local delegates and others who may have financial difficulty in attending a IASA conference.

5.3.10 Reporting and approval
The organizers should present the EB with a draft budget including realistic planning scenarios at the mid-year EB meeting prior to the conference. A final statement of out-turn against the budget should be made available to the Executive Board to assist in future planning.