We’ve been looking at over a dozen different venues for the Summer 2013 festival. Vegas was sort of a no-brainer for me, because of the location, popularity and the event INFRASTRUCTURE. Dear me, do they have everything nailed down as far as packaging up conventions with pretty little bows. I’m surprised at how simple it’s been so far.
Which frightens me. Normally, when something is super easy, it explodes or eats the cat. We’ll see.
Thus far, leading the pack in terms of pricing per square foot, is the Mandalay Bay. Are you surprised? I certainly was! We’ve received proposals from about a dozen casinos (on and off the Strip.) While those off the Strip have been cheaper, the spaces are smaller, and in most cases, divided up into several different buildings/rooms throughout the hotel. I love the cheaper price, but … it seems like having everyone in one place would be so much better!
Aside from infrastructure and the cool factor, Vegas’ busy months are the summer months, where the city has over 90% filled occupancy over the weekends. We want the festival to be successful in terms of exposing as many people as possible to books by indies and small press authors. According to official Las Vegas stats, July will see about 4,000,000 visitors coming to Vegas. We’re going to keep researching, but there’s a lot of potential for pulling in foot traffic off the Strip with some well-placed advertising.
We also are looking at Phoenix. Phoenix is also a huge city with a lot going on, so it’ll depend on how easy it is to throw a convention in downtown and the relative costs of hotels and such. I’ve got to double check the infrastructure pieces (in terms of event planning and on-site set-up/management) and also look more at what else is going on in Phoenix during the dates we’ve selected and of course, at advertising expenses.
Basically, we want to make sure that the festival is held somewhere where:
- we can maximize exposure opportunities
- keep the price affordable and worthwhile for indies
The festival booth, hotels, food, etc, over that time period can be expensive. So, we’re doing our due diligence to find a place that’s reasonably priced AND won’t bankrupt those of us on the planning committee!