[HCS-D] HCS/Harvard hosting PyCon 2006?

Kartik Venkatram venkatr at fas.harvard.edu
Wed May 11 12:31:11 EDT 2005

Having hosted a Con at Harvard myself, the only restriction Harvard has 
is an inability to sell things. Everything else is fairly straightforward.


Ivan Krstic wrote:

>Dear HCSers,
>as some of you know, I have high ambitions for the future of HCS. Our
>levels of technical service can always be better, and we could always be
>doing more with computers, but one aspect in which I hope we can really
>develop is our social visibility and service.
>The following message was forwarded to me today. Basically, the
>organizers of PyCon, the largest "official" annual Python Conference,
>are not able to find a conference site that suits them.
>I am interested in your opinions and thoughts on the viability of
>Harvard hosting PyCon 2006. This is a preliminary message to discover if
>any of you possess any show-stopping knowledge ("e.g. Harvard statute
>from 1839 prohibits all amphibian-related conferences from taking place
>in these hallowed halls"). Until then, I will get in touch with
>pycon-organizers and notify them that we are looking into whether we
>might be able to do this.
>The actual obligations from Harvard's side would be relatively small: a
>room that can host a large group and some connectivity. We can discuss
>the ins and outs later -- for now, I'm interested in people's gut
>reactions. Yay? Nay? Pursue? Not pursue?
>>In April an RFP went out to a bunch of hotels for PyCon 2006, to be
>>held in February/March 2006. Some hotels couldn't host it, some were
>>interested but the room rates were too high, and some had room rates
>>that were below $150 (not far below $150, mind you, but below it).
>>One DC-area venue got as far as sending me a formal contract, but the
>>cost worked out to $250 per attendee. This means that we'd need to
>>charge at least $250 as the early bird registration fee to have even
>>a slim chance of making a profit. Regular and on-site registration
>>would be more, of course. PyCon 2005 cost $175, so that would mean a
>>40% price increase. This is unacceptable to almost everyone involved;
>>who would we lose at that price? How much would that reduce the
>>attendance? -- all our calculations have been based on a figure of
>>500-600 people. If the cost increase reduces the attendance to 400,
>>we might as well have stayed at GWU and just capped the attendance.
>>I'll be calling the venue tomorrow to let them know we won't be
>>holding the convention there, and the venue search returns to square
>>one at this point. We can probably just exclude all hotels from this
>>new search; hotels want the attendees to be renting rooms, and we
>>can't guarantee much in the way of room occupancy. Some conference
>>centers might be suitable, but it seems a stretch; I'll ask GWU for
>>price quotes but the numbers may not work out.
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