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World Conference Venue Selection Policy

How does ACBS decide where to hold the annual World Conference?

There are many factors that go into the ACBS World Conference site location decision. It is important to note that these factors are assessed at the time site decisions are made and may change in the period between contracting and the actual conference. Although we consider all of these factors, we can never balance all of them perfectly in every year. Here are some of the most critical considerations:

  • Geographic rotation. Where possible, the ACBS Board is committed to a regular rotation among the major hubs of international ACBS members.
  • Availability of adequate space. The location needs to be large enough and with sufficient infrastructure to accommodate up to 1,000 people who need meeting space, local transportation, meals, sleeping rooms, and other services for nearly a week—and with the goal of hosting most activities and services within walking distance of the conference.
  • Track record on public policies that reflect ACBS core values. However, policy landscapes often change quickly, and unfortunately, sometimes a location’s public policies become misaligned with ACBS values after signing.
  • Affordability for registrants. Potential cities must include favorable rates for conference center space and services. These rates determine the total cost for registrants to attend the meeting, and ACBS negotiates aggressively to keep the cost as affordable as possible. Sometimes using university space enables costs to be kept lower.
  • Air transportation routes from high volume domestic and international markets. Airline service routes and historical performance are reviewed as part of the decision to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of flights without undue numbers of connections required to travel. Bus and train access is also preferred.

ACBS conducts extensive research and in-person visits to help determine the best conference locations and while personal opinions are subjective, the final selection decision is made after very careful consideration with the Conference Strategy Committee and members of the ACBS Board of Directors.

To secure the space and services ACBS needs to produce a conference, we must sign contracts several years in advance. Significant and unavoidable cancellation fees are part of these contracts, which can make changes or cancellations impractical or impossible.

The current selection criteria are considered:

1) Conference venue space available and pricing (including technology, catering, meeting space, etc.)
2) Accommodations/hotel options quality and pricing
3) Accessibility and comfort via air/ground transportation across our diverse demographic and geographic membership
4) Location interest/attractiveness for our membership
5) Local support (volunteers, potential local attendee pool, etc.).
6) Rotating to serve different parts of the world and time zones

Values Statement:
Throughout the ACBS community, we work in a collegial, open, generous, self-critical, non-discriminatory, and mutually supportive way. We have yet to find a venue that 100% perfectly matches our values, however we do our best to balance them by considering these below:

  • Collegial - we invite member suggestions of places to host the WC
  • Open - we are creating this document to provide as much transparency as possible in our decision making processes and encourage you to reach out to the Conference Strategy Committee (CSC) with questions
  • Generous - we are aware of affordability concerns and ensuring we make the conference available to as many as possible by keeping costs low and providing as much as we can (social events, etc.) to provide maximum value
  • Self-critical - we are willing (and do) take feedback, discuss that feedback and act on it in as many ways as we are able to
  • Non-discriminatory - we consider the openness and accessibility of potential conference host locations and do our best to provide for people's needs (food preferences, financial costs, gender-neutral toilets, consideration of freedom of individuals in countries, etc.)
  • Supportive - we are welcoming and respectful of different views and actively seek these out, whilst also moving forwards with the difficult tasks of organising large events

Approved by the CSC on October 26, 2023

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