Including the Community in Your Conference

December 29, 2015 - By: Sarah Pease

A huge challenge facing conferences is that many people want to go, but not everyone can afford (either due to time or budget restraints) to attend. In fact, the demand for some conference tickets has almost reached an
Adele-like frenzy. The price tag for the popular TED2015 Truth and Dare conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada this past spring
started around $8,500. The silver lining? If you didn’t score a TED ticket, but were dining at the nearby
Potluck Café Society, you were able to watch a live stream of the conference for
free. That’s right. Vancouver officials and TED organizers worked together to make sure the entire city had access to the conference at
various locations. Not only did the residents reap the rewards of having access to
top-notch speakers, but since most host cities see a
significant increase in their population, which can tax resources such as public transportation and restaurants, the collaboration between conference and community also fostered goodwill. In a
PCMA blog post, Sonu Purhar, Travel Media Relations Specialist,
Tourism Vancouver said, “Airing the TED Conference talks in real-time gave Vancouver locals and visitors from all backgrounds and walks of life the opportunity to participate in a conference that they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to attend”. Sonu added, “TED organizers were very mindful of engaging with the local community, and this year’s free live stream made the conference more accessible than it’s ever been.” Tell us in the comments if you’d like other conferences to adopt this idea.
Photo Credit: Ryan Lash/TED