Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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How does the conference work: People come


Of course the way the conference really works is that people attend and participate. We would like to think that the meeting is designed so that everyone who comes participates; if we count the unconferences, BOF's, blogs and tweats, everyone who wants to certainly does! We suppose, however, that some attendees were lurking, happily, and that's fine too.

Like museums, conferences contribute economically to the cities that host them. This year nearly 500 people came, for an average of more than three days each. While some attendees lived in Indianapolis (c.25), and some drove from nearby states (c 100). About 375 flew, often from other continents. We estimate that attendees spent about $300,000 on travel (and donated $815 to carbon offsets through MW2009; perhaps much more through other avenues).

Almost 1300 room nights were logged by the Hyatt, which means that on average those from outside Indianapolis spent three night in the hotel. Because some rooms were doubled up, the average attendee actually spent closer to four nights in the hotel. The cost to attendees, just for the Hyatt, was over $210,000. Other hotels had some attendees from MW2009, but we can't estimate their costs. And we ate in Indianapolis, not just at the conference receptions; we estimated this at another $90,000, without really thinking about those spinny bar bills:-). The State of Ohio directly collected about $30,000 in sales taxes from room and food alone.

Conference exhibitors spent $47,250 on their booths and at least that much on coming to Indianapolis to man them. Other attendees spent $285,000 on registration, most of which is spent on the hotel and other local businesses providing services to the meeting.

Without counting post meeting recovery days, MW attendees spent over 2500 workdays at the conference and in transit, representing labor costs of well over $1M and, as accounted above, directly spent just under $1M on airfare, hotel, food and fees. A small meeting like MW is a mini-stimulus package.

The real stimulus, however, is the boost in ideas….Thanks to all who contributed to that and are keeping it going.