It turns out that the 2019 Summit and Ignite will be held the same week in 2019, see this post from Grant for details. It’s definitely a terrible situation for PASS, either compete to some degree (perhaps more for speakers and MS employees than attendees) or try to exit a contract and find a new venue in a very short time. As Grant notes the decision is made years in advance to guarantee that the venue can be obtained (and support 4000-5000 attendees).
I’m a little amused to think there is a third option (stay the course or change dates being the obvious two), we could co-locate with Ignite in Orlando. Orlando has plenty of hotel rooms and the convention center can easily support another 4-5k attendees. I doubt that’s a win for anyone?
This is another time when I wish PASS would publish the date and location when the contract is signed, not at the end of the current year Summit (though they did announce in August this year for the 2019 location). That’s a policy designed to keep people from skipping this year because they like the next year location better. Given that is seems to be permanently stuck in Seattle, why do we not publish?
Would it have made a difference? My cynical/practical guess is no.
The only good news is that the FY20 budget doesn’t get finalized until May 2019 or later. That gives the Board time to see if the registration trend is off, react with more marketing/incentives, and adjust the budget if needed. The hard part is that losing any registration is a direct hit on the “profit” part. You need a bunch of attendees to just cover core costs, after that you start to earn money that can be used for the “do good” side of things.
Not much PASS can do about this. We don’t know yet if it will matter. It just points out again the risk of having an org that relies on a single monster fund raiser each year.