Nov. 16–19, 2014
Oregon Convention Center (OCC)
Rosina Romano, the Entomological Society of America’s (ESA) director of meetings, anticipated 3,500 attendees (insect experts) at Entomology 2014. A third of those are students, so ESA always includes off-site events that appeal to a younger demographic. This year, that included an Urban Adventure Run scavenger hunt and a student reception at Portland bar Punch Bowl Social.
Romano’s biggest concern heading into Entomology 2014 was logistical: The OCC sat on the opposite side of the Willamette River from most of the hotels where attendees stayed, so they had to use light rail to reach the venue. In the end, complimentary rail passes eased the distance. “We’re happy we took advantage of local transport,” Romano said, “and didn’t add our own buses.”
ESA stopped providing on-site child care, and instead offered child-care grants of up to $400. The program was a success, with 27 grants totaling more than $7,000 — far beyond ESA’s budget of $2,800. “Our president kicked in extra money from his Presidential Fund,” Romano said. Also, ESA lured attendees onto Twitter and Instagram by offering American Express gift cards to the top 10 users of the hashtag #entsoc2014. The conference logged a nearly seven-fold increase in hashtag users — from 60 in 2013 to 400 in 2014.
2014 attendee numbers were down slightly in 2014: 3,467 compared to 3,479 in 2013. Exhibitors decreased slightly as well — 52 in 2014 versus 54 in 2013.
Convene’s Pre-Con/Post-Con series asks meeting planners about their challenges and how they intend to address them (Pre-Con), and then circles back around after the meeting has occurred (Post-Con) to see how well they worked out.