I hope it's okay to post this here but I'm looking to get feedback from you all about how we should host this year's Developer Days in Newbury as I know there's a fairly large overlap in attendees here.
We're setting dates (looking to be around the 18th June for Newbury, actual date TBC) and locations and we're concerned about the venue for Newbury and would like your opinion.
Options we have:
1) Host at the NI office.
Pros: Known location that people are used to, good quality, relatively easy to get to, free parking etc
Cons: We've had 50+ people at Dev Days in the past and we're running out of room. Proposed plan - don't split the two rooms we usually run Dev Days in and keep it open as one track room and then use Edison (the conference table room) for another track. But could get busy, especially if one track is significantly more popular. We could do a show of hands at the start of the day to work out which sessions will get a larger crowd?
2) Host at a hotel
Pros: More space
Cons: Potentially poor quality AV or less accessible location. E.g. the Regency Hotel we used last year does not have good projectors and screens. Of course we will try and find somewhere with better AV but we don't have a huge choice in venues to choose from in Newbury. And for some reason a lot of venues don't update their AV.
So my question, for those familiar with the Newbury area and the NI office - what is preferable?
I would keep it simple and avoid the NI office I'd it will complicate the day. I don't remember that the regency particularly took away from anything but it was a while ago.
Have you considered green park in Reading? There are some facilities there which I think might be run by the tech hub there called ConnectTVT. I've only been to the tech hub though and not the conference facilities though so can't comment on what is there
I like the idea of it at NI Newbury (I think from NI's perspective it can seem like an open day) plus the access to NI staff in the office is a selling point.
Out on a limb here, how about tracking it across 2 days - Day 1 aimed at Beginners, Day 2 aimed at Intermediate for example
Haha so that worked out as a tie.
I believe we've decided to go for a hotel in the end as it's simpler on the logistics. I will try to work out better screens and projectors for the venue though as I believe last year's weren't the best.
Thanks for your input
I think the Regency was a bit of a let down last year. It took a lot of the NI personality away from the event. I agree with Steve as the idea is to show case the NI as a company and also the software. If the crowd is getting quite large then a survey of the potential attendees would be a good move and may be even break it down in to 4 sections across two days. Beginners, Intermediates, Advanced and Manager/Non programmers. It sounds like you are trying to cram a lot in to 1 day.
Hope this helps sway the vote.
Thanks for the input, unfortunately I failed to see the email and I believe we have confirmed an external venue.
I personally would love to bring it back to the office as I agree, the atmosphere is excellent at the Newbury event due to the location (and possibly the crowd, the Newbury area has some very engaged developers). The issue we have is that we run lots of these events across Europe in a few weeks and so we, as staff, rely on it being one day, get in, get out, same content at each venue etc so that we can run the events whilst doing our day-to-day jobs too. A lot of the staff and presentation allocation and travel days were set before we decided on a Newbury venue. We're now at the situation where if we were to run two days at Newbury our staff wouldn't be able to make the Manchester event.
But it's definitely a good idea to split it and something I would like to try in future. I think a lot of our web infrastructure could handle it. So for next year, now knowing we definitely can't host it at the office (we tried some creative ways to fit more people, it didn't work), we might be able to schedule two days in from the start. I think it will take some persuading but I'll give it a go!
I will also speak with the Newbury office staff, I think it would be great to get some of the usual faces to join for lunch, catch up with you guys and maybe stick around for a session or two. I imagine people like Pete and Sacha would be very keen to join!