Wednesday, July 22, 2020

How Much Will You Pay for an Online or Hybrid Conference?

Conference organizers, both academic and commercial, have been hit hard by COVID-19, with local, national and international conferences postponed or cancelled. One response is to offer events online, or both online and in person. But how much will delegates be willing to pay?

For the last few years I have attended, and spoken at, events in Sydney and Singapore under the EduTech brand. EduTECH 2020 Sydney is planned for 9 - 10 November at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. But in the interim a Sydney Mini Virtual Summit on Adaption of Education is planned for Wednesday, 29 July 2020 4.00pm AEST. This is four speakers over two hours, plus thirty minutes for questions. The fee is $20 for early bird, $25 standard, and $30 for last minute registration. It will be interesting to see how many people are willing to pay for an online symposium, after months of free presentations. 

Meanwhile, EduTECH Asia 2020 is planned for 11 - 12 November at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore. There was a very interesting
EduTech Asia Virtual conference, 23 - 26 June. This was free, presumably to promote the full face to face conference.

It is not clear if these events in Sydney and Singapore have parallel online versions planned, for those who cannot, or do not wish to meet in a conference center. This would be using what is called in the education field hybrid mode: some people together at the conference venue and others joining in by video conference. The problem for educational institutions, and for conference organizers, is how to offer an online product without lowering the perceived quality of their face to face offering. Also if a lower price is offered online, then how low can this be to attract delegates, without undercutting face to face attendance? Australian universities typically charge the same amount, for face to face and online courses. But will an online conference delegate pay a thousand dollars, or more, for a conference?

Last year the ASCILITE conference fee was about AU$900 face to face. This year the virtual conference fee is $100 for members and $250 for non-members presenting papers. The fee for some delegates is as low as $25.

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