Profile of the Site Selection Committee
Each year hundreds attend the NASIG conference which is held in interesting and unusual sites that are sometimes off the beaten conference path. The NASIG conference is the highlight of the annual conference circuit for many attendees. Participants are often caught marveling at the location and are overheard to exclaim, “How did they pick this site?” Well, there is actually a Site Selection Committee tasked with choosing the perfect place for each future conference from a plethora of possibilities. To an onlooker, it sometimes seems that the activities of the committee are opaque and shrouded in mystery. The purpose of this profile is to de-mystify the work of the committee and highlight its hard work and operations. As profiles editor, I sent a series of questions to the committee. The following questions and answers outline the conversation.
The committee consists of the NASIG President, the
Vice President, and the Conference Coordinator, with
the President usually performing the chairperson
functions such as writing reports and reporting to the
board. The Conference Coordinator is chosen through a
formal application process in which a call for volunteers
is sent out and a small group selects the successful
candidate from the pool of applications received.
How are decisions made about which cities are reviewed?
Choosing a city to review involves a number of factors.
The committee considers locations or regions that
members have indicated would be of interest to them.
It focuses on the geographic location in conjunction
with an analysis of the concentration of NASIG
members in an area. NASIG tries to move the
conference around to different regions so that
maximum numbers of NASIG members have a
conference fairly close by every few years. It also helps
NASIG to set up a Conference Planning Committee
when there are several members in the area. The 2016
conference scheduled for Albuquerque has been an
exception with few members close at hand.
Other considerations include average cost of hotel
rooms, size and location of airport(s) in relation to the
conference site, access to restaurants and other
activities in the area, and various amenities offered by
the hotel and city. The committee tries to find
conference sites that are no more than thirty miles from
a major airport. A more complete list of criteria for site
selection is available at:
two or three places for onsite visits. The Conference
Coordinator works with the city visitor bureau (CVB) to
make travel arrangements. Sometimes a city will pay
for air travel, but usually NASIG covers that cost. The
CVB will set up meetings with a few different hotels in
that city for the committee to visit and will arrange for
overnight stays in some of the hotels. The
establishments usually provide the rooms gratis, and it
is rare that Site Selection Committee members stay in
the same hotel multiple nights. The CVB also takes the
committee to see some possible conference event
venues such as local museums, zoos, or gardens. After
site visits have been completed, the committee
compares the locations visited and makes a report to
the NASIG Board. The decision as to the next
conference location is made by the board based on the
information the Site Selection Committee has provided.
What are some examples of why cities considered may not be selected?
Site of the 2016 NASIG Conference, Hotel Albuquerque
(Photo courtesy of Steve Oberg)
What is the process for site selection?
The Conference Coordinator sends a form letter to cities
chosen for review asking for proposals. Letters may go
out to fifteen or twenty possible cities requesting
proposals. The Site Selection Committee reviews the
proposals from the cities that respond, which could be
approximately 80 percent of those asked, and selects
Some of the reasons the committee has decided against
having the conference in a city include:
The airport is very small and far from the downtown
Restaurants are several blocks walk from the hotel
There is no easy way to reach the conference location
without using trains or buses in addition to airplanes
Unresponsiveness during the site selection process
(which indicates NASIG might have this same problem
during conference planning)
High hotel rates
Are there other interesting facts about the process that the committee would like to share?
While the economy was struggling and the hotel rates
were favorable, NASIG was planning conference sites
two years out. This year, we decided to take a break,
and we will be doing site selection later in 2016 for the
2018 conference, rather than visiting sites in late 2015
or early 2016. This will allow the selection committee
to see the site closer to the time of year that the
conference would take place as opposed to in the
middle of winter which often happens. Also, the Vice
President will have a chance to be part of the selection
process for the conference site at which they will be
What are some of the rewards and challenges of being on the committee?
It is interesting to see the locations of the conference
sites and to be part of the discussion for what is
required in a NASIG conference venue. We meet some
really good people on these visits and see some very
interesting locations. One of the challenges can be the
time of the year that the committee does the site visits.
If we do the visits in the winter, we try to picture what
everything will look like for a May/June conference
How much travel is involved to choose a site?
The committee will usually travel to two or three sites
in a year, with two nights hotel stay.
What happens after the site is chosen?
The work of the Site Selection Committee is complete
with regards to the conference site for a particular
conference year and hands the reigns over to the
Conference Planning Committee (CPC) and the Program
Planning Committee (PPC) who in collaboration with the
board plan the next outstanding NASIG conference. The
Conference Coordinator is an ex officio on the CPC.
According to all reports from the Site Selection
Committee, the Conference Planning Committee, the
Program Planning Committee, and the NASIG Board, the
31st Annual NASIG Conference to be held in
Albuquerque, New Mexico from June 9 to 12, 2016
promises to be amazing! The conference theme will be
“Embracing New Horizons” and Albuquerque will
definitely be another warm and welcoming place for
NASIG to visit.