by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, November 2, 2011

With the news today that hotel reservations are now being accepted for the 2012 SHRM Annual Conference, I bring you my 3rd annual expose of SHRM hotel costs....this time, 7 months early.  In the previous two Junes, I have conducted a quick statistical analysis of the cost to attend the SHRM Annual Conference in terms of housing. 

I look at selected SHRM conference brochures (i.e., the ones that I still possessed) over the past 12 years to see what it would cost a person to book a single room on a per night average.  Clearly, prices in 2001 will be different than in 2012, so I use an inflation calculator to adjust costs to today's dollars.  So, how does the 2012 Conference in Atlanta compare to years past?

Cost of an Average SHRM-Affiliated Hotel (per night)
San Francisco (2001): $250.77 (standard deviation of $55.29)
Chicago (2008): $250.16 (sd of $28.80)
San Diego (2010): $238.42 (sd of $41.04)
Washington DC (2006): $226.12 (sd of $38.85)
Philadelphia (2001): $212.70 (sd of $56.90)
San Diego (2005): $199.94 (sd of $48.75)
Atlanta (2012): $198.36 (sd of $22.13)
Las Vegas (2007): $164.16 (sd of $31.64)
Las Vegas (2011): $126.25 (sd of $17.51)

I ran a simple one-way ANOVA (i.e., a fancy way of comparing multiple means simultaneously) to see if there was a significant difference across the means of these 9 sampled years.  The results showed a statistically significant difference overall with F = 21.82 (p=.0000) with an R-squared of 38.57% (hence, nearly 39% of the variation in hotel costs can be explained by location).  The result is not surprising, given that San Francisco and Chicago is nearly twice as expensive as Las Vegas.

Clearly, attending the SHRM Annual Conference in 2012 will be a much more expensive proposition than in 2011.   Hotel costs in Atlanta are approximately $72 a night more expensive than in Las Vegas.  However, hotel prices are in the lower third historically, representing a bigger bargain than in any other city than Las Vegas.   Further, given the 2nd smallest standard deviation in the sample, you will be able to find higher quality/higher rated hotels for not much more than the overall average.

But....once again, you better start saving your pennies for 2012, as the conference is returning to Chicago, amongst the more expensive cities in the group.

See you in Atlanta.

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