How expensive will #SHRM13 Hotels be?

by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

With the news today that hotel reservations are now being accepted for the 2012 SHRM Annual Conference, I bring you my 4th annual expose of SHRM hotel costs.

I look at selected SHRM conference brochures (i.e., the ones that I still possessed) over the past 13 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 2013, so I use an inflation calculator to adjust costs to today's dollars.  So, how does the 2013 Conference in Chicago compare to years past?

Cost of an Average SHRM-Affiliated Hotel (per night)
San Francisco (2001): $258.73 (standard deviation of $57.04)
Chicago (2008): $257.38 (sd of $29.63)
CHICAGO (2013): 248.49 (sd of 20.58)
San Diego (2010): $247.86 (sd of $42.66)
Washington DC (2006): $234.27 (sd of $40.25)
Philadelphia (2002): $219.58 (sd of $58.71)
San Diego (2005): $206.89 (sd of $50.45)
Atlanta (2012): $198.36 (sd of $22.13)
Las Vegas (2007): $168.68 (sd of $32.51)
Las Vegas (2011): $130.04 (sd of $18.04)

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 10 sampled years.  The results showed a statistically significant difference overall with F = 23.58 (p=.0000) with an R-squared of 38.48% (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.

I also looked at hotel minimums (i.e., what is the cheapest hotel available through SHRM).  For 2013, the cheapest hotel is $195.  This is the 2nd most expensive minimum in these 10 years of data (only Chicago in 2008 outpaced it with a minimum cost of $202.23).

Clearly, attending the SHRM Annual Conference in 2013 will be a much more expensive proposition than in 2012.   Hotel costs in Chicago are approximately $50 a night more expensive than in Atlanta (and approximately $119 a night more expensive than in Vegas 2011).  The one saving grace? 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/median.

With the conference tagline being "Bigger!"...SHRM really meant it when it comes to hotel costs!

See you in Chicago.

What we can learn from the M&M's rider

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, October 15, 2012

Most people are familiar with stories about a performer making outrageous demands in their contract, such as having only certain kinds of food and/or drink back stage.  The most famous of these stories involve Van Halen and removal of brown M&M's from the candy bowl.

According to the latest issue of Mental Floss magazine, there was a more practical reason for this request:
Far from a diva demand, the candy clause was a brilliant safety feature.  Van Halen shows required tons of gear that required specific fixtures to run safely.  One look at the M&Ms told the band's manager whether the venue had read the whole contract: Brown candy meant potentially deadly working conditions.

So, what's the lesson?  Check your assumptions.  Could the person you are working with truly be a diva?  Sure.  But, there might be some method to his or her madness....or you could be like Nigel Tufnel:

#HREvolution No. 5 Recap

by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, October 11, 2012

Last Sunday, the fifth iteration of HRevolution took place in the West Wing of the McCormick Place with over 100 attendees and guests in place.  Already, reviews have come in fast and furious - check out:

After attending all five events, speaking and presenting at the last three, and co-planning the last two, here are my impressions from Chicago.

The Good
  • High-Quality Content - We'll have to wait for the conference evaluation survey to go out, but I heard few complaints about the sessions were offered.  At each breakout time, attendees were offered at least two quality breakout sessions.
  • Cost - Given the quality provided, the registration fee still feels like a bargain compared to many SHRM day long conferences
  • Many New Attendees - Nearly 50% of attendees had not been to a previous HRevolution event.  It's always great to see fresh faces and new perspectives.
  • Sponsors - Aquire, Ceridian, Pinstripe, and SilkRoad were helpful in keeping attendee costs down.
  • McCormick Place - While it is an expansive locale, we only needed a small number of rooms in a confined space, and McCormick Place fit the bill (other than having no Diet Coke and being far away from coffee)
  • The planning team - As always, Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane, and Ben Eubanks were dedicated to making sure the event was a success and were wonderful to work with.
The Not-So-Good
  • Chicago - As much as I like the city, putting the event on the same day of the Chicago Marathon made travel to McCormick Place difficult, as well as hotel cost prohibitive.
  • Missing Friends - While I loved seeing many new attendees, I missed seeing some usual attendees as well as there input.
  • Combative Conversation - Perhaps it was the quality of sessions, but for the ones I attended, there was a lot more one-way presentations with questions than discussion about the HR issues of today and tomorrow.
The Future
We are no sure what the future of HRevolution will be, but here are a few items I wouldn't mind seeing if a sixth event comes to fruition:
  • New speakers and content - While our sessions and speakers were great, there were many familiar faces who have spoken at HRevolution before.  Then again, the 1997 NBC campaign for reruns comes to mind - "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you."  With so many new faces, it was great for those attendees to see some of the best in the business.
  • Sponsored Bloody Mary Bar - I don't know why we haven't seen it before, but given the inevitable Tweetup the night before, providing Bloody Mary's the next morning seems apropos...and I believe at least one potential sponsor has already been identified.
With this in mind...Whether you attended or not, what would bring you back for a sixth HRevolution? What would you like to see differently?