[Yapc-na-organizers] ideas for housing payments

Joshua McAdams joshua.mcadams at gmail.com
Sat Feb 17 11:40:31 PST 2007

> Should we try and include "all" pricing options in the choices for the
> conference?  Should we separate the housing and food out into an external
> shopping cart?  Should we separate out only the special cases of extended
> stays?

Welcome to what was the most painful part of the conference, for me at
least :)  I still have a couple of housing issues that I'm dealing
with... Kurt, you'll be hearing from me soon ;)

Last year at IIT, they really wanted us to use meal cards, similar to
the Cougar cards, but they wanted to know the exact days in which the
cards could be used (similar to the RFoC)... understandable, but
practically impossible.  It sounds like you have a few options for
food this year though and that you can definitely make out better than
we did.

If I'm understanding the RFoC plan, you pre-pay for specific (day and
meal) all-you-can eat meals.  This sounds good, but the problem with
YAPC is that attendees don't even know what they'll be doing for any
meal until they get there.  It's easy to be pulled into a group outing
five minutes before lunch or purchase dinner with Larry at the auction
and miss a pre-paid dinner, so if the RFoC is tied to a specific day
and meal, it might not even be worth offering.

If the University is stiff-arming you into buying some type of meal
plan for people to eat on-campus, then the Cougar cards might be the
best option.  With my perceived understanding of how they work, it
seems like you'll be able to buy credit for any day/meal combination
and use that credit until the card expires.  IIT let us do something
like this, only they also wanted to know the day/meal that the card
was going to be used and if that card wasn't used on that day, they
couldn't guarantee at hot meal.  Whether the University you are
working with is like IIT or (seemingly) less picky, this option has a
few advantages.  First, there is the flexibility in meal choice (even
if it is a bag of chips and cold sandwich) and then there is the
ability to go wild with the remaining balance on the card at the end
of the conference.  So, if you buy at $40 Cougar Card, and end up only
using $30 through the week, you can go buy a case of Red Bull from the
cafeteria or kiosk before you leave and actually use all of your
money.  Or, in the case of many YAPC::NA 2006 attendees, you can
donate your card to the hack-a-thons that will no-doubt last a few
days past the conference and support the future of Perl with snacks
purchased with the extra balance on your card.

In short, if my assessment of the RFoC and Cougar Card were correct,
the Cougar Card gets my vote.

As far as having ACT+Shopping Cart, don't plan on it for this
conference.  I've heard that ACT has gained some development steam as
of late, but I don't think that it has that ability right now to
integrate a full-featured shopping cart.  Asking the developers to get
that functionality working before YAPC::NA 2007 is asking a lot.  We
asked for TPF payment integration and from what I understand, it's
just now making headway this year.  The system is very promising, but
it's being developed in other people's free time, so tread lightly :)

Just a comment on the shopping cart from last year... it had some
80/20 leanings.  80% of the conference attendees had no problem with
it, but 20% had trouble and ended up taking 80+% of my time.  There is
a fine balance between offering lots of options and offering the
options that most people will want.  We didn't get it right last year,
so err on the side of less, yet smarter, options if you can.

That's just my .02.

More information about the YAPC-NA-organizers mailing list