What is co-location of conferences? We know that co-location is defined as: “to locate together; especially : to place (two or more units) close together so as to share common facilities.” This is provided by Merriam-Webster, but what does it actually mean to us in the conference world? To me it has a few messages.
Spreading out costs: I think one of the main points in today’s economy is that it allows a conference to partner with another conference to share in the costs of the facility or other costs. If you have two companies that might have somewhat differing agendas but might share the same attendees, they can both share in the cost of the rental of the facility or the other costs that might be associated with putting on the event. This also means of course that you would have to also share in the revenue of the attendees tickets and perhaps some of the sponsors but that is to be expected when dealing with partners.
Markets Join Forces: Many companies join together for a common purpose. This is not much different from conferences joining together for a common purpose. It may be that a single conference does not have the amount of content to support a full conference but if they joined with another conference that might also be too small to support a full conference, together they could make a full conference agenda of speakers and exhibitors for a better conference experience.
Management is Distributed: In some cases the companies that are putting on the events are too small but if they joined forces they could spread out the amount of work necessary. perhaps Company A wil be in charge of the front facing marketing promotion and sales, while company B is responsible to the back end management of registrations, exhibit booth set up, housing and speakers. With two companies each taking on all of the responsibilities necessary it spreads out the work load making it easier to accomplish all that needs done.
These are just a few of the simple ideas behind why conferences are co-located. I know that we are beginning to see more and more of this as economic factors make it necessary to join forces and allow for more people to participate in attending conferences as well as managing them. Are you a co-located conference manager? Why are you co-locating? What are some of the downfalls of co-locating conferences? Would love to hear your thoughts.