2014 Annual Meeting Survey Results
Last November, the AAR joined with SBL to host their 2014 Annual Meetings in San Diego, California. In attendance were 9,874 AAR and SBL members and exhibitors, a 3.6% decrease from the 2013 Baltimore Annual Meeting probably due to the West coast location.
A total of 1,365 AAR, SBL, and Additional Meetings sessions occurred during the five-day time period from Thursday, November 20, to Tuesday, November 25. AAR hosted 512 sessions.
Responses to the post-Annual Meeting survey reflect generally positive experiences by the members in attendance. Survey results are posted online (PDF). 95 percent of survey respondents thought the 2014 Annual Meeting was a satisfactory or very satisfactory experience. Satisfaction wtih sessions was high: 86 percent of survey respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality. The opportunity to network with other colleagues also received high marks: 93 percent reported satisfaction. Respondents rated the San Diego Annual Meeting location favorably, giving positive feedback about its hotel facilities (90 percent) and meeting room space (85 percent).
The Annual Meeting attracted attendees from around the world: 73 nationalities were represented. Canadians made up the largest international group with 474 attendees, followed by the United Kingdom (341), Germany (170), Australia (108), Israel (78), the Netherlands (69), Norway (59), South Africa (54), and Sweden (48). Home-state California was the best-represented state in 2014 with 1,474 attendees, followed by Texas (505), Illinois (494), New York (492), Massachusetts (394), and Pennsylvania (342).
Satisfaction with the registration and housing process was high: 95 percent of respondents rated the process positively. The peak hotel night was Saturday, November 22, with almost 5,000 hotel rooms in use. Overall more than 20,000 room nights were occupied during the meeting.
The most common complaint was that we don’t have the meeting in San Diego every year—but seriously, some complained about the expense of San Diego versus other cities. San Diego is more expensive than some Annual Meeting destinations (such as Atlanta or San Antonio) but less expensive than others (such as San Francisco and Chicago). We try our best to negotiate low hotel rates and partner with airlines to offer discounts in order to help our members stay within their travel budgets.
Another complaint had to do with the size of the venue, and the length of walk from the Hilton to the far end of the Convention Center. There was some misperception that we were not using all of the meeting space in the Convention Center, which was not the case. Although we were only using three of the eight exhibit halls in the Convention Center, we were utilizing all of the Upper Level and Mezzanine meeting space. The AAR and SBL combined programs can use up to 100 meeting rooms concurrently, so our meetings are going to be spread out no matter what city, convention center, or hotels we utilize.
The Annual Meeting Satisfaction Survey is sent via e-mail to all Annual Meeting attendees at the conclusion of each meeting and is offered online at the AAR website. The number of responses this year was 1,405, which represents about 29 percent of those AAR and dual members who were sent the survey. Respondents did not answer each question, so the values were measured from the number of respondents who did. The survey is voluntary and open to all attendees. The Executive Office staff would like to thank everyone who participated in the post-Annual Meeting survey. It continues to be valuable to the Annual Meeting process, for it provides the AAR’s Program Committee, Board of Directors, and Executive Office staff with an important measure of member satisfaction. We value this opportunity to hear your comments and suggestions on how we can continue to meet your needs and to offer an excellent meeting.