2016 Annual Meeting Survey Results
Last November, the AAR joined with SBL to host their 2016 Annual Meetings in San Antonio, Texas. In attendance were 9,460 AAR and SBL members and exhibitors, a 5.8% decrease from the 2015 Atlanta Annual Meeting.
A total of 1,336 AAR, SBL, and Additional Meetings sessions occurred during the five-day time period from Thursday, November 17, to Tuesday, November 22. AAR hosted 455 sessions.
Responses to the post-Annual Meeting survey reflect generally positive experiences by the members in attendance. Survey results are posted online (PDF). 94 percent of survey respondents thought the 2016 Annual Meeting was a satisfactory or very satisfactory experience. Satisfaction with sessions was high: 87 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: 92 percent reported satisfaction. Respondents rated the San Antonio Annual Meeting location favorably, giving positive feedback about its hotel facilities (88 percent) and meeting room space (83 percent).
The Annual Meeting attracted attendees from around the world: 75 nationalities were represented. Canadians made up the largest international group with 409 attendees, followed by the United Kingdom (316), Germany (176), Australia (98), Israel (64), the Netherlands (62), South Africa (58), Sweden (53), Japan (50), Norway (49), and Switzerland (39). California was the best-represented state in 2016 with 820 attendees, followed by home state Texas (806), New York (452), Illinois (444), Massachusetts (373), Pennsylvania (285), North Carolina (267), and Michigan (261).
Satisfaction with the registration and housing process was high: 94 percent of respondents rated the process positively. The peak hotel night was Saturday, November 21, with almost 4,700 hotel rooms in use. Overall more than 19,000 room nights were occupied during the meeting.
The most common complaints regarding the 2016 Annual Meeting in San Antonio were that a) there was not enough WiFi or the WiFi provided did not work, and b) there were not enough pre-circulated papers/papers posted early enough (although a similar number of people indicated they liked this format), and c) attendance at the Annual Meeting is contingent on funding and/or too expensive.
In reference to the WiFi access issue, we are working on contracts with the main hotels to negotiate the use of WiFi. We have more budget leeway for 2017’s Annual Meeting since the Hynes Convention Center provides free WiFi access to all guests. Regarding the comments about pre-circulated papers, we will encourage program units to host more of these sessions, and will work to post papers on the website (or in PAPERS) sooner so that members may have time to fully read them. Because attendance at the Annual Meeting is sometimes cost-prohibitive for members, especially those in precarious employment positions, we will work to increase the number of travel grants offered (there is a Strategic Plan action item requesting a 20% increase in awards for this year), and will continue to work, within our abilities, to keep costs at a minimum when negotiating contracts.
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 1,188, which represents about 27 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.