The Economy of the Annual Meeting


By Bethany Hawkins, COO, AASLH

If you just registered for the upcoming AASLH Annual Meeting in Kansas City to secure the early bird rate, or if you are still waiting for approval to register, you may be wondering how AASLH uses your registration fees. We strive to keep the meeting as affordable as possible. AASLH has as one of its core values to be sustainable and transparent. To that end,  here is a look behind the scenes at the economy of the Annual Meeting to show you where your money goes.

Let’s take a look at some of our average conference expenses. They include food, coffee, Internet, venue rental, etc.

Item Budgeted Cost to AASLH Cost Per Attendee (based on 900 attendees)
Wi-Fi Internet in Meeting Space $19,000 $21
Five Coffee Breaks $35,000 $39
AV Rental Costs $41,850 $47
Conference Center Rental $17,000-$35,000 $19-$39
Tote Bags/Badge Holders $2,000 $2.22
Design and Printing Services $28,000 $31

These are just a few of the basic expenses that must be paid for each conference.  There are additional expenses that must be covered, ranging from staff time to buses to exhibit hall decor.

Featured speakers can cost from $15,000 to $20,000 with fees and travel expenses ($17-22 per attendee). We also have to cover staff salaries and meeting planner fees and travel for all the wonderful people who work during the conference.

Depending on the venue, there can also be electrical cost, janitorial services, security, medical services, and event insurance which can total almost $10,000 ($11 per attendee). Other small expenses include signage, meeting supplies (like flip charts and pens), shipping, and more.

There are also costs for affinity meals, workshops, tours, and evening events that are covered through your additional ticket purchased. This includes food and transportation, among other things.

The registration fees charged for the AASLH conference could never cover all these expenses at the current rate. We rely on our generous host committees, sponsors, and exhibitors who provide additional funds to underwrite some of the conference costs. Their support is what allows AASLH to remain one of the most affordable national conferences in the country.

Hopefully this glimpse at the economy of the annual meeting gives you a better understanding of how we use your registration dollars. We work hard to use your funds efficiently in ways that best support the work you do through learning and networking opportunities at our largest annual membership gathering.