Big Changes to Convergence 2013 Agenda – Better or Worse?

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Convergence is Microsoft Dynamics largest annual user convention. (But there are plenty of prospective users there too. You even get special colored badges so everyone can treat you like a VIP).  This year Convergence will be held in New Orleans March 18-21st. But Convergence alumni will notice that the 2013 agenda has some big changes.

First, there is no large welcome bash scheduled for Sunday night. Last year we rocked with Daughtry at the Houston ballpark to kick off Convergence 2012. The year before was the party at the Atlanta aquarium. In the past this welcome event for thousands of attendees signaled the start of the fun and energy that is Convergence. This year the welcome party has been replaced with a closing party on Thursday night, with musical guest Matchbox Twenty. The convergence website promotes it as “a perfect way to celebrate with friends and colleagues and cap off your Convergence 2013 experience!

My guess is that the convergence planning committee wants to entice attendees to stay for the full event  (so they won’t miss the big party). And responded to people who said they did not want to work on the weekends. Or perhaps there was no venue space available for Sunday night in New Orleans. But this change has a big impact on schedules and the pocketbook. Compare Convergence 2012 agenda to Convergence 2013 agenda.

In the past the welcome party was Sunday night, then sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the closing session on Wednesday afternoon. Most attendees flew to the convention city Sunday afternoon and flew home Wednesday afternoon. Many people I know missed the closing sessions and keynote on Wednesday.  This was 3 days out of the office (plus one weekend day) and 3 nights in a hotel.

Without the welcome party, registration this year starts on Monday afternoon. Monday has user groups and the expo reception in the evening so attendees can fly in on Monday morning. But in order to attend the closing party people won't be able to fly home until Friday morning. This means a full week out of the office and 4 nights in a hotel.  (Hotel costs at negotiated Convergence group rate, range from $148-$239).

And for Dynamics partners the event is even longer if you attend the Partner Connections event on Sunday March 17th.

Perhaps people will want to stay for the weekend in New Orleans to enjoy Bourbon Street. But my guess is that people will balk at being out of the office for a full week. It will be interesting to see if this agenda change is successful and if it will be repeated in 2014.

One benefit is that this new agenda does offer more Expo time. More on that in an upcoming post.

What do you think – do you like the new agenda? Leave a comment below. Either way, I’ll see you at Convergence!

By Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions,  Connecticut Dynamics GP Partner

3 thoughts on “Big Changes to Convergence 2013 Agenda – Better or Worse?”

  1. Every trade show/convention I have attended or participated in over the years (too many to think about) has had a problem with the last day. A friend of mine ran a business putting on 15 major antique and collectable shows and on the last day, her issue was vendors folding their booths early, a problem she addressed well.

    This issue, "How do I keep people here through the end", is an issue every convention planer faces.

    I think these plans are good, especially if they mean more face time in the expo. In some years past at Convergece, a party was held on the last evening and more people stayed for that than in recent years. It works and it works for firms like us that want more time to meet our customers face to face.

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