Thank you to the several hundred of you who took the time to share your thoughts about the conference and workshops with us. I have personally read each evaluation several times, compiled the feedback and shared it with my planning committee and the instructors.
There are a few things that we all agree on:
1. Issue: The food was a problem, both the quality of the lunches that were pre-ordered and the availability of food for those who did not pre-order.
Action Step: I will be meeting with the venue to discuss the problems and will be using a DIFFERENT CATERER next year.
2. Issue: The schedule needed to be available in a PDF for you to review in advance or print out.
Action Step: I am having the web site re-designed so that it will be much more user-friendly. In addition, I will provide a downloadable PDF of workshops for you to review and print in advance. Managing 80 workshop presenters is a little like trying to hit a moving target so we will be adding the Revised Date at the top of each PDF we share. Workshop presenters are all volunteers and sometimes their lives get in the way of participating, even at the very last minute. Please be patient with us and them as we try to bring you the most up-to-date information about the schedule.
We will not be printing and mailing a program in advance. For those of you who previously attended the conference in Mankato, you are used to that. However, we decided to take the budget line item for printing and mailings and put it toward facility. The conference never had to pay for facility costs in Mankato because it was sponsored by the University. As you can imagine, the beautiful Mayo Civic Center is expensive. We had to decide whether to raise registration prices or eliminate conference printing and mailing. We decided to do the latter. Thank you for your suggestions about renting a local college or high school. We looked into that as well and none of them in Rochester will book more than 6 months in advance.
3. Issue: Last minute changes were not clearly communicated, particularly for those who didn't hear the announcements.
Action Step: We will have a white board by the registration desk for last minute changes that don't make it into the "Last Minute Changes" handout printed on Friday.
Action Step: We will make sure that there are signs on each door indicating which workshops are occurring and that those are up-to-date with the last minute changes.
4. Issue: We didn't clearly explain the Hospitality Desk. Most of the questions you had about restaurants, parking, downtown navigation, maps, etc. were ones that we had anticipated and had answers at the Hospitality Desk.
Action Step: We will be more clear in our literature and at Registration that the registration desk also functions as the Hospitality Desk. We had facility and downtown maps, information about local restaurants, and many more answers to anticipated questions at the Hospitality Desk but clearly didn't explain that very well. We will also add a FAQ page to the web site addressing all of the questions that came up this year about being in Rochester.
Thank you for your thoughtful comments and suggestions. We look forward to seeing you next year!