Frequently Asked Questions about deciding the future of ICFA

The ICFA is contractually bound to remain in Florida at the Orlando Airport Marriott through 2026.  We are investigating alternative locations for conferences after 2026.    

Q.  How does IAFA decide which cities to consider for ICFA?

A. The two first steps to this decision are the airport and the weather in March in the location.  We need an airport with a significant international airline presence to accommodate attendees coming from at least twenty countries.  It is not enough that the airport just has the “International” designation–we need to ensure that a sufficient number of airlines have gate privileges and that there are frequent flights from numerous destinations.  We essentially look at the 20 biggest airports in the US.
The weather is also an issue; we consider the likelihood of weather disruptions in March at the destination.

After these two steps are considered, we must then look for hotels that are of a size that can reasonably fit an ICFA and in a price range that we can afford. There are hotels that can fit us, but are not in our sleeping room rate range. There are hotels that are ostensibly in our price range, but will not allow us to use our own audio-visual equipment. So, we narrow down the possibilities to the hotels that match our checklist of needs, which is a small list.

Q.  Why does ICFA not move from year to year like other big conferences?

A. We can negotiate better pricing from the hotel if we agree to multi-year contracts. Additionally, we have purchased our own audio visual equipment and store it from year to year, easily saving us tens of thousands of dollars each year. We also store registration materials and book room stuff in a local storage unit. It would not be cost effective to re-locate all this material year after year. Finally, building up a relationship with the people in the hotel also saves us money, since we can establish trust and friendships which can get us some additional consideration in cost and intangibles.

Q.  Why does IAFA not consider moving ICFA out of the United States?

A. We have considered it, and we even looked at Toronto. However, international politics and now the pandemic have made moving across borders difficult, especially trying to deal with customs with all of our “stuff” (audio visual equipment, for example). Ultimately we determined that such a move is not what is best for the association. We decided a better route to be more internationally inclusive is to sponsor and co-sponsor events in other countries, as we have done, for example, with the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow and the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung in Germany.  

Q. Has IAFA considered moving ICFA away from a hotel model to a university-based model?

A. There has been some conversation about this, but it does not seem to be a popular option among our members, and it would most likely involve changing our dates away from when classes are in session, to June, in order for such a model to be cost effective. We do still have it in mind as a possibility if there comes a time when it seems to have more popular support.

Q.  Has IAFA considered blending ICFA into a live and virtual conference?

A. We have considered this, but the cost of putting on a blended conference in a hotel is yet too high for a conference of our size and budget.  We have opted instead to hold an annual virtual conference. We will revisit this decision as technology improves and as (hopefully) the cost of such a project becomes more reasonable.

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