For the last seven years, the maximum amount of money WordCamp organizers could charge for ticket prices was $20 per day. In 2019, this will increase to $25 per day.
The new amount accounts for inflation and provides breathing room for organizers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, $20 in January of 2006 is equal to $25.51 in October of 2018.
Organizers don’t have to charge this amount and are encouraged to keep the ticket price as low as possible. The increase is also part of a delicate balancing act between not being a financial burden and getting 80% or more of attendees to show up.
“The ticket price does not reflect on the value of the event,” Andrea Middleton, Community organizer said.
“In an ideal world, all WordCamp tickets would be free just like WordPress is free but to avoid organizing a conference for 500 registrants and only having 50 people show up on the day of the event, we charge as little as we possibly can for tickets, but just enough that people will show up for the event if they’re sleepy that morning or got a last-minute invitation to a pool party or something.”
When the proposal to increase the maximum ticket price was published in September, many commenters approved of the increase with some suggesting an even higher amount to account for inflation for the next few years. Ian Dunn questioned whether or not budget shortfalls were due to organizing teams spending money on extra things.
“Beyond that, though, I’m curious why camps are having more trouble today than they were 5 or even 10 years ago?” Dunn said.
“Is it harder to get sponsorships? It seems like the opposite is true, especially given how much the global sponsorship program covers.
“Based on experiences in my local community, I suspect that the primary reason for budget shortfalls is that the organizing team is choosing to do extra things, beyond what’s necessary to meet the goals of a WordCamp. For example, holding after-parties at trendy venues, expensive speaker gifts, professional A/V (which I’ve advocated for in the past, but not at the cost of higher ticket prices), etc.”
It is interesting to ponder how much money WordCamps could save globally by eliminating the materialistic aspects of the event such as t-shirts, speaker gifts, lanyards, badges, signs, etc.
At there core, WordCamps are about gathering the local community together in a physical location to share knowledge. Not every WordPress event needs to mimic WordCamp US or WordCamp Europe, two of the largest events in the world.
Although the WordPress Community team tracks data such as how much each WordCamp charges for ticket prices, the information is not readily available. This is because of the large volume of data that would need to be calculated and displayed. It would be interesting to see an info-graphic of this data where you can compare the average ticket price for WordCamps per country.
Hugh Lashbrooke, a WordPress Community team contributor who has access to the data says that, “globally the majority of camps have lower prices.”
WordCamp organizers are highly encouraged to keep track of attendance as the data is used to help make better informed decisions. The team will review the no-show rates at WordCamps at the end of 2019 to determine if the price increase had any effect. If not, the team may increase the price again for 2020.