WordCamp Europe 2016 organizers made 500 more tickets available this week after the first 1,000 sold out within three weeks of opening ticket sales. According to organizer Petya Raykovska, they are expecting 1700 attendees this year in Vienna, Austria.
“We opened ticket sales more than seven months before the event and it’s going a lot better than expected,” she said. “Initially we prepared for 1200 attendees but the first 1,000 tickets were sold out in less than three weeks and luckily our venue capacity is much bigger this year so we will probably be able to do 1700.”
In addition to gathering volunteers and getting sponsors for WCEU 2016, organizers are also doing a mentoring program for five different cities interested in hosting the next event. The call for applicants for 2017 will be open in two weeks.
What to Expect at WCEU 2016: An Emphasis on Networking
I caught up with Raykovska at WordCamp US and asked her if attendees can expect to have a European WordPress community summit attached to the event.
“We are ready to organize a community summit in Europe before or after the WordCamp, but this is not our decision,” Raykovska said. “It has to be pre-approved by the Foundation and there is a team that has handled the summit so far. We are more than ready to host one if we are allowed.
“WordCamp Europe will be in June, which is less than six months from the most recent community summit, so it might not be a perfect fit in terms of time frame but we are definitely ready to jump in and help organize a community summit in Europe when we get permission,” she said.
Raykovska said that each year’s event is designed to be a unique experience for attendees, because WordCamps are so much more than simply attending sessions.
“We are switching locations on purpose, not just to provide a chance for a new local community to host it each year but to make it more interesting for attendees, to make it a cultural experience,” she said.
“Last year we did networking and speed networking – we put some effort into making sure people actually got to know each other and not just attend the conference to listen to talks. This year we are going to expand on that and organize some small warm-up events before the conference.
“The idea is to help people make a connection,” Raykovska said. “We’re going to try to extend last year’s networking efforts and make sure that attendees meet as many other people as possible and not just stay in their small groups,” she said, emphasizing the importance of this aspect, as European communities are all different.
A Family Friendly Event
As the event is held during summer in the northern hemisphere, WordCamp Europe organizers recognize that many attendees may be traveling with their families.
“We’re going to try to make the event a lot more family friendly,” Raykovska said. “We know that as the community grows, the people grow with it. There have been so many wonderful WordPress babies in the past year and we’ve noticed all of them. We want to make sure that when people travel they can bring their families along and it can be a good family experience as well.”
A children’s museum is located right next door to the WordCamp venue with activities for all ages.
“We’re trying to establish a connection with them and working to make sure that our space provides for families and people who want to bring their kids over and spend some quality time and also go listen to sessions,” she said. Childcare is a possibility they are considering.
Only 228 tickets remain at this time and Raykovska said they’re disappearing fast. The demand for tickets is a testament to the quality of this event and its organizers. If you’re planning to attend WordCamp Europe 2016, don’t put off buying your ticket.