The search for a host city for WordCamp US 2022 is now underway with what WordPress community organizer Angela Jin calls “big changes” to the selection process. Unlike previous years where WordPress communities applied after researching venues and demonstrating activity and interest, community leadership plans to conduct its own city search.
“We all felt that requesting applications from local WordPress communities today would place an undue burden on volunteers,” Jin said. “Risk evaluation and forecasting feasibility of an in-person flagship [event] requires a professional events management team.”
WCUS lost money in deposits made for the event in 2020 after it was cancelled due to the pandemic. It was supposed to be held in St. Louis another year but the organizing team has decided to make a fresh start on the planning.
“When WordCamp US 2020 was canceled, we did explore moving the venue contract in St. Louis forward,” Jin said. “The negotiations didn’t lead to anything we felt was in the best interest of the WordPress community, however, so we did cancel the contract and we lost some venue deposits.”
Jin said WordCamp US is one of the biggest venue contracts they manage and it made sense to bring in a professional events management team to negotiate with potential venues, given all the uncertainty surrounding in-person events right now.
“They will be a part of the organizing team and help facilitate venue logistics,” Jin said. “Venue logistics at this scale tends to be difficult and invisible. Having a professional events team frees up our volunteer organizers to focus more on community-facing tasks. For now, though, the focus is finding and negotiating with the venue.”
WCUS may or may not continue with hosting the event in the same city for two years, depending on the relationship with the venue.
“We’re asking for bids for 2022, with an option to propose for 2023,” Jin said. “A big part of the decision making this year is whether or not the venue will be a partner to the WCUS organizing team. For example, if we do need to cancel, we hope to see any loss minimized. On the other hand, if the situation improves, a venue that offers flexibility to help us host a larger event than we currently anticipate would be amazing.”
Jin would not reveal which cities are under consideration for WCUS 2022 but said the team is including local communities that applied to host the event in 2020. She said many of those organizers are still interested and enthusiastic about hosting the event.
The community team plans to put out a call for organizers in mid-November and will extend the call to more local organizers once the host city has been chosen.