The AOM Executive Committee engaged in much discussion and background research before settling on the registration fees for the virtual Annual Meeting. First, we benchmarked sister associations and found a lot of variation in fees and offerings. For example, some charge the same as for a physical meeting, others a reduced rate (similar to AOM), and others a symbolic (or no) fee.
We also positioned this initiative within AOM’s broad philosophy and our pricing framework. We wanted to maintain continuity with previous years while simultaneously acknowledging that this is an unusual year and members are under financial strain. We considered the exceptional year within our larger responsibilities around the operating sustainability of AOM. The registration fees for AOM 2020 are being fed directly into conference delivery—the bulk going directly to enable Divisions and Interest Groups (DIGs) and presenters with technical support leading up to, and through, the event.
Finally, we considered various options for our approach to the virtual annual meeting. With 26 DIGs, we could have gone for a decentralized approach, with each DIG developing its own individualized program and working from its own platform. That would have reduced the cost of delivery, but it would have increased the strain on our volunteers and it would not have delivered a cohesive product to the members. That wouldn’t have honored the work that authors and volunteers already put into the 2020 program. We wanted to deliver an integrated event experience that would have good value and include lots of opportunity for engagement and interaction, and access to a great deal of content. We wanted to ensure that a virtual conference would be consistent with our goals for an AOM community.