PASS Summit 2013 - Hello Charlotte!

(cross-posted from Mark Ginnebaugh's blog - Ginneblog)

We’ve finally been able to determine that the PASS Summit 2013 will be in Charlotte, NC. The decision process has been in the works for a long time, and I think it was a well thought out process.

Long-time PASS members know that we’ve held the last three Summits in Seattle, and that we’ll be in Seattle for 2011 and 2012 as well. However SQL Server folks on the East Coast are faced with a long trip every year.

The reasons PASS has traditionally held the Summit in Seattle are pretty simple. About 300 members of the SQL Server product team are able to attend.  Plus Seattle is affordable, as conference cities go, and the venue is the right size.  PASS HQ is nearby in Vancouver – and we have the formula down.  We can put on the world’s premier SQL Server and BI conference, with consistent quality year after year.  The vast majority of PASS revenue comes from the Summit. Therefore moving the location elsewhere has significant risks.

At our January board meeting, there was much discussion about whether we should simply hold the Summit permanently in Seattle.  However, many members of the board felt that the community calls for somewhere in the East should be respected.

PASS HQ got proposals from the cities in contention, and presented their findings to the board.  Based on ranking of everything from venue proximity to hotels, nightlife, and pricing, we narrowed the list to two finalist cities, Charlotte and Dallas.  From there, HQ negotiated contracts with both cities, “grinding the pricing all the way down,” as Judy Christianson put it.

Last week we reviewed the final proposals. Dallas ranked high in many categories, including Microsoft’s Dallas-based SQL Server Escalation Support Team. But at the same time, Dallas is also one of three finalist cities for the 2012 SQLRally.

Finally, high ratings in many categories and substantially lower prices, led us to award the 2013 Summit to Charlotte. We hope this decision will result in another fantastic Summit, including the high attendance we consistently get in Seattle.