Welcome to the NEW CALBO Education Week Locations
That’s right. Please say Welcome.
We are sure you have heard the news; CALBO is moving to new locations for both Education Weeks North and South. For some, this will be a welcomed move. Most likely the new location is closer to your home jurisdiction or has better traffic routes for you. For others, this is an unwelcomed move as “why change?” Although CALBO is very excited about our new venues, perhaps we can shed some light on the reason why the CALBO Board saw value in the moves.
First, did you try and visit our industry partners at either recent event? In both San Ramon and Ontario, we were literally bursting at the seams as attendees tried to get through the “gauntlet” of the hallways, classrooms, and at lunch. If we learned nothing else from the pandemic, it was a need for increased personal space. Both new venues are significantly larger, affording the industry partners exhibiting to have open space that will not block the flow of attendee traffic. Further, both venues afford room for future expansion, giving us a chance to stay put for a bit should we be able to make ends meet with the properties.
Additionally, unlike what some may think – many hotels do not like Education Weeks. Why? Because very few people stay overnight at the hotel. CALBO Education Weeks use a great deal of meeting space. At some venues, we take it all. When we only have 30-40 sleeping rooms per night, this leaves the hotel nearly vacant after 3:30 in the afternoon. We have found partnerships with properties with transient commuter traffic, such as airport properties with a large flight crew need. Think Burlingame near SFO. Or perhaps in business parks surrounded by large corporations. Think San Ramon surrounded by Toyota and Chevron. Contracting Education Week venues well in advance, given our spatial needs, and on our budget, can be difficult to say the least.
Next, any idea how much a gallon of coffee costs in San Ramon? $140.00 per gallon. At 10 coffee servings per gallon, that equates to $14.00 per pour at the beverage station. Keep in mind, this is prior to mandatory sales and services taxes in excess of 30% additional. How much does coffee cost in Burlingame? $140.00 a gallon. Although expensive, who cares you may ask? Well, we do. We have done our research and realize that this is California, and with that, hotels and convention center caterers are costly. If we are forced to pay $14.00 a cup for coffee, or $18.00+ with tax, our standards have raised. We want more space, better quality, and perhaps, a more premium location.
The CALBO 2023 Annual Business Meeting was held in San Diego at the same venue we used in pre-pandemic 2019. When CALBO began to make arrangements for the 2023 event, the hotel was unwilling to work with us as they had previously with custom meal options based on budgetary perimeters. This cost to CALBO equated to a full 100% increase from 2019 on food costs. The compromise with the hotel was to use the EXACT same meals as 2019 (it looked familiar, didn’t it?) with a “nominal” 40% increase per serving. This was a deal, and we took it.
Just like you face at home with your family, costs have increased considerably – across the board. CALBO is not immune to this rise, but as opposed to simply passing on the increase to our members, we are absorbing most of it as a commitment to our public sector community. The CALBO Board voted in April to raise all fees and rates, however; the raise is approximately 10%. Yes, we had to as CALBO had not raised them in over six years. But with that, we are increasing our professionalism in an effort to raise the standard of our group meetings.
In summation, change is difficult. We get it. Our Education Weeks have become synonymous with their locations. We often say, “see you in San Ramon,” or perhaps “looking forward to Ontario” as opposed to Education Weeks North and South respectively. However, we have moved, and it will be a move for the better in the long run. Try the woodfired pizza in the lobby of the new Education Week South (Costa Mesa) venue, it’s really good. Or perhaps enjoy the proximity of being close to SFO at Education Week North (Burlingame). At CALBO, we do listen to the needs of our members and industry partners. And we do our best to respond. We know that we cannot please everyone. But with this move to new Education Week venues, we’d like to start off the training season with a hearty welcome to the change.