Our five conferences generally rotate to a new location each year. This provides our attendees with an excellent opportunity to experience the local scene but also provides states, regions, cities, and even countries an opportunity to promote themselves. While our conferences generally stay within North America, that is not always the case and we are open to hosts from other regions of the world; our 2019 Wine Bloggers Conference will take place in Australia.
Host Region Benefits
Host regions benefit in a number of ways:
- Hosting a conference is pretty much the only way to gather hundreds of key industry influencers in your area. And unlike a “media” or “fam” tour, our attendees pay their own way to get there and their own hotel costs once there.
- Attendees will broadcast their opinions about your region and its companies and products via their blogs, websites, and social media. Even at our two industry conferences, attendees are important influencers in their industry who will go back to tell others about what they saw and tasted.
- We at Zephyr Conferences also support you through our website, social, and extensive email marketing.
Host Region Responsibilities
In return, we do ask our host regions to support our conferences in more than just helping us find a local venue. This support includes:
- Cash sponsorship that is in the range of $20,000 to $30,000 per conference, although this can decrease for regions we approach and ask to host and increase significantly for regions that might reduce our attendance or sponsorship because of their location
- Provision of one lunch or dinner at the conference venue
- Organization of an excursion into the local wine country or to local breweries for our four wine and beer industry conferences
- Organization of a Taste Of event for the International Food Blogger Conference that includes 10 – 15 local restaurants serving small bites at the conference venue
- Obtaining any local or state permits necessary for our sponsors to serve their products
- Help in securing a conference venue, ideally which includes space, AV, and WiFi at no cost in return for the exposure, room nights, and F&B our conference brings
- Help in promoting the conference to our audiences
It is important to understand that while we usually work with one local host, that organization often reaches out to community businesses and organizations to share the costs of hosting a conference.
Some of our most successful conferences have been supported by grants secured by our local host from a state or national government agency. This can be especially important in regions that are smaller, out of the way, or distant from our base of attendees in North America.
For example, the Finger Lakes Region of New York hosted the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference and received support from a $90,000 grant from the state government. This allowed the local hosts to sponsor many of the events at the conference (making it more about the local region) and made up for lower sponsorship dollars we at Zephyr Conferences were able to secure because of a smaller local wine region.
As another example, the 2019 Wine Bloggers Conference is being supported by a significant grant from the Australian tourism promotion agency. This grant essentially made it feasible for Zephyr Conferences to bring the WBC outside North America for the first time.
Criteria For Selection
New conference locations are generally announced live at the previous year’s event. Our process for selecting a location starts the previous fall (1.5 to two years in advance). In general, our location criteria consists of:
- A location in an area appropriate to that conference – a wine region, a noted beer city with ten or more breweries, or a respected food city. Please understand we are not going to bring a conference to your location if it is not a desirable place for our attendees.
- One key local host partner who is willing to step up and organize a bid.
- Strong support from organizations, businesses, and governmental agencies.
- An excellent host hotel that will provide us with complimentary conference space, is very willing to work with us on our unique needs (specifically, allowing us to bring in food and drink), and is located in an attractive city. Our expected conference sizes are approximately: 150 (Beer Now), 200 (Food Bloggers), 250 (Wine Marketing & Tourism and Beer Marketing & Tourism), and 300 (Wine Bloggers).
- We take into account the opinions of our alumni communities, giving them a large say in the final decision.
If you would like to apply to be a host location for one of our future conferences, please fill out the form below. This is simply a preliminary form that can be completed at any time. We will contact you when we begin the process for securing a new location.