How We Selected Vienna – the WordCamp Europe 2016 Host City

Photo by RubenSutiloFoto

Siobhan McKeown and Petya Raykovska close WordCamp Europe 2015. Photo by RubenSutiloFoto

Can you believe it? WordCamp Europe 2015 is done for another year…. but if you were in Seville (or watching the live stream), you’ll know that WordCamp Europe 2016 will be happening in Vienna, Austria, on 24th – 26th June! Put the date in your diary and start thinking about your talk proposal because we’ll be on the hunt for an awesome speaker roster at the start of 2016.

In the meantime, we thought we’d provide you with a look at how we selected Vienna for 2016. If you’re interested, read on!

The WordCamp Europe Application Process

In March of 2015, we opened up the the application process. Applications were invited from any city across Europe who wanted to play host to WordCamp Europe.

Applicants were asked to complete an application form, and to fill in a budget. The application process was open for around 6 weeks, giving applicants enough time to hunt for a venue and figure out a rough budget.

The Selection Process

When the application period closed, we had received three applications:

  • Vienna
  • Bratislava
  • Berlin

To make our decision, we reviewed all of the applications based on the following criteria.

Organisers

  • How many WordCamps (or other events) have they organised?
  • Do they have experience with large scale events?
  • How many local organisers are there?

Location

  • has this location held a WordCamp before?
  • has the WordCamp been successful? (success = well-managed budget, enjoyable WordCamp, no major dramas)
  • does it have a local meetup?
  • is their a broad range of accommodation options that suit every budget?
  • is there an accessible airport?
  • are there low-cost airlines operating in this area?
  • is the city an appealing destination for attendees?

Venue

  • are the rooms adequate? One room should have a minimum capacity of around 800, the other a minimum capacity of 300.
  • do the available dates suit?
  • does the venue have adequate space for registration, happiness bar, sponsors, etc?
  • what is  the proximity of the venue to the city centre and possible accommodation?

Contributor Day

  • is there a contributor day venue available?
  • does it have a capacity of 300?
  • does the venue have wifi capacity?

Budget

  • is the budget complete?
  • how does the budget compare to previous WCEUs? More? Less?
  • can we reasonably raise all of the sponsorship money?
  • has everything been accounted for?
  • do any figures seem out-of-the-ordinary? (do we need to ask the organisers to justify them?)

We reviewed all of the applications and decided to interview the teams from Bratislava and Vienna. The reason that we ruled out Berlin is that there hasn’t yet been a WordCamp in Berlin and we felt that the team needed more WordCamp organising experience. We’d love to see a WordCamp Berlin in the future – such a wonderful city needs a wonderful WordCamp.

What Made Vienna and Bratislava Stand Out?

The applications from Vienna and Bratislava were both extremely strong, but for very different reasons.

What made Vienna stand out was the location and the venue. Vienna is an incredibly beautiful city, and the organising team had put a lot of work into securing a stunning venue in a great location. Also, overall the application had a lot of thought put into creating a marvellous experience for attendees.

We loved the Bratislava application because of the strength and diversity of the local team. There has been four WordCamps in Bratislava and the meetup has been going for as long. They are also starting to have meetups in other parts of Slovakia. The application for WordCamp Europe reflected this diversity, with 13 co-applicants representing a broad spectrum of people.

So Why Vienna?

In the end, the venue, location and available dates for the WordCamp won out. We loved the Bratislava application, but none of the venues were completely suitable for our event. There was one venue we loved, but the only dates available were in 2017 and that’s a bit late for WordCamp Europe 2016. The venue in Vienna, however, was perfect. We also have 100% confidence in the Vienna local team: they organised a successful WordCamp Vienna in 2015, and Paolo Belcastro, the lead applicant for WordCamp Europe 2016, has been involved in WordCamp Europe for the past three years. This means that the local team will have a leader with a tonne of WCEU experience.

It Doesn’t End There…

Anyone with a bit of geographical knowledge will know that Bratislava is just 60 kilometres from Vienna. With such close proximity we thought it would be a great opportunity for some cross-community building and invited some of the Bratislava team members to participate in local and remote organising process of WordCamp Europe 2016. We’re really excited about WordCamp Europe 2016 in Vienna, but we’re equally excited about growing the WordPress community in Europe, creating new connections, crossing borders, and strengthening what has become one of the most diverse and vibrant WordPress communities in the world.

Goodbye from Seville, see you in Vienna!

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7 Responses to How We Selected Vienna – the WordCamp Europe 2016 Host City

  1. Val Vesa says:

    See you there! WCEU2015 was my first participation to a WordCamp, but the powerful relationships felt within this community make me be an instant adopter.

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