Both conferences will no doubt be worth attending -- last year's Flashforward was a great experience for me, and although I didn't attend, FOTB was touted as the best conference of the year in the Flash community. Both will have a very similar list of speakers and cover similar topics, offer plenty of time for networking, and undoubtedly offer the yearly recharge of interactive development passion. In fact, there are only two considerable differences: location and price. And when you are trying to convince your employer to pay, it all comes down to pricing.
I originally assumed, like most Americans would considering the strength of the British Pound to the Dollar, that a trip to Brighton for FOTB would be considerably more costly. But, as it turns out, it is $664 _cheaper_ to attend FOTB in the UK then it is to attend Flashforward in Boston. This amazed me, and I'm writing this post in hopes that Flashforward (and Lynda.com, the producers) will take notice at the discrepancy.
I calculated the $664 difference by factoring in the only sure costs in each location -- the conference pass, airfare, and hotel accommodations. Here is the breakdown:
Conference Pass: $1099
Airfare (Portland to Boston, continental.com): $600
Hotel (Conference Rate): $249/night x 5 = $1245
Flash on the Beach
Conference Pass: $400
Airfare (Portland to London, continental.com): $880
Hotel (Hotels.com): $200/night x 5 = $1000
$2944 - $2280 = $664
Now, obviously this isn't scientific as there are still costs like taxi fares, meals, incidentals and entertainment, but these costs would generally be the same no matter which conference you attend. I realize that the Dollar to British Pound conversion rate would skew things a bit due to the locations of the two conferences, but even if that skew was equal to $664, it still costs me the same to attend FOTB and get a free vacation to the UK.
FOTB can produce a conference equal to Flashforward's and still price their passes at less than half. Same speakers, same topics, similar community, and half the price. With conferences like FITC, Flashbelt and 360Flex all pricing themselves _way_ below Flashforward, and OSFlash offering conferences online for free, how long can they continue to charge $1100 to just get in the door?
[Update: The official FOTB blog has just picked up this post. See you at the conference next month!]