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Flash and Flex Conference Price Comparison, 2009 Edition

As the New Year is upon us and we start to budget for conferences in 2009, it is time for the annual Flash conference price comparison post. This year the comparison is a little more in depth because it has more significance with the world's (and especially US) economy hitting some hard times. As a refresher, you can see my posts on this subject from 2007 and 2008.

I was prompted to start looking at conference prices for 2009 when I heard that Flash On The Beach Miami's Super Early Bird pricing has been extended through Christmas. John Davey, the conference organizer, sent me a short email stating, "I think everyone is worried about the economy, and although it is worrying me too, I think a show of 'giving back' will be appreciated." I agree, John. And, thanks!

So, without further delay, here is a breakdown of pricing comparing some of the 'major' Flash/Flex conferences:

FOTB
(Miami)
FlashForward FITC
(Toronto)
360|Flex
Super Early Bird First 100 tickets
Regular $299 n/a $458 USD $360
Student $149 $230
Flex Pass $449 $542
Early Bird Next 200 tickets
Regular $429 $899 $542 $480
Student $319 $271
Flex Pass $559 $625
Standard Last 100 tickets
Regular $499 $999 $625 $550
Student $249 $313
Flex Pass $629 $709
Door Price
Regular $599 $1099 $709
Student $299 $355
Flex Pass $719 $793

When looking at the table, you'll no doubt notice a few things right off. First, FlashForward continues to be the most expensive conference of the bunch at about a whopping 50% more expensive than FOTB or 306|Flex for the standard ticket price. I should mention that FlashForward has not posted their prices for 2009 and the table includes their 2008 pricing. Since the conference just changed hands last year (it was purchased by Beau Ambur of Metaliq) and they dropped the prices at that time, it is most likely safe to assume that they will keep the prices as-is this year.

Another item to consider is that with a new edition to be held in Miami, Flash on the Beach no longer requires international travel. My prior comparisons all had to take into account a flight to London and the very lopsided exchange rate for US Dollar to British Pound. With that no longer being necessary, FOTB is now even a better bargin for those of us in the States. Especially when you realize that all of the headlining speakers from the Brighton edition have also committed to speaking in Miami.

360|Flex has always had some of the lowest prices for a conference. They started out with all tickets priced at $360, but had since risen the price to $480. For their next conference they are taking a new approach of tiered pricing. As you can see above, the first 100 tickets are at the old $360 rate, the next 200 are at the standard $480 rate, and the last are at a premium rate of $550 (which is still about half of the cost of FlashForward).

Of course there is always the extra costs that go along with conferences like flight and hotel. Those certainly add to the cost, but for the most part are the same across the board (except in the case of international travel and/or exchange rates as mentioned previously), so I don't take those into consideration here.

What are your thoughts on the price of conferences in 2009? Am I missing any conferences that you would like to see added?

David Jumeau said,

December 19, 2008 @ 10:06 pm

There’s also the flashontap conference in Boston. I sort of did the math that there was the cost of the beer and catered food as well. Some conferences offer free food and maybe other incentives. (Sometimes free materials like books or limited versions of software.)

Julian said,

December 20, 2008 @ 8:13 am

One conference that is missing is flashbelt and their prices are cheaper then the conference mentioned. http://flashbelt.com/#/registration/. It is definitely a smaller conference, just 400 tickets available, but the speaker line up is just as impressive as the big guys. Having spoken at the last 3 flashbelts, I have to say it is one of the best Flash conference going. I am also really looking forward to FOTB first North American conference. After a week of snow I am sure I will be looking forward to the Beach in April.

Mark Lapasa said,

December 22, 2008 @ 8:26 am

I’ve been to Flexmaniacs (1x), 360 Flex (1x) and FITC (3x). I’ve learned that conferences are great but I’ve paid it out of my own pocket as a form of a career investment/education.

First thing I look at when checking out a conference is ask some pretty critical questions:

1) What is being spoken about
2) Who is speaking about it
3) How can this help my career? 3a) How can this help my current workplace 3b) How can this help my future career move.
4) How much will it cost to get there
5) How much will it cost to
6) How much will it cost to eat

As attractive as 360 flex is right now for it’s price, it doesn’t answer my #1, #2 which can’t help my #3’s. I’ve already priced 4, 5, 6 and it’s a lot of money in Canadian.

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