iTech is an IT conference that is held twice a year in Toronto. The spring show is held up near the airport, and the fall show is help in downtown Toronto. There are benefits of both of the show, and there are different vendors at both of the shows. This year there was a change, and we feel it didn’t go as well as it could have.
The spring show this year decided to charge for people to attend which is something they hadn’t done in the past. An initial email was sent out to past attendee, and you didn’t have to pay if you signed up by a given date which didn’t look too bad. After that time the cost was $20 and that included lunch, prize draws, and a reception at the end of the event. After a certain time, the price would then go up to $40 with the final price being $50 at the door.
We didn’t think the $20 would be a bad price and even $40 or $50 weren’t too bad considering the show and what you could get out of the overall show. What started to get frustrating was the number of discount offers that offered after the $40 time was reached. Most of the time if you were receiving emails from iTech you’d get a discount code taking the price back down to $20. What got me was even the day of the show there was a discount coupon so that even if you decided last minute to go to the show, it was still $20 at the door. If you were going to give the discount why not just keep the price at $20 and not do the roller coaster of the pricing. For someone that might have paid the higher price, it would have been extremely frustrating to know that someone walking up could have got a lower price just by simply being on a mailing list. What would have made more sense was for iTech to not send the discounts rather have that as an option for the vendors/sponsors to send to their lists.
There are still so many people that think being able to get into a show for free is a given. There are times when getting into some shows for free is nice but also knowing that there might be some cost is something being in business involves. A cost for a lot of business owners and employees is the time that they are losing away from the office, but there is the benefit learning what products and services they could use to solve business problems in addition to maybe making some other connections and getting other business out of the conference as well learning. Each conference will have its cost, and you will need to weigh the benefits of them to ensure you are getting what you want out of the event.
For iTech, the biggest benefit for us is to see what is new in the industry and to meet up with some of the vendors that we have seen in the past to hear what is new. There are sessions offered, and they vary in level from the very basic to more technical, and you have to read the descriptions to ensure that the session is what you want.
iTech can be a good day of networking, and it is something that you need to understand when you go to it. Just thinking that you will have a lot of taking a-ways isn’t something that you are going to have. We have found some years we get a couple of good ideas and other years we may not get a lot of details, but we have seen what is new in the industry as well as reconnect with people that we know to maintain those connections.
Our overall review of iTech this spring is the price roller coaster was a bit frustrating and may have impacted how people registered for the event. The number of vendors/sponsors were lower this year as well, and that might have also impacted attendance. There were a few people that said they wouldn’t pay $20 to attend the show even if they got lunch after going to the event for years and not having to pay at all.