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2010 Annual Meeting Satisfaction and Registration Survey PDF-NOTE: Internet Explorer Users, right click the PDF Icon and choose [save target as] if you are experiencing problems with clicking. Print

Last October and November, the AAR celebrated the end of its Centennial year at the Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 4,800 AAR members and exhibitors attended the Atlanta meeting. We are confident that attendance at the 2011 meeting, to be held in San Francisco, California, concurrently with the Society of Biblical Literature, will increase.

In terms of programming, the Atlanta meeting set new participation records. Over 600 AAR and Additional Meetings sessions occurred during the five-day time period from Thursday, October 28, to Monday, November 1. AAR continued to expand its program and hosted 424 sessions, making it the largest ever.

Responses to the post-Annual Meeting survey reflect positive experiences by the members in attendance. Survey results are posted online.

An overwhelming 95 percent of survey respondents thought the 2010 Annual Meeting was a satisfactory or very satisfactory experience. Satisfaction with this year’s sessions was high; 91 percent of survey respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality. The opportunity to network with other colleagues also received high marks; 95 percent reported satisfaction. Respondents rated the Atlanta Annual Meeting location very favorably, giving positive feedback about its hotel facilities (93 percent) and meeting room space (87 percent).

The Annual Meeting attracted attendees from around the world; 47 nationalities were represented. A large number of Canadians made up the largest international group with 180 attendees, followed by the United Kingdom (123), Sweden (29), the Netherlands (23), Japan (21), Belgium (18), Australia (18), Germany (17), Norway (14), South Africa (12), and Finland (11). The International Focus on Australia and Oceania brought 29 attendees from that region. California was the best-represented state in 2010 with 464 attendees, followed closely by Georgia (385), New York (356), Illinois (279), Massachusetts (270), Pennsylvania (231), and North Carolina (224).

Once again, Annual Meeting registration and housing was handled by Experient. Satisfaction with the registration and housing process was very high; 94 percent of respondents rated the process positively. The peak hotel night was Saturday, October 30, with over 2,100 hotel rooms in use. Overall more than 7,000 room nights were occupied during the meeting.

The comments from survey respondents were generally positive. The most frequent complaints were regarding the dates of the meeting (over Halloween and right before Election Day), signage in the Marriott Marquis Hotel, the quality of the tote bags, and the lack of affordable wireless access. We are addressing member feedback in the following ways:

  • In the wake of the decision to hold independent Annual Meetings, AAR signed contracts for 2008 and 2010 that met over the Halloween/Election Day weekend. We attempted to mitigate the impact for our members by eliminating Tuesday sessions, but the Halloween problem remained. Trying to move the dates of the meeting would have incurred significant cost. However, beginning in 2011, we are moving back to the pre-Thanksgiving weekend and are meeting concurrently with the Society of Biblical Literature. We will not be holding meetings over the Halloween/Election weekend again.

  • We attempted to use the electronic signage in the Marriott Marquis in order to save money and reduce our environmental impact. However, these signs could only display a very limited number of characters and were hard to find. We will do better to assess signage needs in the future.

  • We chose a different tote bag supplier this year in order to produce a more environmentally friendly (100 percent recycled and recyclable) tote bag. As a result they were not as attractive or sturdy as past meeting totes. We are working with the Society of Biblical Literature and our previous tote supplier to produce a bag that is green, sturdy, and attractive for 2011.

  • Finally, many complained of the lack of affordable wireless internet access. This is a result of the pace of technological change in our society. The meeting contracts were signed in 2003-2004, when the hotels did not offer wireless access at all. In negotiating future contracts for 2014-2021, the AAR and SBL have made multi-year, multi-city deals with some hotel chains so wireless access will be free to attendees staying in those hotels.

The Annual Meeting Satisfaction Survey is sent via e-mail to all Annual Meeting attendees at the conclusion of each meeting and is offered online at the AAR Website. The number of responses this year was 914, which represents about 19 percent of attendees. Respondents did not answer each question, so the values were measured from the number of respondents who did. The survey is voluntary and open to all attendees. The Executive Office staff would like to thank everyone who participated in the post-Annual Meeting survey. It continues to be valuable to the Annual Meeting process, for it provides the AAR’s Program Committee, Board of Directors, and Executive Office staff with an important measure of member satisfaction. We value this opportunity to hear your comments and suggestions on how we can continue to meet your needs and to offer an excellent meeting.


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