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The Road to Microsoft Ignite 2020: New Orleans


So, Ignite 2020 is announced for New Orleans and as I write this that’s 243 days before I join ‘Louis Armstrong’ and land on the tarmac at his airport. The airport in New Orleans is names after him, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport but what does this announcement mean for an independent consultant?

For me as an independent consultant I have three things to do

  • Sort accommodation

  • Book a flight

  • Register for the conference

And this is the order of priority for me because at a conference that will have 25,000 attendees’ things book up quickly and as resources, rooms and plane seats, get shorter the costs increase.


Accommodation for New Orleans was booked within 48 hours of the announcement because frankly finding the perfect location is important to me and much of the accommodation close to the event is booked by Microsoft who re-sells them.


Let’s not forget the exhibition peeps who need to book teams together… and I also have specific requirements.

  1. I am an independent consultant, so I do not want to pay nearly $300 per night. This does come out of my pocket

  2. I want to be able to find creative time… moments to think about what I have learnt and heard; without constant inputs you get by staying at the hotels full of other delegates

  3. Walking to the conference centre must be possible within 20 minutes, but also an UBER or taxi when I have over-eaten (OK or over-drank!!) or the weather is not as nice as it should be…

New Orleans will see me in an Airbnb, top floor Loft, 12-minute walks from the conference centre with views of the casino and French Quarter… Already booked and confirmed before 25,000 other people start looking. 4 days after the Ignite announcement of New Orleans my Airbnb filtered search of available properties is down 45%.


Flights have been checked for price which will be level for some time but when it starts to rise the decision needs to be made quickly. But ensuring any flight changes are made in Europe is a priority, I lost my luggage in NY on the way to Orlando one year and changing in Europe means that I do not need to touch my luggage after check in… cost and stop-over are tied together and of course the flight industry have some weird formula…


I checked a flight that changed in Atlanta 640euro return. But I have friends in Atlanta and as a co-host of Office365Distilled wondered about landing in Atlanta and doing a whiskey road trip but suddenly a flight to Atlanta only is 780euro… and I repeated both searches with the same results… no logic that the longer flight is cheaper.


Flights for me are the next purchase sometime over the coming weeks/months after speaking to a few friends and colleagues, find out when they are hitting the tarmac.


Conference

This is a big item, there are around 500 priority seats available for a bonus price… so if I want to include that in the price then I need to pay out the $2500 (approx.) a lot of months in advance. Priority seating sells out quickly so if I am not interested in the priority seating, then I can wait until later in the year.

The conference fee is around 50% of the total cost of the event for me and part of the decision about the event worth. I can watch the videos for free after the event and always wonder if the price is worth it. And yet every year I go because of the people, the conversations and the learning that is not listed in the web sites and program…


I only need to ensure that I get my conference fee into the mix before they sell out… as they always do!


Timing and planning for Ignite as an independent consultant should not be ignored… spacing the payments out over 6 months helps the company cash flow and reduces the risk of an important project suddenly making it impossible to attend the event. So, the order of things considers that… big expense for the accommodation which tends to sit in Airbnb pot from the day I book the rooms, then the flight 6-8 weeks later and finally the big event fee over the summer.

The journey has started to New Orleans and another week of setting up my office 365 road map for 2021 which drives my thinking and planning for my customers….


…. You booked your room yet?

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