Email

How We Choose Our Large Meeting Locations

Thank you so much to all our members who attended the 2017 Annual Meeting and a special thank you to those attendees who completed the post-meeting survey.  Congratulations to Leigh Phillips as the winner of free registration to our 2018 Tech Show, chosen randomly from the survey participants.  Member feedback is vital to our ability to serve the membership, so we appreciate any opportunity to find out just how we are doing.  Inevitably, after every meeting, we receive responses regarding the distance of the meeting location to the survey respondent, no matter the meeting location.  We thought this would be a helpful time to explain in more detail the methodology of choosing our meeting venues.

 

What many members may not be aware of is that there are only a few venues in Vermont that can host 300 people, with at least 4-5 smaller rooms for break-out sessions.  Not many venues are large enough, and even fewer can hold the entire plenary group, while also having sufficient session rooms.  To further complicate things, some that have a sufficient number of breakout rooms are oddly configured or have great distances between conference areas. We also consider the mileage traveled by our members to each locale, the costs charged for food and tech support (which can vary considerably among venues) and the quality of the member experience based upon amenities offered by the host and member feedback.

 

 A few years ago, we started rotating the venues for our two large meetings between more northern and more southern locations.  While we used to always have the Mid-Year Meeting in Burlington, because it is a ‘voting’ meeting, we responded to feedback requests to rotate the voting meeting between north and south.  We likewise now do that with the Annual Meeting, so that the location shifts by alternate years. By north and south, we really mean more northern and more southern, because, with limited venues, the most northernmost and most southernmost reaches of Vermont may or may not meet all of the considerations listed here.

 

Please find below a handy chart, which shows the mileage from each county seat to each one of our potential venue hosts.  Although each of the venues listed can technically accommodate a plenary group of approximately 300, and has a sufficient number of break out rooms, not all of them are laid out as conveniently as the others, and two of them - Jay Peak and Mt. Snow - are at the extreme ends of the state.  (We also hope to add the Woodstock Inn as a potential venue, but the renovations that are planned for the Woodstock Inn that would meet our space criteria will not be completed until 2020, at the earliest.)  In terms of how the venues rank in terms of the average distance relative to all of the county seats, the Stoweflake, Sheraton and Hilton locations have the least average distance (average of 66 miles or so), followed by the Lake Morey, Basin Harbor and Killington locations (average of 76 miles or so), followed by the Jay Peak, Equinox and Mt. Snow locations (87, 101 and 124 miles, respectively).

VBA LARGE CONFERENCE OPTIONS AND DISTANCES*

 

North to South

    Jay Peak

         Stoweflake

    Hilton

       Sheraton

          Basin Harbor

         Lake Morey

        Killington

        Equinox

         Mt Snow

 

Grand Isle

58.6

68.1

33.7

32.1

61.7

109

126

133

197

 

Franklin

39.6

38.2

28.6

27

56.6

104

121

128

192

 

Orleans

19.8

49.7

82.3

80.7

99

81.6

135

178

180

 

Essex

75.6

85.2

112

111

136

72.5

126

169

171

 

Lamoille

33

11.7

46.9

45.3

70.2

77.8

89.2

130

161

 

Caledonia

57.2

48.7

76

74.4

99.3

39.2

93

136

138

 

Chittenden

67.4

38.1

0.1

1.9

29.8

79.1

95.8

101

167

 

Washington

62.3

23.1

39.2

37.6

62.5

41

60

101

131

 

Addison

87.6

56.8

34.8

35.4

19.9

84.1

43.4

65.7

93.2

 

Orange

87

44.3

60.4

58.8

83.7

23.4

44.8

86.1

108

 

Windsor

116

74.7

90.8

89.2

81.8

21.5

33.2

77.2

79.4

 

Rutland

130

87.4

67.3

68.2

52.3

67.1

15

34.3

60.9

 

Bennington

213

143

122

123

117

118

70.4

26.5

27.2

 

Windham

177

135

151

149

134

82.7

69.2

47.2

25.2

 

Aver. Rel. Dist.

             87.4

                  64.6

       67.5

               66.7

                         78.8

                     71.5  

               79.8  

            100.9 

             123.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Mileage based on fastest route from county court houses. Civil court house address was used for counties with more than one location, with the exception of Chittenden (used Cherry St.), Washington (used Montpelier), and Windsor (used White River Jct)

 
 

 

Understanding that some counties have higher numbers of lawyers than other counties, it’s also helpful to consider how those numbers compare currently: Chittenden (833), Washington (565), Windsor (191), Rutland (184), Windham (119), Bennington (96), Addison (88), Lamoille (74), Caledonia (70), Franklin (49), Orange (45), Orleans (24), Grand Isle (13) and Essex (2).   

 

As demonstrated, while we strive to meet our members’ needs by rotating venues, we are limited in our options in terms of venue hosts.  We are also mindful that some venues require a greater driving distance for many of our members. The next Mid-Year Meeting is scheduled for the Sheraton in South Burlington on March 23, 2018 and the next Annual Meeting is scheduled for the Equinox in Manchester on September 28, 2018.

 

If you have any recommendations for locations sufficient to hold our membership, or if you have any comments about meeting venues, please submit them to info@vtbar.org.  As always, thank you in advance for any survey responses and feedback