Answers to the most frequently asked questions about JASNA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) appear below.
On occasion, the AGM is held in late September; however, most conferences are held in October. JASNA is able to secure a lower hotel rate for attendees since October is not peak vacation time. In addition, the AGM is often held on the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving to make the journey easier for Canadian attendees.
It is usually possible to begin making room reservations at the JASNA rate at the beginning of the year in which the AGM is held. Individual hotels may have unique requirements about advance room reservations, changing the schedule. Room blocks sometimes sell out, but additional availability often occurs in the summer, as some people change their plans and release their reservations.
Registration for the AGM begins in May or June. Each AGM maintains a set of pages on the JASNA website, where the most current information about registration dates can be found.
JASNA and the professional meeting planner with whom the Society works negotiate the best rate possible. Hotel commitments need to be made five or six years in advance of the AGM. Hotel room rates can be highly variable. Hotels in some cities are much more expensive and in greater demand than in other cities. Every effort is made to balance a central location, amenities, good quality, sufficient rooms, and meeting space with a fair price.
Registrants in the “Attendee” category receive three meals (Continental breakfast on Saturday, the banquet on Saturday night, and brunch on Sunday) and admission to all plenary sessions, their choice of breakout sessions, all special interest sessions, and non-ticketed extra activities or displays (which vary from conference to conference). Registrants have the option of purchasing additional special event, workshop, and tour tickets.
The registration fee reflects the costs of staging the conference. The fee defrays common costs such as plenary speakers’ fees, meeting room costs, audio-visual technology for all speakers, registration and program materials (both printed and online), and covers various other gifts and useful items, which vary by conference.
The registration fee varies from year to year based on the cost of meals, meeting space, and essential services in each location. The fee is kept low by the volunteer contributions of the many breakout speakers and the volunteer work of the local JASNA members.
The primary goal of each AGM team is to deliver a basic conference package—plenary talks, breakouts, special interest sessions, the banquet and ball—that is broadly appealing and delivers an excellent experience at an affordable price. Programs that may appeal to some members and not others are priced separately. Headcount limits for those programs are driven by such factors as bus capacities and the limitations of historic buildings (in the case of tours), or the number of participants an instructor can manage (in the case of workshops).
Yes, special dietary requirements can be accommodated for the meals included in the AGM registration fee, provided that each attendee indicates allergies and sensitivities on the registration form or emails the AGM Team about them. When given enough preparation time, the AGM Team can work with the hotel staff to provide for an attendee’s needs. Waiting until arrival to notify the hotel of specific food restrictions will cause difficulty in meeting those needs.
Some hotels have an attendance limit established for the banquet hall, set by local fire code laws. JASNA adheres to those limits. Other hotels may present limitations in the number and size of rooms that can be used for breakout sessions. Generally, we plan for AGMs to accommodate as many JASNA members as the hotel will allow and as the host Region can manage. Bear in mind that AGM host hotels must be selected four or five years in advance of each conference. When current attendance trends suggest higher demand than the hotel contract originally assumed, JASNA does work with hotels to expand capacity as much as possible.
It is not financially feasible for JASNA to contract for a larger attendance than we can deliver, so there will be years when more people want to attend an AGM than can be offered registration. Of the past five AGMs, two sold out almost immediately, and three did not. We continue to monitor registration trends and make efforts to accommodate as many JASNA members as possible. Members who are not able to register for the AGM may want to check out various JASNA Super-Regional events held around the country and other Austen-related programs.
JASNA literary conferences are designed for JASNA members. However, you are welcome to become a member of JASNA by joining and then registering for the conference.
A Companion is an attendee category denoting a person who accompanies a JASNA member to the AGM and pays the AGM companion registration fee. Only one Companion can accompany a JASNA member, and that person may be a spouse, friend, or family member. The Companion typically attends the Saturday Continental breakfast, the Saturday evening banquet, and the Sunday brunch; however, the Companion is not entitled to attend plenary, breakout, or special interest sessions. The Companion may attend special ticketed events, upon purchasing a ticket, depending on the event. AGM attendees are free to share their hotel rooms (subject to hotel policies) with other friends or family members traveling with them without registering them as official Companions, but unregistered persons are not entitled to attend any meal functions or events.
Some conference hotels are simply larger than others, allowing for a greater number of Companions. When space is limited, priority is given to JASNA members who wish to register as Attendees for the entire conference.
JASNA AGMs are held in cities where a JASNA Region has volunteered to act as Host Region. If your JASNA Region is interested in hosting a conference, please contact the Vice President for Conferences at email@example.com.
If you have other questions about the AGM and do not see them posted, please email JASNA’s Vice President for Conferences at firstname.lastname@example.org.