Over the last few years we’ve been under increasing pressure from our community to switch the location of RSA Conference from San Francisco to a city with less safety concerns, and better availability of affordable hotel rooms. After reading the feedback from RSAC 2018 and 2019, and seeing an amplification in the negative comments about San Francisco, we decided it was time to seriously look into moving the Conference.
There are just four locations that have both future availability, and enough space to accommodate a Conference the size and scale of RSAC – San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago and Anaheim. At the beginning of the year we sent out a survey to our attendees, sponsors and exhibitors asking for their feedback and preferences. At the same time, we conducted demographic research about each city.
The results took us a little by surprise. San Francisco came in first, Las Vegas was a close second, and Anaheim and Chicago came in last. We also looked into DC and Orlando though neither were suitable or available.
Going through this research process and looking at the pros and cons of each city has really highlighted that there’s no perfect venue or location and there will always be some drawback to any location. So, we’ve decided to stay in San Francisco, which we often say is in our DNA, on the understanding we try to fix the things that are impacting us, and you, the most.
To that end, last week, we met with San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed, her Chief of Staff, the Chief of the SFPD and the President of SF Travel. Knowing cleaning up the city is the top priority for Mayor Breed, we wanted an update and some reassurances on their plans to address the homelessness, open drug use and help for people with mental health issues on the city’s streets. Mayor Breed is clearly a woman of her word, and although real change will take time, we were encouraged by the focus the city is placing on these issues.
From a housing perspective, the team at SF Travel, on our behalf, has worked diligently with the hotels on room rate costs and expanding our room blocks. In 2020 we have 2,000 additional rooms and we will keep pushing for more.
All of these efforts are just the start. While we can’t wave a magic wand and make all the problems disappear, we can keep the pressure on the city officials, and you have my commitment that this is a major focus for the RSAC Team.Coming up, Joe D’Alessandro (the President of SF Travel) will be sharing more details about the work the Mayor’s team is doing in the city.