Board members visit Hotel De Glace, Quebec City
The Society of American Travel Writers’ (SATW) governing body is its Board of Directors. The board consists of 16 members. Two meetings of the SATW Board are held yearly. The Fall Board Meeting occurs just prior to the SATW Annual Convention and the Winter Board Meeting is held sometime between the January and April. The dates are determined by the host and SATW.
Below is an explanation of how the Board Meeting site is selected, financed and structured.
Each year, SATW considers a number of offers from potential destination hosts for each Board Meeting. In recent years the board has met in Easter Island, Chile (2006); San Diego, California (2011); Auckland, New Zealand (2011); Gulf Shores, Alabama (2012); French Lick, Indiana (2012); Quebec City, Quebec (2013); and Biloxi, Mississippi (2013).
SATW seeks a location of interest for our travel journalists which – in addition to its potential as a tourism destination – has appropriate meeting facilities for our Board. The Board Meeting lasts four days (four nights accommodations required). About half that time will be spent in meetings, although this will vary depending on the board’s workload on a meeting per meeting basis. Normally a full day of meetings will be alternated with a day of touring the site and seeing nearby attractions.
The Board, committee members, guests and staff number approximately 20-25. Board members are permitted to bring a spouse which can bring the total number of people attending to 45. Some of the hotel rooms required will be on a double occupancy basis. Not every board or staff member will bring a spouse.
SATW seeks a host to provide the following:
SATW’s basic budget for its Board of Directors Meeting is up to $16,000 for domestic meetings (North America) and up to $18,000 for international meetings, which is paid to the host. In addition, spouses attending pay a fee of up to $400 for domestic meetings and $600 for international meetings. These fees are also given to the host to defray the costs of hosting.
SATW will name a Board Meeting Manager who will work with the host in all aspects of planning the board meeting.
The President of SATW has the right to bring in a limited number of committee chairs and other guests to the Board Meeting. For example, the Chairman of the SATW future sites committee often attends, as convention bids are usually presented at the Winter Board Meeting. The final number of people attending the Board Meeting is determined by the host, the SATW President and the SATW Board Meeting Manager.
While there is no direct connection between hosting a SATW convention and hosting a Board Meeting, many past hosts have considered hosting a winter Board Meeting as an opportunity to learn more about the Society, evaluate the advantages of hosting other SATW meetings and as a way to familiarize the Board of Directors with the destination. Several hosts of Society conventions, such as those held in Ireland, Bermuda and Hawaii, first hosted winter Board Meetings.
While some working journalist members on the board will share aspects of the destination through social media during their visit, and others may immediately produce published material on the destination, hosts should not expect every board member to do so. The long-term value of introducing a destination to these SATW travel professionals, Active and Associate members alike, has been considered by hosts as a primary advantage of hosting an SATW Board Meeting.