First Event 2020 will be held at the Boston Park Plaza in downtown Boston, from January 29 – February 2. This is the first time in 40 years that First Event will be held in Boston instead of in neighboring suburbs. This FAQ intends to explain why we are making this change and to give a sense of what to expect.
Why is First Event 2020 leaving the Best Western in Marlborough?
We outgrew the Best Western in Marlborough – there were just too many compromises to serve our growing community. The space crunch led to Sunday workshops, turning away vendors who want to support us, and a rather uncomfortable dining experience at the fashion show.
So we had to leave the Best Western, but why downtown Boston?
We had 3 “must have” requirements for our new location:
- Sufficient space for programming, including workshops and social events
- Accessible by public transit from Boston so that the greatest number of people could attend, including those without cars or with insufficient means to take private transportation
- Affordable, allowing us to offer comparable prices to First Event 2019
We ran an exhaustive search process, engaging in deep discussions with transit-accessible hotels in less-crowded Boston neighborhoods and in the neighboring suburbs. It might be surprising, but very few of these hotels had sufficient programming space. And those that did, like the Newton Marriott and the new Encore Boston Harbor Resort were way too expensive for both hotel rooms and conference costs.
Will it really be affordable? Boston is SOOO expensive!
Yes, it will. And there will be more options at different price points.
Hotel rooms will cost $109/night (cozy rooms) and $139/night (superior rooms). In addition, we have arranged for beds at a nearby hostel for $34/night. For reference, rooms at the Best Western cost $132/night.
Registration fees will be as close as possible to 2019 registration fees. While we haven’t worked out the final numbers, we expect to keep workshop prices steady and evening events within about $5.
Food and drinks on your own may be a bit more expensive at the hotel, but the beauty of being in the city is that there are so many options right at your doorstep.
We also are finding that our downtown location is making us more appealing to conference sponsors. Sponsors cover a growing percentage of the costs of First Event, allowing us to keep costs as low as possible for attendees.
But what about parking? Parking in Boston is dreadful!
You are right. Parking in Boston is brutal. There’s no way around it – you won’t find the combination of price and convenience of parking at a suburban hotel.
We are actively exploring multiple parking options, including:
- Negotiated rates with nearby garages.
- Free or cheap parking farther from the hotel, with some options for getting to the hotel like transit, a shuttle van, or coordinating shared ubers/Lyfts.
Is there anything good about being at the Park Plaza in Boston?
You bet! We are super-excited about our new location, and really hope you love it as much as we think you will. Here are the 10 best things about our move:
- No Sunday workshops
- Easily accessible by public transit
- O’Connor’s Pub is next door
- Shopping on Newbury Street
- Easy to get to from Logan
- More welcoming to more diverse (age, race, gender identity, financial means) attendees
- Expanded evening programming (stay tuned!)
- More interest from potential conference sponsors, vendors, and workshop presenters, bringing more resources to the trans community
- They don’t call Boston the “hub” (of the universe) for nothing! Boston’s got spahts and cultcha like nobody’s business!
- This is where we’ll have the fashion show and banquet. For reals!
Tell us what you think
We would love to hear what you think about the move. What are you most excited about? Any lingering questions or concerns? Post your thoughts below.