mtgvenue R. Pelletier
Internet-Draft Internet Society
Intended status: Best Current Practice L. Nugent
Expires: June 3, 2017 Association Management Solutions
D. Crocker, Ed.
Brandenburg InternetWorking
L. Berger
LabN Consulting, L.L.C.
O. Jacobsen
The Internet Protocol Journal
J. Martin
F. Baker, Ed.
November 30, 2016

IETF Plenary Meeting Venue Selection Process


The IAOC has responsibility for arranging IETF plenary meeting Venue selection and operation. This document details the IETF's Meeting Venue Selection Process from the perspective of its goals, criteria and thought processes. It points to additional process documents on the IAOC Web Site that go into further detail and are subject to change with experience.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

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This Internet-Draft will expire on June 3, 2017.

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Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The IAOC has responsibility for arranging IETF plenary meeting venue selection and operation. This document describes the IETF Meeting Venue Selection Process from the perspective of goals, criteria and thought processes. It describes the objectives and principles behind the Venue selection process. It also discusses the actual selection process to one level of detail, and points to working documents used in execution.

1.1. Background

Following IETF 94 and at IETF 95 there was a discussion on the IETF list of the selection process and criteria for IETF meetings. In response to that discussion, the IAOC and the IAOC Meetings Committee took it upon themselves to more publicly document its process and refine it, based on community input.

1.2. *** Post-Seoul Revisions ***

Comments on this post-Seoul version:

This attempts to reflect the work of the Seould mtgvenue discussions but is certain to have missed and/or misinterpreted quite a bit. Some changes were the result of off-list discussions; they seem to resolve specific issues but of course the final decision rests with the working group... Please post explicit text change requests to the list. /Dave

1.3. Requirements Language

Requirements called out in this document are identified by the degree of requirement. The labels that are used are:


If this requirement cannot be met, a location under consideration is unacceptable. We walk away.

Does not qualify as Mandatory, but is still highly significant; can possibly be traded off against other Important considerations.

We would very much like to meet this requirement, but the failure to meet it will not disqualify a Venue.

2. Venue Selection Objectives

2.1. Core Values

The IETF has some core values that pervade the selection process. The values are not limited to the following, but at minimum include them.

Why do we meet?

We meet to pursue the IETF's mission [RFC3935], partly by advancing the development of Internet-Drafts and RFCs. We also seek to facilitate attendee participation in multiple topics and to enable cross-pollination of ideas and technologies.

We would like to facilitate the onsite or remote participation of anyone who wants to be involved.
Every country has limits on who it will permit within its borders. However the IETF seeks to:
  1. Minimize situations in which onerous entry regulations prevent participants from attending meetings, or failing that to distribute meeting locations such that onerous entry regulations are not always experienced by the same attendees; and
  2. Avoid meeting in countries with laws that effectively exclude people on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or gender identity.
Where do we meet?

We meet in different locations globally, in order to spread the difficulty and cost of travel among active participants, balancing travel time and expense across the regions in which IETF participants are based.
Internet Access:

As an organization, we write specifications for the Internet, and we use it heavily. Meeting attendees need unfiltered access to the general Internet and our corporate networks, which are usually reached using encrypted VPNs from the meeting Venue and hotels, including overflow hotels. We also need open network access available at high enough data rates, at the meeting Facility, to support our work, including the support of remote participation. [MeetingNet]

We meet to have focused technical discussions. These are not limited to scheduled breakout sessions, although of course those are important. They also happen over meals or drinks -- including a specific type of non-session that we call a "Bar BOF" -- or in side meetings. Environments that are noisy or distracting prevent that or reduce its effectiveness, and are therefore less desirable as a meeting Venue.

Meeting attendees participate as individuals. While many are underwritten by employers or sponsors, many are self-funded. In order to reduce participation costs and travel effort, we therefore seek locations that provide convenient budget alternatives for food and lodging, and which minimize travel segments from major airports to the Venue. Within reason, budget should not be a barrier to accommodation.

2.2. Venue Selection Non-Objectives

IETF meeting Venues are not selected or declined with the explicit purposes of:


Endorsing or condemning particular countries, political paradigms, laws, regulations, or policies.
Maximal attendance:

Because the IETF garners a significant portion of its revenue from IETF meeting fees, there is considerable incentive for decision- makers to prefer a Venue that will attract more attendees. It is important to resist this temptation: a larger meeting in which key contributors could not make it is not a better meeting; neither is one with a lot of "tourists".

Variety in site-seeing experiences.

3. Venue Selection Criteria

A number of criteria are considered during the site selection process. The list following is not sorted in any particular order, but includes the committee's major considerations.

The selection of a Venue always requires trade-offs. There are no perfect venues. For example, a site might not have a single hotel that can accommodate a significant number of the attendees of a typical IETF. That doesn't disqualify it, but it might reduce its desirability in the presence of an alternative that does.

Many of the evaluation criteria are subjective. This might even be the case for criteria labeled as "Mandatory". For this reason, the IAOC and Meetings Committee will specifically review, and affirm to their satisfaction, that all "Mandatory" labeled criteria are satisfied by a particular Venue, as part of the process defined below in Section 5.

Three terms describe the places for which the IETF contracts services:


This is an umbrella term for the city, meeting resources and guest room resources.

These contain meeting rooms and associated resources, and possibly also contain hotel rooms.
IETF Hotels:

One or more hotels, in close proximity to the Facility, where the primary IETF guest room allocations are negotiated and IETF SSIDs are in use.

3.1. Venue City Criteria

These concern basic aspects of a candidate city:

Criteria Required
Travel to the Venue is acceptable based on cost, time, and burden for participants traveling from multiple regions. It is anticipated that the burden borne will be generally shared over the course of multiple years. Mandatory
The Venue is assessed as favorable for obtaining a host and sponsors. That is, the Meeting is in a location and at a price that it is possible and probable to find a host and sponsors. Mandatory
It is possible to enter into a multi-event contract with the Venue to optimize meeting and attendee benefits, i.e., reduce administrative costs and reduce direct attendee costs, will be considered a positive factor. Such a contract can be considered after at least one IETF meeting has been held at the Venue. Desired
Travel barriers to entry, e.g., visa requirements that can limit participation, are acceptable to the IETF community. Mandatory
Economic, safety, and health risks associated with this Venue are acceptable to the IETF community. Mandatory
Available travel issue assessments -- such as <> -- have been pointed out the IETF community. [[Editor's Note: This mostly concerns assessing the problems getting visa's and making the assessment 3 years in advance. What can we do that is meaningful? Also, are there better citations to include? /d]] Mandatory

3.2. Basic Venue Criteria

The IETF operates as an international organisational and adjusts to local requirements. Facilities selected for IETF Meetings conform with local health, safety and accessibility laws and regulations. A useful discussion of related considerations in evaluating this criterion is at: <>

Editor's Note:
In the spirit of the 'international' focus, we need a comprehensive document that is similar to the one cited, but without a national focus. The current reference is US-specific. /d

In addition:

Criteria Required
The Facility is adequate in size and layout to accommodate the meeting and foster participant interaction. Mandatory
The cost of guest rooms, meeting space, meeting food and beverage is affordable, within the norms of business travel. Mandatory
The economics of the Venue allow the meeting to be net cash positive. Mandatory
The Facility permits holding an IETF meeting under "One Roof". That is, qualified meeting space and guest rooms are available in the same facility. Desired
The Facility permits easy wheelchair access. Mandatory
The Facility is accessible by people with disabilities. Important

3.3. Technical Services and Operations Criteria

Criteria Required
The Facility's support technologies and services -- network, audio-video, etc. -- are sufficient for the anticipated activities at the meeting, or the Venue is willing to add such infrastructure or these support technologies and services might be provided by a third party, all at no -- or at an acceptable -- cost to the IETF. Mandatory
The Facility directly provides, or permits and facilitates, the delivery of a high performance, robust, unfiltered and unmodified IETF Network. Mandatory
The IETF Hotel(s) directly provide, or else permit and facilitate, the delivery of a high performance, robust, unfiltered and unmodified Internet service for the public areas and guest rooms; this service is typically included in the cost of the room. Mandatory
The overflow hotels provide reasonable, reliable, unfiltered Internet service for the public areas and guest rooms; this service is included in the cost of the room. Desired

3.4. Lodging Criteria

Criteria Required
The IETF Hotel(s) are within close proximity to each other and the Venue. Mandatory
The guest rooms at the IETF Hotel(s) are sufficient in number to house 1/3 or more of projected meeting attendees. Mandatory
Overflow Hotels can be placed under contract, within convenient travel time of the Venue and at a variety of guest room rates. Mandatory
The Venue environs include budget hotels within convenient travel time, cost, and effort. Mandatory
The IETF Hotel(s) permit easy wheelchair access. Mandatory
The IETF Hotel(s) are accessible by people with disabilities. Important
The IETF Hotel should have a social space that serves as a lounge, conducive to planned and accidental meetings and chatting, as well as working online. This is often an open bar, restaurant, or seating area, preferably on the ground/entrance floor, but can also be a meeting room, arranged to facilitate communal interaction among attendees. Desired

3.5. Food and Beverage Criteria

Criteria Required
The Venue environs, which includes both onsite, as well as areas within a reasonable walking distance or conveniently accessible by a short taxi, bus, or subway ride, have convenient and inexpensive choices for meals that can accommodate a wide range of dietary requirements. Mandatory
The Venue environs include grocery shopping that will accommodate a wide range of dietary requirements, within a reasonable walking distance, or conveniently accessible by a short taxi, bus, or subway ride. Important
A range of attendee's health-related and religion-related dietary requirements can be satisfied with robust and flexible onsite service or through access to an adequate grocery. Mandatory

4. Venue Selection Roles

The formal structure of IETF administrative support functions is documented in BCP 101 [RFC4071], [RFC4371], [RFC7691]. The reader is expected to be familiar with the entities and roles defined by that document, in particular for the IASA, ISOC, IAOC and IAD. This section covers the meeting selection related roles of these and other parties that participate in the process. Note that roles beyond meeting selection, e.g., actually running and reporting on meetings, are outside the scope of this document.

4.1. The IETF Community

While perhaps obvious, it is important to note that IETF meetings serve all those who contribute to the work of the IETF. This includes those who attend meetings, from newcomer to frequent attendee, to those who participate remotely, as well as those who do not attend but contribute to new RFCs. Potential new contributors are also considered in the process.

IETF consensus, with respect to this meeting Venue selection process is judged via standard IETF process and not by any other means, e.g., surveys. Surveys are used to gather information related to meeting venues, but not to measure consensus or to be reported as consensus.

4.2. IESG and IETF Chair

The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) comprises the IETF Area Directors and the IETF Chair. Along with the IAB, the IESG is responsible for the management of the IETF, and is the standards approval board for the IETF, as described in BCP9 [RFC2026]. This means that the IESG sets high level policies related to, among other things, meeting venues. The IETF Chair, among other things, relays these IESG-determined policies to the IAOC. The IETF Chair is also a member of the IAOC.

4.3. The Internet Society

With respect to IETF meetings, the Internet Society (ISOC):

ISOC also provides accounting services, such as invoicing and monthly financial statements.

4.4. IETF Administrative Oversight Committee

The IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC) has the responsibility to oversee and select IETF meeting venues. It instructs the IAD to work with the Internet Society to write the relevant contracts. It approves the IETF meetings calendar.

4.5. IETF Administrative Support Activity

The IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) supports the meeting selection process. This includes identifying, qualifying and reporting on potential meeting sites, as well as supporting meeting Venue contract negotiation. The IETF Secretariat is part of the IASA under the management of the IAD.

4.6. IETF Administrative Director

The IETF Administrative Director (IAD) coordinates and supports the activities of the IETF Secretariat, the IAOC Meetings Committee and the IAOC to ensure the timely execution of the meeting process. This includes participating in the IAOC Meeting Subcommittee and ensuring its efforts are documented, leading Venue contract negotiation, and coordinating contract execution with ISOC. The meetings budget is managed by the IAD.

4.7. IAOC Meeting Committee

The fundamental purpose of the Meetings Committee is to participate in the Venue selection process, and to formulate recommendations to the IAOC regarding meeting sites. It also tracks the meetings sponsorship program, recommends extraordinary meeting-related expenses, and recommends the IETF meetings calendar to the IAOC. The charter of the committee is at: <>.

Membership in the Meetings Committee is at the discretion of the IAOC; it includes an IAOC appointed chair, the IETF Administrative Director (IAD), IAOC members, representatives from the Secretariat, and interested members of the community.

5. Venue Selection Steps

The following is a guideline sequence for identifying and contracting a Venue.

5.1. Identification

Four years out, a process identifies cities that might be candidates for meetings:

  1. The IAOC selects regions and dates for meetings.
  2. A list of target cities per region is provided to the Secretariat, with host preferences, if known.
  3. Potential venues in preferred cities are identified and receive preliminary investigation, including reviews of Official Advisory Sources, consultation with specialty travel services, frequent travelers and local contacts to identify possible barriers to holding a successful meeting in the target cities.
  4. Investigated cities and findings are provided by the Secretariat to the Meetings Committee for further review. Meetings Committee makes a recommendation to the IAOC of investigated/target cities to consider further as well as issues identified and the results of research conducted.

5.2. Consultation

Preliminary question:

  1. The IAOC asks the community whether there are any barriers to holding a successful meeting in any of the target cities. Community responses are reviewed and concerns investigated.
  2. On a public web page, the IAOC lists all candidate cities, when community input was solicited, and a summarization of the review results.
  3. The IAOC then provides a list of vetted cities to the Meetings Committee to pursue as potential meeting locations.

5.3. Qualification


  1. Secretariat assesses "vetted" target cities to determine availability and conformance to criteria.
  2. Meetings Committee approves potential cities for site qualification visit.
  3. Site qualification visits are arranged by Secretariat and preliminary negotiations are undertaken with selected potential sites.
  4. Site qualification visit is conducted using the checklist from <>; the site visit team prepares a site report and discusses it with the Meetings Committee.

5.4. Negotiation

2.75 - 3 years out, initiate contract negotiations:

  1. The Meetings Committee reviews the Venue options based on Venue selection criteria and recommends a Venue to the IAOC. Only options that meet all Mandatory labeled criteria might be recommended.
  2. IAOC selects a Venue for contracting as well as a back-up contracting Venue, if available.
  3. Secretariat negotiates with selected Venue. IAD reviews contract and requests IAOC and ISOC approval of contract and authority for Secretariat to execute contract on ISOC's behalf.
  4. Contracts are executed.

5.5. Final Check

˜3 Months prior to the Meeting, the site is checked for continued availability and conformance to expectations.

  1. Secretariat reviews current status of the contracted meeting location to confirm there is no change in the location status and to identify possible new barriers to holding a successful meeting in the contracted city and provides findings to the IAOC.
  2. IAOC considers the information provided and evaluates the risk - if significant risk is identified, the Contingency Planning Flow Chart (<>) is followed, if current risk is not significant, the situation is monitored through the meeting to ensure there is no significant change.

6. Text carried forward

This document is being reorganized along an outline proposed by Alissa Cooper. In preceding sections, her comment is made explicit. That is intended to be removed when the reorganization is complete. Text in this section is left over and will potentially be moved to preceding sections.

6.1. Venue Selection Process

The process of selecting a Venue is described below and is based on <>.

6.1.1. Venue Selection Principles

heading paragraph moved to Section 2.

Who are we?
We are computer scientists, engineers, network operators, academics, and other interested parties sharing the goal of making the Internet work better. At this time, the vast majority of attendees come from North America, Western and Central Europe, and Eastern Asia. We also have participants from other regions.
Why do we meet?
Moved to Section 2.
Where do we meet?
moved to Section 2.1
Moved to Section 2.1.
Internet Access:
Moved to Section 2.1.
Moved to Section 2.1.
Moved to Section 2.1.
Political considerations:
moved to Section 2.2 and reworded per Alissa's suggested text.

6.1.2. Venue Selection Objectives

Venues for meetings are selected to advance the objectives of the IETF, which are discussed in <>. The IAOC's supporting objectives include:

There is an explicit intent to rotate meeting locations equally among several places in accordance with IETF policy. However, a consistent balance is sometimes difficult to achieve. The IAOC has an objective of setting the Regions 4 years in advance, meeting in Europe, North America, and Asia, with a possibility of occasionally meeting outside those regions. This policy, known as the 1-1-1* model, is set by the IESG, <>, and is further discussed in [I-D.krishnan-ietf-meeting-policy]. The reason for the multi-year timeframe is maximization of opportunities; the smaller the time available to qualify and contract a conference Venue, the more stress imposed on the qualification process, and the greater the risk of not finding a suitable Venue or paying more for it.

There is no formal policy regarding rotation of regions, the time of year for a meeting in a specific region, or whether a meeting in a non-targeted region replaces a visit to one of the regions during that year.

The IETF chair drives selection of "*" locations, i.e., venues outside the usual regions, and requires community input. These selections usually arise from evidence of growing interest and participation in the new region. Expressions of interest from possible hosts also factor into the meeting site selection process, for any meeting.

Increased participation in the IETF from those other regions, electronically or in person, could result in basic changes to the overall pattern, and we encourage those who would like for that to occur to encourage participation from those regions.

6.1.3. Venue Selection Criteria

Heading text moved to Section 3. Venue City Considerations Basic Venue Criteria

6.1.4. Venue Selection Phases

6.1.5. Experience Notes

  1. The foregoing process works with reasonable certainty in North America and Europe.
  2. Experience to date for Asia and Latin America is that contracts take longer and often will not be executed more than two years in advance of the meeting. While the IETF will have the first option for the dates, for reasons not completely understood contracts won't be executed.

6.2. Transparency

BCP 101 requires transparency in IASA process and contracts, and thereby of the meetings committee. BCP 101 also states that the IAOC approves what information is to remain confidential. Therefore any information produced by the meetings committee or related to meetings that individuals believe is confidential, e.g., venue contracts, must be confirmed to be confidential by the IAOC.

7. IANA Considerations

This memo asks the IANA for no new parameters.

8. Security Considerations

This note proposes no protocols, and therefore no new protocol insecurities.

9. Privacy Considerations

This note reveals no personally identifying information apart from its authorship.

10. Acknowledgements

This document was originally assembled and edited by Fred Baker. Additional commentary came from Jari Arkko, Scott Bradner, and Alissa Cooper. It was discussed on

11. References

11.1. Normative References

[I-D.krishnan-ietf-meeting-policy] Krishnan, S., "High level guidance for the meeting policy of the IETF", Internet-Draft draft-krishnan-ietf-meeting-policy-01, July 2016.
[MeetingNet] O'Donoghue, K., Martin, J., Elliott, C. and J. Jaeggli, "IETF Meeting Network Requirements", WEB
[RFC2026] Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, DOI 10.17487/RFC2026, October 1996.
[RFC4071] Austein, R. and B. Wijnen, "Structure of the IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA)", BCP 101, RFC 4071, DOI 10.17487/RFC4071, April 2005.
[RFC4371] Carpenter, B. and L. Lynch, "BCP 101 Update for IPR Trust", BCP 101, RFC 4371, DOI 10.17487/RFC4371, January 2006.
[RFC7691] Bradner, S., "Updating the Term Dates of IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC) Members", BCP 101, RFC 7691, DOI 10.17487/RFC7691, November 2015.

11.2. Informative References

[I-D.barnes-healthy-food] Barnes, M., "Healthy Food and Special Dietary Requirements for IETF meetings", Internet-Draft draft-barnes-healthy-food-07, July 2013.
[RFC3935] Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF", BCP 95, RFC 3935, October 2004.

Appendix A. Change Log

Initial version
Update to reflect and, accessed from
Reorganize and capture IAOC Meetings Committee discussions.
Final from Design Team.
First update incorporating comments
Updated in accordance with editing by Laura Nugent, Dave Crocker, Lou Berger, Fred Baker, and others.
posting as working group draft
August 2, 2016
Reorganized per Alissa Cooper outline
Work in progress. In addition, contributors were re-organized to be authors.
Editor changeover. Further alignment with guidance by Alissa Cooper, Andrew Sullivan and the mtgvenue working group. Many various changes.
Extensive editorial, format and polishing pass. A few substance changes, including food section.
Additions based on working group meeting and off-list discussions; more editorial and format hacking.

Authors' Addresses

Ray Pelletier Internet Society EMail:
Laura Nugent Association Management Solutions EMail:
Dave Crocker (editor) Brandenburg InternetWorking EMail:
Lou Berger LabN Consulting, L.L.C. EMail:
Ole Jacobsen The Internet Protocol Journal EMail:
Jim Martin INOC EMail:
Fred Baker (editor) Santa Barbara, California 93117 USA EMail: