The Logistics of Bringing Your Team to WordCamps & Conferences

Freemius
10 min readMay 19, 2024

Many WordPress founders will toy with the idea of taking their team to a WordCamp to network, learn about industry trends, and exchange ideas. But, for remote teams, the benefits of attending WordCamps extend beyond engaging with the community and learning about the ecosystem.

In 2023, Freemius team members from far and wide made the trek to WordCamp Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. The experience was incredible and helped the company deepen relationships, which had a profound impact on our interpersonal dynamics.

But make no mistake: Taking your team to a WordCamp — or any conference, for that matter — is a challenge that requires meticulous planning and budgeting. To lighten the logistical load, Freemius founder and CEO Vova Feldman shares the tips and checklist you’ll need to bring your team together successfully.

Side note: If you’re headed to WordCamp Europe, say hi to Vova and fellow Freemians Daniele Alessandra, Goran Mirkovic, Hadas Golzaker, and Zee Hazan.

Before we get into the logistics, a word on why taking your team to a WordCamp is a worthy endeavor.

Why Attending WordCamps is Beneficial for Companies in the WordPress Space

Getting to Know the Community

For any company operating in WordPress, it’s critical to understand the workings of the ecosystem. The more you know about the WordPress community, the better results you can produce.

It doesn’t matter what functions team members fulfill,” Vova says.

Whether they’re writing content or code, conferences like WordCamps help them understand the people your business is catering to. The better a team member knows your target audience, the more effective and relevant their output will be.

For B2B businesses that operate in the ecosystem — like Freemius — WordCamps are an opportunity for end-users and customers to interact with team members in person.

At WordCamp Asia, it was so exciting when our Developer Support Lead met the guys from Stackable. Previously, they’d communicated through Help Scout via support tickets. But having that physical interaction where both parties met the person on the other side of the internet enhanced the relationship even more.”

Team Exposure

At WordCamp, having everyone in the company wearing branded swag (like caps, t-shirts with logos, etc.) is powerful for promoting a strong team presence.

Having more people than the founder alone attending the conference helps you spread your brand even wider because it makes your physical presence more significant.

Networking Opportunities

A bigger footprint at a WordCamp creates more networking opportunities.

Founders can only seize so many opportunities at WordCamps. But if you have — say — a developer attending talks with other developers and getting to know them, it can create opportunities for collaboration because they communicate on the same level. This can be beneficial if you’re looking to grow your team, “ Vova says.

There’s a good chance some of your team members lack networking experience, and that’s fine. But understanding the tricks of the trade — and how they apply to the WordPress ecosystem — can go a long way towards helping them make favorable (and lasting) impressions.

We covered the 101 of WordPress networking in our article Talk the Talk: The Solopreneur’s Guide to Building a WordPress Network. It presents hands-on guidance about planning your networking strategy before a WordCamp, building a WordPress network from scratch, what to do (and not 😉) during conferences, and much more. I highly recommend giving it a read and sharing it with your team.

Contributor Day

On Contributor Day — which usually takes place the day before WordCamp officially kicks off — attendees contribute to the WordPress Project and collaborate with other professionals in their area of expertise, offering a chance for team members to forge authentic connections.

The value of Contributor Day extends beyond networking and helping the WordPress cause: it’s also a chance for your team members to grasp the magnitude of the ecosystem and realize that they are actively playing a part in something bigger than themselves.

Content Generation

A WordCamp is one of the few opportunities for remote companies to create footage together. We took full advantage of that in Bangkok. ️

We shot a team video documenting escapades like shooting one another in laser tag (more on this soon), firing up the dance floor at side events, and braving crazy tuk-tuk rides. Each member also got their time in the spotlight to share a bit about themselves and what working at Freemius means to them.

https://youtu.be/1gvHD3ZfwW8

You can also use your time at WordCamps to create valuable content focusing on the WordPress community.

Some highlights for us:

  • Our Spectacular Fails series was shot at WordCamp Europe 2023 in Greece. We interviewed 18 founders, asking them to share their biggest WordPress or business-related failures and what they learned from them.
  • We always make sure to chronicle our Makers’ Meetups at WordCamps, where software makers can make new connections and exchange ideas over good food and drink:

https://youtu.be/lJcp6V61dVM

WordCamps also offer the chance to be featured in other companies’ content. Check out this Elementor panel discussion from WordCamp Asia 2023 where Vova joined other WordPress entrepreneurs to share insights about building successful software companies in an open-source space.

One thing that WordCamps are useful for content-wise — particularly for new companies — is to collect testimonials. Trying to source them via cold-calling approaches like email can be hard. But at a WordCamp, you can directly engage people, sit down with them, and generate the testimonial right there, whether it’s a video or a quote for your website,” Vova says.

Finally, posting your real-time experiences at WordCamps and using relevant hashtags and handles can generate significant reach and exposure for your business. Pro tip: when taking selfies with other attendees, ask them to tag you on X/Twitter then and there so you can share it later, and vice versa.

The @freemius team is ready to paaaartttty at the @WordCampAsia after party #wcasia #WordCamp pic.twitter.com/WkHb3cQavr

- Vova Feldman Attending #WCEU (@vovafeldman) February 19, 2023

Understand What Your Goals Are

It’s always a good idea to set goals for anything you plan on doing at WordCamp,” Vova says. “ It increases your chances of achieving them.” You can be spontaneous, but relying on spontaneity alone won’t make for predictable outcomes.

Goals can be as broad or granular as you want them to be, but you need to set up activities or objectives in advance to facilitate them. For example:

  • If your goal is for team members to get to know one another better, ensure you get together for meals or have a day (or more) dedicated to team-building before/after the event.
  • If you want to prioritize networking, set a target number of business cards each team member needs to collect from other attendees at the end of each day.

Attending WordCamps as a team is a golden opportunity to achieve many goals during a relatively short window, and pulling this off requires planning and preparation with your team before jetting off.

How to Prepare for Attending a Conference as a Team

Before the Freemius team attended WordCamp Asia, we had a workshop to guide us through the particulars of networking at WordCamp and side events as well as what was expected of us.

It’s important for you as a leader to provide some form of guidance. This doesn’t mean you have to be the one who trains or introduces your team to the ins and outs of networking per se, but you must communicate how you expect them to represent the company, the product or service, and themselves when they’re meeting people.

The next order of business is likely at the forefront of your concerns: the issue of money.

Setting a Budget

Pick an Affordable Destination

Attending WordCamps in developing countries reduces financial strain because they are generally cheaper, but team proximity can influence this.

If — for example — the bulk of your workforce is based in Europe, you’ll save on travel costs by attending WCEU instead of a far-off destination like Thailand.

Speaking of WCEU: Getting visas to Western countries can be a major challenge for Asians. To improve their chances, you can get an official visa invitation letter from the WordPress Foundation.

Book Flights, Accommodation, and WordCamp Tickets ASAP

The biggest expenses are flights and accommodation.

I keep a spreadsheet to determine the cost of every team member’s flight and build in a ten to twenty percent buffer to account for prices going up. This gives me a rough estimate of the highest and lowest airfares. For accommodation, I check the rates of Airbnb and hotels around the dates of the conference,” Vova says.

If you can book flights and tickets four or five months in advance, you can save as much as fifty percent compared to what you’d pay two months before the WordCamp.

The differences are just crazy,” Vova says.

Some of the best advice I can give is to put dates and routes you want to track into Google Flights and set up alerts for when prices drop. The best is usually to act fast and buy the tickets as soon as that happens.

Vova strongly advises you to collect your team members’ passports and relevant information well in advance so the person in charge of booking flights can jump on cheap tickets if they become available.

Lastly, book WordCamp tickets as soon as registration for the event opens.

The last thing you want is to have airplane tickets and hotel rooms lined up only for the event to be booked out. “ Tickets for big regional WordCamps [more on this later] are usually snapped up pretty fast,” Vova says.

Set a Daily Budget

Determine daily costs for “basic” things like transportation, meals, etc., by visiting a few travel websites or viewing online menus from local coffee shops and restaurants. Once you have an estimate, multiply it by the number of team members you plan on taking.

A likely scenario 😅

It’s also a good idea to find a popular local ride-sharing app in advance.

“S et up a company account with the company credit card,” Vova says. “ You should then get one out of every three team members to download the app so organizing rides is easy.”

Team Activities

Conference days are usually too busy for outings, so you should decide how many days before/after the event you’ll need for activities.

While the Freemius team was in Bangkok, we allocated a day before WordCamp for team-building activities. We:

  • Visited the Grand Palace
  • Played laser tag
  • Joined the GoDaddy team for their Island Boat Party cruise on the Chao Praia River
  • Ended up on the Hilton Residence’s 31st-floor rooftop bar
Visiting the Grand Palace
Shooting each other
Serenading each other

In retrospect, the Freemius team could have done with an extra day to fit in all of our outings. “ I recommend not booking more than two activities a day, otherwise it gets too much,” Vova says.

Recommended: Combine a WordCamp with a Team Retreat

In all honesty, bringing your entire team together for the sole purpose of attending a WordCamp is not a good idea,” Vova says.

Attending a WordCamp together and spending time together are two different things. When I go to WordCamps and other conferences, I’m there to meet new people to collaborate with, form partnerships, and create business opportunities. Having team members with me is a distraction because I need to dedicate most of my focus to them instead of getting the most out of the conference.

So how do you introduce your team to the world of WordPress and enjoy the team-building benefits of spending quality time together with a sprinkling of strategic planning thrown in?

Focus on regional WordCamps, which represent WordPress communities “in a geographical area larger than one city/metro area”. They’re usually in exciting destinations, offering the opportunity to organize a unique team retreat where employees can reflect, strategize, and bond.

Collecting Feedback After the Dust Has Settled

The logistics don’t end after the WordCamp, I’m afraid 😉 When everyone’s home and has had time to collect their thoughts, ask for feedback to gauge the overall sentiment.

You’ll probably have a feeling of how things went, but it’s still a good idea to get your team’s input on their experiences of the WordCamp as well as the team retreat or activities if you’re including that too. It helps you plan better for future events,” Vova says.

Feeling Keen on Making the Trek?

We hope the tips in this article kickstart and pave the way for a successful WordCamp trip. But more than that, we hope it has ignited your excitement about the prospect of getting your team together in one place and having an amazing time.

While the ROI of bringing our team together can’t be quantified, our retreat before WordCamp Asia was one of the best experiences we’ve had as a remote team. It strengthened our relationships, infused us with new energy, and reinforced our shared mission to work harder and achieve more together.

If you have more questions about the ins and outs of taking your team to a WordCamp, drop us a DM on X.

Originally published on the Freemius blog on May 19, 2024.

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Freemius

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