mtgvenue E. Lear, Ed.
Internet-Draft Cisco Systems
Intended status: Best Current Practice January 11, 2018
Expires: July 15, 2018

IETF Plenary Meeting Venue Selection Process


The IASA 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 the community's 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 July 15, 2018.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The IETF Internet Administrative Support Activity (IASA) has responsibility for arranging IETF plenary meeting venue selection and operation. The purpose of this document is to guide the IASA in their selection of regions, cities, facilities, and hotels. The IASA applies this guidance at different points in the process in an attempt to faithfully meet the requirements of the IETF community. We specify a set of general criteria for venue selection and several requirements for transparency and community consultation.

It remains the responsibility of the IASA to apply their best judgment. The IASA accepts input and feedback both during the consultation process and later (for instance when there are changes in the situation at a chosen location). Any appeals remain subject to the provisions of BCP101. As always, the community is encouraged to provide direct feedback to the Nominations Committee (NOMCOM), Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG), and IAB regarding the discharge of the IETF Administrative Oversight Committee's performance.

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


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

The building that houses meeting rooms and associated resources. It may also house an IETF Hotel.
IETF Hotels:

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

One or more hotels, usually in close proximity to the Facility, where the IETF has negotiated a group rate for the purposes of the meeting. Of particular note is that overflow hotels usually are not connected to the IETF network and do not use IETF SSIDs.

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

2. Venue Selection Objectives

2.1. Core Values

Some IETF values pervade the selection process. These often are applicable to multiple requirements listed in this document. They are not limited to the following, but at minimum include:

Why 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 inhibit, discourage, or 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 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. "Unfiltered access" in this case means that all forms of communication are allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, access to corporate networks via encrypted VPNs from the meeting Facility 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. Beyond this, we are the first users of our own technology. Any filtering may cause a problem with that technology development. In some cases, local laws may require some filtering. We seek to avoid such locales without reducing the pool of cities to an unacceptable level by stating a number of criteria below, one mandatory and others important, to allow for the case where local laws may require filtering in some circumstances.[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 Facility.

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.
Least Astonishment and Openness:

Regular participants should not be surprised by meeting Venue selections, particularly when it comes to locales. To avoid surprise, the venue selection process, as with all other IETF processes, should be as open as practicable. It should be possible for the community to engage early to express its views on prospective selections, so that the community, the IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC), and Internet Administrative Director (IAD) can exchange views as to appropriateness long before a venue contract is considered.

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:

While the IETF strives to be as inclusive as possible both online and in person, maximal meeting attendance in and of itself is not a goal. It would defeat a key goal of meeting if active contributors with differing points of view did not have the opportunity to resolve their disagreements, no matter how full the rooms.

Variety in site-seeing experiences.

3. Meeting Criteria

This section contains the criteria for IETF meetings. It is broken down into three subsections: mandatory criteria, important criteria, and other considerations, each as explained below.

3.1. Mandatory Criteria

If criteria in this subsection cannot be met, a particular location is unacceptable for selection, and the IASA MUST NOT enter into a contract. Should the IASA learn that a location no longer can meet a mandatory requirement after having entered into a contract, it will inform the community and address the matter on a case by case basis.

3.2. Important Criteria

The criteria in this subsection are not mandatory, but are still highly significant. It may be necessary to trade one or more of these criteria off against others. A Venue that meets more of these criteria is on the whole preferable than another that meets fewer of these criteria. Requirements classed as Important can also be balanced across Venue selections for multiple meetings. When a particular requirement in this section cannot be met, the IASA MUST notify the community at the time of the venue announcement. Furthermore, it may be appropriate for the IASA to assist those who, as a result, have been inconvenienced in some way.

3.2.1. Venue City Criteria

3.2.2. Basic Venue Criteria

The following requirements relate to the Venue and Facilities.

The IETF operates internationally and adjusts to local requirements. Facilities selected for IETF Meetings SHALL have provided written assurance that they are in compliance with local health, safety and accessibility laws and regulations, and will remain in compliance throughout our stay.

In addition:

3.2.3. Technical Meeting Needs

The following criteria relate to technical meeting needs.

3.2.4. Hotel Needs

The following criteria relate to IETF Hotels.

3.2.5. Food and Beverage

It is said that an army travels on its stomach. So too does the IETF. The following criteria relate to food and beverage.

3.3. Other Consideraitons

The following considerations are desirable, but not as important as the preceding requirements, and thus should not be traded off for them.

4. Venue Selection Roles

The formal structure of IETF administrative support functions is documented in BCP 101, [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 describes the roles involved in meeting venue selection (e.g., not who does what at the meetings). It is anticipated that those roles will evolve. The IASA is responsible for keeping the community informed in this regard, and MAY do so without updating this memo.

4.1. IETF Participants

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 in person, from newcomer to frequent attendee, to those who participate remotely, as well as those who do not attend but who also contribute their ideas. Potential new contributors are also considered in the process.

Participants have a responsibility to express their views about venues early and often, by responding to surveys or other solicitations from IASA functions, and by initiating fresh input as the Participant becomes aware of changes in venues that have been reviewed. This permits those responsible for venue selection to be made aware of concerns relating to particular locations well in advance of having entered into contract discussions.

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. 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) or the Secretariat on ISOC's behalf:

ISOC sees to the provisioning and oversight of 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 and Secretariat to work with the Internet Society to write the relevant contracts. It approves the IETF meetings calendar. In cooperation with the IAD, the IAOC takes necessary actions to ensure that the IASA is aware of participant concerns about particular venues as early in the process as is feasible.

4.5. IETF Administrative Support Activity

The IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) performs the meeting selection process under the oversight of the IAOC. The IETF Secretariat is under contract to support 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. The IAD takes appropriate actions to solicit community input regarding both retrospective and prospective feedback from participants.

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 IASA to ensure the timely execution of the meeting process. This includes participating in the IAOC Meetings Committee and ensuring its efforts are documented, overseeing Secretariat contract negotiations with the Venue, and coordinating contract execution with ISOC. The meetings budget is managed by the IAD.

4.7. IAOC Meetings 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 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 sequence is used by the IAOC to select venues. Unless otherwise stated below, the IAOC may evolve these steps over time without updating this document.

5.1. Identification

Four years out,the IASA identifies cities that might be candidates for meetings, making use of the Secretariat as they deem appropriate. For example:

  1. The IASA selects regions, cities, 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 IASA of investigated/target cities to consider further as well as issues identified and the results of research conducted.

5.2. Consultation

The IASA MUST consult the community about potential new venues prior to booking. The timing and means by which it does so may vary over time, but MUST include references to any notable travel risks. The consultation may overlap with the previous step (identification).

For example:

  1. The IAOC asks the community whether there are any barriers to holding a successful meeting in any of the target cities in the set.
  2. Community responses are reviewed and concerns investigated by the Meetings Committee. The results together with recommendations for whether each city should be considered as potential meeting location is provided to the IAOC.
  3. The IAOC identifies which cities are to be considered as a potential meeting location.
  4. On a public web page, the IAOC lists all candidate cities, when community input was solicited, and if a city is to be considered as a potential meeting location.
  5. The Meetings Committee pursues potential meeting locations based on the posted list of cities that have been identified as a 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 along the lines of <>; 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. The Meetings Committee will not recommend an option unless it meets all Mandatory criteria.
  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. The venue is announced. At this time, the announcement MUST include any notable travel risks or references thereto.

5.5. Late Changes

If at any time after a contract is signed the IASA learns circumstances have changed such that it is not certain that Important or Mandatory criteria can be met by a Venue, the IASA MUST reconsider the selection. A description of how reconsideration currently takes place is found in <>. The IASA will gauge the cost of making a change against the ability of the IETF to conclude a successful meeting, and make a final determination based on their best judgment. When there is enough time to do so, the IASA is expected to consult the community about changes.

6. IANA Considerations

This memo asks the IANA for no new parameters.

[The RFC-Editor may remove this section prior to publicaiton.]

7. Security Considerations

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

8. Privacy Considerations

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

[The RFC-Editor may remove this section prior to publication.]

9. Contributors

The following people provided substantial text contributions to this memo:

Fred Baker

Fred originated this work.

Ray Pelletier

Laura Nugent
Association Management Solutions

Lou Berger
LabN Consulting, L.L.C.

Ole Jacobsen
The Internet Protocol Journal

Jim Martin

10. Acknowledgements

Additional contributions came from Jari Arkko, Scott Bradner, Alissa Cooper, Dave Crocker, Jordi Palet Martinez, Andrew Sullivan, and other participants in the mtgvenue working group. Those listed in this section or as contributors may or may not agree with the content of this memo.

11. References

11.1. Normative References

[RFC2026] Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, DOI 10.17487/RFC2026, October 1996.
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997.
[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

[MeetingNet] O'Donoghue, K., Martin, J., Elliott, C. and J. Jaeggli, "IETF Meeting Network Requirements", WEB
[RFC3935] Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF", BCP 95, RFC 3935, October 2004.

Appendix A. Change Log

[RFC Editor: Please remove this section prior to publication.]

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.
Various clarifying bits to provide some glue between the high-level 'objectives' and the detailed criteria and roles, per suggestions fronm Lear. Editorial changes, per 12/27 response to Cooper. Refined uses of 'facility' and 'venue', per 12/4 response to Carpenter; also added Carpenter 'lounge' text. Moved community consultation to a separate criterion; removed 'acceptable to the IETF Community from the 2 entries that had it. Removed Post-Seroul Revisions and Text Carried Forward.
Address comments made on list by Stephen Farrell <>. Minor text change in Section 5. Replaced links in sections 5.3 and 5.5.
Add openness comment as requested by Stephen Farrell. Add statement about 4071 as proposed by Brian and modified by Jari. Elaborated on what "unfiltered" means, based on discussion between Eliot and Stephen. Preface to Section 5 as discussed between Lou and Stephen. Slight editorial tweak to that by Eliot. IETF operates internationally, as proposed by Brian.
Add new introductory text. Sharpen mandatory definition. Split first criteria into two, and reword them to be more actionable. Remove net cash positive requirement. Change many critera from Mandatory to Important. Remove consensus text. Modify chapeau. Add some normative MUSTs in Section 5, and restructure Section 5.5. A bunch of other stuff as well. Use diff.
Happy Mother's Day. This version removes the tabular format of requirements, moves mandatory requirements up front, adds a desiderata section, adds a mandatory filtering requirement, consolidates introductory text, moves procedural requirements into Section 5, removes the definition of Headquarters Hotel, removes the MUST in late changes, and adds a desire for a local participant in site selection.
These are last call edits. Big change is around Internet requirements. Also, address Andrew Sullivan comments, as well as SM comments. Brian Carpenter big scrub on IAOC to IASA.
Final edits from WGLC based on Laura Nugent's review. Most are editorial for clarity. Also, remove large table and link to the live copy.
Changes based on AD review.

Author's Address

Eliot Lear (editor) Cisco Systems Richtistrasse 7 Wallisellen, CH-8304 Switzerland Phone: +41 44 878 9200 EMail: