A few conventions move from site to site every year, and prospective concoms bid for the right to host them. The members of these peripatetic conventions vote on where the future con will be held one or two years in advance, choosing from a slate of contenders: the bids.
A bid normally consists of a bid committee and a proposed site. (But see 7 in '77 for an exception.) To win the opportunity to host a Worldcon, a group of fans would organize a bid committee and start campaigning two or three years before the site selection vote. For a Worldcon to be held in 2020, for example, the vote would be held in 2018, so bidders would typically announce their intentions around 2016 (although some bids have started years early, and the time period involved has changed over the years).
There are rarely more than one or two bidders, but even if there is only one, an active bid campaign is essential because the goodwill gained by a well-run bid translates into an eagerness to attend the resulting convention and -- especially with Worldcons and their high fixed costs -- a few more members translates disproportionately into more money to put into niceties at the con.
Bids pay their campaign expenses and build support, in part, through sales of pre-supporting memberships, although volunteers on the bidcom usually pay their own travel expenses. Recognizing that these funds go to pay for the parties, many fans will pre-support more than one bid.
Conventions that move around include Worldcon, Westercon, Eastercon, DeepSouthCon, Smofcon and Corflu. The larger the convention the more elaborate the bidding process. See Worldcon Bids for more on Worldcon bidding and Other Bids for, well, other bids.
See also: Bid Committee - Discon 1 Guide: WSFS - Friends of the Bid - Minneapolis - Phoenix in 1987 - Phoenix in 1999 - Phoenix in 2014 - Phoenix in 2021 - Phoxphyre - Pittcon - Pittsburgh in '60 - Pluto in '87 - Portland in '88 - Portland in 1950 - Portland in 1984 - Pre-opposing Membership - Pre-supporters - Providence in 2020 - Queens SFL in '53 - Raleigh NASFiC 2010 - Ratcon in Ararat - Reno in 2011 - Return With Us Now: 1968 - Reykjavik in 2012 - Rick Sneary - Rickey Sheppard - Roger Sims - Roswell in 2002 - Rotation plan - Rothman Philcon I Remembrance - Rothman Philcon II Reminiscence - Rubble Award - Rusty Hevelin - SMOFlahoma - SWOC - Sacramento in '85 - Sacramento in 1991 - Sam Moskowitz' Detention Reminiscence - San Antonio in '97 - San Diego in '86 - San Diego in '87 - San Diego in 2006 - San Francisco in '53 - San Francisco in '54 - San Francisco in '64 - San Francisco in '78 - San Francisco in '83 - San Francisco in '93 - San Francisco in 1942 - San Francisco in 2002
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