A few conventions move from site to site every year, and prospective concoms bid for the right to host them. A bid is made by a bid committee (or bidcom) which is the group of fans who are vying to host one of the peripatetic conventions at the site of their choice. The committee campaigns on behalf of their bid, in hopes of persuading the electorate to award them the right to run a future convention. The members of these moving conventions vote on where the future con will be held one or two years in advance.
At their most elaborate, bidders run bid parties and host bid tables at regional conventions and at Worldcon, run ads in selected regional program books, sell pre-supporting memberships and generally get their name and story out to potential voters. Some bids have had particularly creative fundraising methods, such as Backrubs for Baltimore and Koalawear.
Formal bidding with organized bid committees is done for:
Other moving conventions with formal site selection nevertheless do not normally have an extended bid process. Though bids are presented by a specific group of people, they perform no bidding activities outside of a presentation at the convention being selected:
Successful bidding for larger conventions involves throwing bid parties, putting out information at bid tables, advertising, and targeting fans likely to vote.
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.
The bid campaign is usually named "City in Year": Boston in '89, KC in '76, Chicago in 2012. The actual name of the winning convention is usually not announced till voting is over.
See also: Worldcon Bidding Process, Site Selection.
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