This is an archived webpage. For current information about the IETF administrative arrangements, see the IETF Administration LLC website.

Venue Selection Roles and Processes

Published June 22, 2018

The IETF Plenary Meeting Venue Selection Process document ( details the criteria used in evaluating meeting venues for IETF meetings. This page complements that document and captures the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved and the processes followed in meeting venue selection.

This is a living document which will be updated as roles and processes evolve.

This document is based on the current IASA organization model as defined in BCP101 and is expected to be updated based on the results of IASA2.0 which is currently in development.

Roles and Responsibilities

The following are the roles and responsibilities relating to selecting the venues for IETF meetings, as well as the selection processes used in order to fulfill the requirements of the community. Note that these are the roles for selecting venues for IETF meetings and do not cover the operational running of the IETF meetings.

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.

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; those who participate remotely; as well as those who do not attend but who contribute their ideas.

Participants have a responsibility to express their views about venues early and often, by responding to surveys or other solicitations from the IAOC or IAD, 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.

One primary recommended method for Participants to provide comments on venues, expressing both support and concerns, is to send email to the address:

The venue-selection email address in not a discussion list that can be subscribed to. Email sent to the address is publicly viewable at the IETF Mail Archive.

It will help the review process if the email subject line has the name of the city first as in "Subject: Toronto" and if the email has comments only for the single city in the subject.

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.

The Internet Society

With respect to IETF meetings, the Internet Society (ISOC) or the IETF Secretariat on ISOC's behalf:

  • Is the legal contracting entity for venue contracts on behalf of the IETF at the request of the IASA
    (note: venue negotiation is performed by the Secretariat)
  • Solicits and accepts meeting sponsorships on behalf of the IETF
  • Collects all meeting-related revenues, including registration fees, sponsorships, hotel commissions, and other miscellaneous revenues
  • Sees to the provisioning and oversight of accounting services, such as invoicing and monthly financial statements

IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC)

The IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC) has the responsibility to oversee and select IETF meeting venues.

  • Selects the sites and venues where the IETF will meet
  • Following guidance from the IESG, sets the IETF Meetings Calendar
  • Instructs the IAD and Secretariat to engage with the Internet Society to write the relevant contracts
  • Engages with the IETF Participants to understand community concerns about particular venues as early in the process as is feasible

IAOC Venue Review Committee

The IAOC Venue Review Committee is a subcommittee of the IAOC. The committee charter and members list is at:

Membership in the Venue Review Committee is at the discretion of the IAOC; it includes an IAOC member as the appointed chair, the IETF Administrative Director (IAD), any member of the IAOC that wishes to participate, representatives from the Secretariat, the NOC lead, and volunteer members of the community.

  • Vets possible meeting cities and venue following the requirements laid out in the IETF Plenary Meeting Venue Selection Process document
  • Recommends vetted meeting venues to the IAOC for specific meetings
  • The Committee Chair works with the IAD and Secretariat to alert and advise the IAOC on criteria trade-offs documented in the IETF Plenary Meeting Venue Selection Process that are identified during venue vetting and to identify any financial considerations the IAOC should consider when making its meeting venue selections

IETF Administrative Director (IAD)

The IETF Administrative Director (IAD) supports the IAOC, and coordinates the activities of the IETF Secretariat to ensure the timely execution of the meeting process.

  • Participates in the IAOC Venue Review Committee and ensures its efforts are documented
  • Oversees the Secretariat contract negotiations with the venues
  • Coordinates contract execution with ISOC
  • Manages the meetings budget

IETF Secretariat

The IETF Secretariat is under contract to support the IETF's activities including venue selection and is managed by the IAD.

  • Advises IAD and IAOC on potential meeting cites and venues
  • Identifies specific venues within targeted meeting cities
  • Qualifies and performs site visits of potential meeting venues
  • Negotiates meeting contracts with venues
  • Solicits and obtains local government support for IETF meetings
  • Signs contracts with venues upon ISOC approval

IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA)

The IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) is the collective set of roles that provides administrative support activity for the IETF. It consists of the IAD and the IAOC.

Venue Selection Process

Venues are selected through a progressive series of steps starting with identifying candidate cities, followed by preliminary evaluation of conformance to the criteria from the IETF Plenary Meeting Venue Selection Process document, consultation with the community, on-site evaluation, selection for specific meetings by the IAOC, and eventual contractual engagement with chosen venues.

1. Identification

Four years out, the IAOC identifies cities that might be candidates for meetings, making use of the Secretariat as they deem appropriate. This phase may be done concurrently with Consultation.

     1. The IAOC selects target regions, target cities, and dates for meetings.

     2. The list of target cities per region is provided to the Secretariat, with host preferences, if known.

     3. The Secretariat identifies potential meeting spaces and hotels in target cities and performs preliminary
     investigations of them 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. The Secretariat provides to the Venue Review Committee the list of investigated cities with preliminary
     assessments and recommendations.

     5. The Venue Review Committee vets the list of candidate cites against the IETF Plenary Meeting Venue
     Selection Process criteria. The results of the evaluation are reported to the IAOC for use in selecting
     meeting cities and venues.

2. Consultation

The IAOC consults the community about potential new venues prior to booking. The timing and means by which it does so may vary over time. The consultation may be done concurrently with the Identification phase.

     1. The IAOC sends to the IETF Participants via a list of cities that it is considering as
     potential meeting locations and asks the community whether there are any barriers to holding a
     successful meeting in any of the cities. Responses are collected through the
     email address.

     2. Community responses are reviewed and concerns investigated by the Venue Review Committee. These
     results together with recommendations for whether each city should be considered or not as potential
     meeting location are provided to the IAOC.

     3. The IAOC reviews the recommendations and chooses which cities are to be considered candidate
     cities and which are not.

     4. On a public web page, the IAOC lists all IETF meeting candidate cities, when community input was
     solicited, and if a city is to be considered as a potential meeting location. Note: This list is at the city level
     only; it does not include hotel/meeting center information.

3. Qualification

Ideally 3-4 years out, but in certain circumstances shorter, cities which have been identified as potential meeting locations are subjected to a qualification phase where a more in-depth evaluation of target cities and venues takes place.

     1. The IAOC selects a short list of target cities for further investigation from the list of cities which have
     passed the Identification and Consultation phases.

     2. The Secretariat contacts hotels in the short list of cities to establish availability and reports to the IAD.

     3. The IAD directs the Secretariat to hold site visits.

     4. The Secretariat and chosen experts, such as the NOC leader, perform site qualification visits using
     checklists along the lines of Prequalification Specifications and MTGVENUE criteria.

     5. The Secretariat reports the results to the Venue Review Committee which performs an updated
     conformance assessment.

     6. The Venue Review Committee reports to the IAOC the updated conformance assessments.

     7. The IAOC with input from the IAD, Secretariat, and the updated conformance assessments from the
     Venue Review Committee, selects cites which have been qualified to meet in.

     8. The IAOC updates the published list of candidate meeting cities, identifying which have been selected
     as qualified meeting cities and which are not. This is the list of meeting locations that the IAOC will select
     to hold IETF meetings at.
     Note: The public list only contains city level information and will not include information about venues.

4. Negotiation

Ideally, 2.75 - 3 years out, contract negotiations with venues are initiated.

     1. IAOC, with advice from the IAD and Secretariat, selects a venue in a qualified city for contracting and
     instructs the Secretariat to begin negotiations to hold an IETF meeting. The IAOC may also choose to
     instruct the Secretariat to begin negotiations with a back-up venue.

     2. Secretariat negotiates with the selected venue, and backup venue if so directed.

     3. Once a final contract has been negotiated, the IAD reviews the contract and requests ISOC approval of
     the contract and authority for the Secretariat to execute the contract on ISOC's behalf.

     4. Contracts are executed.

     5. The IAOC/IAD announce the chosen contracted venue. The announcement MUST include any notable
     economic, health, or safety risks or references thereto, as well as the venue's compliance with the
     meeting criteria.

5. Late Changes

If at any time after a contract is signed the IAOC learns circumstances have changed such that it is not certain that Mandatory criteria can be met, or that significant changes to the Important criteria used in the evaluation of the venue have changed, the IAOC MUST reconsider the selection. A description of how reconsideration currently takes place is found in the Contingency Planning Flowchart.

The IAOC 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 IAOC is expected to consult the community about changes.

     Last Updated 28 August 2018