It was the best of shows, it was the wait. That’s not right. DrupalCon 2014 was just great and there are always new learnings to make it better.

Last year, DrupalCon really hit its stride, especially in Europe. We have already produced one of three great DrupalCons in 2015, so before we get further into the year, I’d like to summarize what happened with DrupalCon in 2014. More posts will come to highlight our 2015 DrupalCon planning so there is more transparency into our team’s work.

In 2014, DrupalCon North America was held in Austin, Texas, USA while DrupalCon Europe was hosted in Amsterdam, Netherlands. They both had their fair share of successes and new learnings. The Drupal Association has become more data driven over the year and we’d like to share interesting statistics and budgets below. Our staff gleaned some pretty good insights, especially around who attends DrupalCon, allowing us to better plan programming and experiences to match those demographics.

DrupalCon Austin

Austin was a great city for hosting DrupalCon. It’s a city of creativity and innovation as well as cowboys, live music, and thousands of bats. 3,300 people attended the week long celebration of Drupal and community. Our trainers grew the skills of 545 training attendees; 118 business leaders gathered at the Business Summit to brainstorm ways to grow the Drupal adoption rate; and 101 community leaders attended the Community Summit and discussed ways to grow and strengthen local communities through various programs like camps and sprint mentoring.

DrupalCon Amsterdam

DrupalCon Job typesAmsterdam is also an A-rated city known for Dutch design, world leading water management, as well as tulips and cheese. Centrally located in Western Europe and in the backyard of many budding Drupal businesses, this event was the largest yet for the region with 2,370 attendees. This event sold the most one day-tickets, which were bought primarily by beginner developers and those local to the event, who only had time to attend for one day due to business demands. A great location really drove attendance for this event.


DrupalCon attendee workplacesWe are especially proud of DrupalCon’s diversity. Unique to DrupalCon Austin, this conference attracts a more distributed number of job types from developers to project managers to evaluators and they represent a range of employers from Drupal Shops to Drupal customers (libraries, universities, enterprise customers).
DrupalCon Amsterdam attracts many more developers who work at Drupal Shops. Clearly, we can do a better job attracting developers from European Drupal customers, too.

We are also proud that 20% of DrupalCon Austin attendees are female - a very strong percentage for a tech conference. DrupalCon Amsterdam had 10% female attendance - a number we would like to increase together as a community.

It’s also interesting where attendees come from. DrupalCons are certainly international with almost 60 countries represented at each event, but it is clear that the majority of attendees come from the host country and nearby countries. More than 70% of DrupalCon Amsterdam attendees come from Western Europe while 88% of DrupalCon Austin attendees were American, 4% were Canadian, and 1% was from the UK.

Amsterdam attendee nationalitiesAustin attendee nationalities
Demographic Learnings

With multi-year data, The Drupal Association can now see that these events are attracting different kinds of audiences. We are working internally and with community leaders to better understand how to tailor the event programming to better serve each one. As we know more, we will share details in future blogs.

Attendance Drivers: Content is King

DrupalCon Austin’s main attendance drivers were sessions, building Drupal skills, and networking while DrupalCon Amsterdam’s were location, sessions, and networking. Our survey shows that the events nailed these three areas and attendees felt these areas met or exceeded expectations.

Looking a bit more closely at our sessions - a large percentage of our programming, we can see that Drupal 8 continued to be a hot topic and was a major focus on sessions that were the most attended. In terms of ratings, we saw in Austin that the Careers Lab, led by Mike Anello and Gwendolyn Anello, ranked highest and in DrupalCon Amsterdam, Susan Rust’s Business Track session: “Train Wrecks & Ugly Baby Client Meetings” was top rated. Clearly content must continue to go beyond a developer focus to meet other learning pain points in our community.

Sessions are scored by attendees on a score of 1 through 5, 5 being highest. DrupalCon Austin scores slipped a bit from DrupalCon Portland scores. We are looking into this more, but individual comments showed that we can do more training to help speakers avoid pitching their company, which invariably is an attendee turnoff. DrupalCon Amsterdam scores slipped a bit as well from the previous year’s DrupalCon Prague. Looking at individual comments, it is clear that the content was well received and speakers did a great job. The issue was that the RAI rooms were too small to accommodate the crowds of people. This is something we can better address with future DrupalCon planning.

Amsterdam session scoresAustin session scores

I’m also proud to point out that sprints are growing in size and much of that is thanks to our sprint mentors and the work they do leading up to sprints, preparing hundreds to participate. DrupalCon Austin had 790 sprinters compared to DrupalCon Portland’s 730 sprinters while DrupalCon Amsterdam had 631 sprinters compared to DrupalCon Prague’s 462 sprinters.

The Net Net: DrupalCon’s Net Promoter Scores

In the attendee survey, we ask the attendee if they would recommend DrupalCon to a friend and they answer by selecting 1 through 10, 10 being a strong “YES!”. This is the basis for determining a net promoter score and there is some basic math to figure out DrupalCon’s score.

DrupalCon Austin was the first time we asked this question in a DrupalCon North America survey. The score is 53, a very good baseline, which we can now use to gauge the health of DrupalCon Los Angeles. We asked this question for DrupalCon Prague and the score was 49. Unfortunately, when we asked this for DrupalCon Amsterdam, the score was 25, which was surprising since scores were high on sessions and other aspects of the programming. When we dug into the comments, we found that the low ratings were very much tied to the lower quality of food and lack of seating during lunch, the desire for more coffee service, and the need for larger session rooms. Attending session after session, food and coffee really are important to fuel the marathon of Drupaling for a week. We are taking this feedback seriously and looking at ways to improve upon it for DrupalCon Barcelona.

The Financials

DrupalCon North America continues to be a large fundraiser for The Drupal Association. It takes a large cash outlay to generate a net profit of $802,756. Those funds allow us to run our other community programs like improvements, Community Cultivation Grants, and Drupal Marketing.

Leading up to DrupalCon Amsterdam, we thought we weren’t going to make our attendance goal, but once summer break in Europe ended, ticket sales skyrocketed. 

Below are high level details on income from ticket sales and sponsorships and our top line expenses.

DrupalCon Austin

Ticket sales $1,276,805
Sponsorship $856,300
Donation $200
Total Income $2,133,305
Expenses (below are top expenses, not all expenses)
Venue $83,198
Catering $496,090
AV, Internet, Power $106,161
Total Expenses $1,279,060
Net Profit $854,245

DrupalCon Amsterdam

Ticket sales €879,527.89
Sponsorship €455,886.32
Total Income €1,335,414.21
Expenses (below are top expenses, not all expenses)
Venue €164,279.70
Catering €263,226.60
AV, Internet, Power €86,996.33
Total Expenses €1,176,109.29
Net Profit €159,304.92

Onward and Upward
Moving to data-driven conference planning is key to creating events that meet our attendees’ needs. It shows us who is attending, what attendees want to learn about, and what is important to deliver the best user experience. Additionally, we can see who is not attending our conferences and determine how to attract other community members so DrupalCons are truly diverse and serve more groups. We are using this data to evolve our conferences, but we don’t want to use just data alone. Hearing from community members is key, too. If you have feedback or ideas, please use comments to share them with us. We are listening. And, we will send out more blogs letting you know about DrupalCon planning in 2015.



merlinofchaos’s picture

I think there's an error in the Amsterdam numbers.


Ticket sales + Sponsorship do not add up to the Total Income number.

megansanicki’s picture

Thanks Merlinofchaos for catching that. Not sure what happened there in my spreadsheet, but I'll correct it right away.


alimac’s picture

The job types graphic (and the two session scores graphics) are hard to read -- can you link to larger versions?

I think the demographic breakdown of "Where I work" ignores certain populations... education, non-profit and government Drupal folks. 

azizkurniawan963’s picture

dalam sebuah tata usaha dagang crystal x harus berani tampil besaing beda dengan harga crystal x’s picture