Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Off to Davos? Not This Year.

Somewhat to my surprise, Random Glenings did not receive an invitation to the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland this year.

At first I was, well, a little disappointed. However, after reading Andrew Sorkin's piece in this morning's New York Times, I felt better.

Turns out that admission to the heady atmosphere in the Alps is pretty steep. Here's an excerpt:

There are several levels of membership {to the World Economic Forum}: the basic level, which will get you one invitation to Davos, costs 50,000 Swiss francs, or about $52,000. The ticket itself is another 18,000 Swiss francs ($19,000), plus tax, bringing the total cost of membership and entrance fee to $71,000.

But that fee just gets you in the door with the masses at Davos, with entry to all the general sessions. If you want to be invited behind the velvet rope to participate in private sessions among your industry’s peers, you need to step up to the “Industry Associate” level. That costs $137,000, plus the price of the ticket, bringing the total to about $156,000.

Of course, most chief executives don’t like going anywhere alone, so they might ask a colleague along. Well, the World Economic Forum doesn’t just let you buy an additional ticket for $19,000. Instead, you need to upgrade your annual membership to the “Industry Partner” level. That will set you back about $263,000, plus the cost of two tickets, bringing the total to $301,000.

Andrew Ross Sorkin: A Hefty Price for Entry to Davos - NYTimes.com

I have a client who used to attend Davos yearly but decided a couple of years ago that it was no longer worth the time and expense. After reading Mr. Sorkin's piece this morning, I can understand his point.

My client had one final suggestion for me: read The Economist magazine. In his opinion, most of what will be discussed in Switzerland over the next few days can be found between the covers of the venerable British publication. And since I have been been a loyal Economist reader for many years, I will take some solace in his idea.