First-timer’s guide

7 Top tips

It’s the industry’s most anticipated event attended every year by thousands of architects and designers. Here are a few tips to help you find your make the most of your first AIA Conference on Architecture.

Convince your boss

This event is every year’s best business investment. Use our letter template to explain the ROI of attending to your supervisor or firm partner.

Take advantage of registration discounts

Part of your business case is the budget you’ll save with smart discounts. Register early for early bird and advance rates.

You may be eligible for additional discounts:

  • Free registration for new AIA members
  • An additional 30% savings for young professionals
  • $25 Student rates
  • Refer your friends—you both save when they register

Book a room in our hotel block

Book your room through AIA Housing to get the lowest rates at 18 premium hotels, plus perks like free in-room Wi-Fi and shuttle service between hotels and the Orange County Convention Center. Hotels are selling out fast, so don’t wait.

Just for first-timers

These three resources will help you have a great experience.

  • Our First Timers Program matches you with a buddy to help navigate and network. Click “first-timer” on the demographics page during registration, and we’ll contact you with next steps.
  • A welcome reception to help kick off your conference experience. Register for session EV103 to attend.
  • A dedicated first-timer’s session designed to help you make the most of your experience. Register for session EV201 to attend.
  • Our Meet to Eat program connects you with other convention attendees for dinner plans.  Sign up on-site for the restaurant and time slot of your choice, then meet up your fellow diners at the restaurant.

Plan like a pro

Plan well, and you can earn your HSW, ADA, GBCI, RIBA, and AIA LU credits for the year through an unrivaled range of seminars, workshops, tours, and expo credit sessions.

  • Register early for sessions to get your top picks. The sellout risk is particularly high for tours, expo credit sessions.
  • At the event, show up 15 minutes before the seminar starts to claim your seat. You must be there early to claim your seat, no exceptions.
  • If you’d like to get into a sold-out seminar, unclaimed seats are released 10 minutes before the seminar begins.
  • We’ll automatically update your AIA member transcript with any continuing education credits you earn at the event.

Be social

It’s easy to network and make new connections at an event like this. And it’s these connections that can have a tremendous impact on your career and your life. Here are a few ideas to help you network successfully.

Attend the events

Parties, receptions, happy hours and more are designed to connect you to new experiences and people. With 40+ events, you’ve got plans every night.
Browse opportunities >

Do your research

Check out our list of speakers, brands, and building product manufacturers, then develop a plan to connect with them on-site. Attend their sessions and introduce yourself at the end or stop by their booth on the expo floor. Win-win.
Browse speakers >
Browse exhibitors >

Start conversations

Here are just a few opportunities:

  • Connect with like-minded peers through affinity group and/or alumni events.
  • Plan to attend a book signing and meet the author at the AIA store.
  • Check out the Emerging Professionals lounge on the expo floor.
  • Talk to an award-winner about their work at the Honors & Awards Celebration.

Use the hashtag #A17Con

Follow or join the conversation. Tweet that you’re attending and make it easy for others to find you and reach out to you.

Have a great time!

The Conference on Architecture is three epic days of exciting content and transformative ideas that are shaping architecture and design, hosted in a city known for surprising and innovative architecture. You’ll leave inspired and invigorated by new ideas, connected to new contacts, and motivated to tackle challenges in new ways.

We’ll see you there!