The gatherings last nine days and include content for family members of all ages. Each conference day begins with a two-hour church service followed by optional age-specific activities and free time. A teambuilding ropes course excursion for teenagers is offered one day and a tourist outing for singles might be offered the next, for example.
“It’s easier to find subgroup venues, like securing a place for 20 teens to do an activity together [opposed to full-group activities],” he says.
Cocomise has found conference managers at the host resorts and hotels helpful in coordinating these elements and supporting his point people at each destination. In addition, following a similar format across all six events helps him streamline planning.
“Last year, we had 50 food and beverage events between the six locations,” he says. “I try to create some kind of pattern, like planning a family barbecue on the same night for all cities.”
Because the events aren’t connected live via technology, he’s found that a shared schedule creates more of a unified Feast of Tabernacles experience across the gatherings as well.
Booking multiyear contracts is another of Cocomise’s secrets to his six-city planning endeavor. He books three-year contracts whenever possible, citing benefits to relationship building, negotiation power and the quality of the events thanks to the ability to tweak each year. Because the conference spans nine days, attendees end up spending nearly a month in the destination over the three years.
Coordinating the Feast of Tabernacles is more than a job for Cocomise, who grew up in the denomination and has attended the conference since he was a child before joining the staff during college.
“I obviously have a lot of pride and history in it,” he says. “As a kid, I never thought about the logistical, nitty-gritty details, but now I’m married and bring my own kids.”