Sponsorship and community: Our WordCamp Asia 2024

WordCamp Asia Barn2 Team

Read the story of Barn2's WordCamp Asia 2024 sponsorship, see lots of photos, find out what we spend, whether it was worth it, and more.

This week 10 members of the Barn2 team travelled from around the world to the city of Taipei in Taiwan for WordCamp Asia. We had a fantastic time and it was the most team members we've ever had together in one place!

I'll tell you all about it.

Sponsoring WordCamp Asia

We had our first experience of sponsoring a WordCamp in Athens, Greece at WordCamp Europe 2023. You can read about this in my in-depth write-up of being a first-time sponsor.

While it was impossible to measure the return-on-investment (ROI) of sponsoring a WordCamp, the impact on the team and wider WordPress community were undeniable. As a result, we decided to sponsor WordCamp Asia next.

I got to work planning our booth. That's quite a lot of work because it involves things like planning activities to attract people, ordering swag, and so on. However, it was much easier than last time because I had done it before and didn't need to reinvent the wheel.

WCAsia Barn2 Booth 2024
The Barn2 swag - Wapu pins, Barn2 badges, webcam covers, leaflets, chopsticks, pens, AirPod case sleeves, stickers + sweets

Meeting the team

The day before the conference, Andy and I met with 8 members of the Barn2 team - 5 of whom we had been working with for years but had never met in person before!

We went on the 10 Tastings of Taipei Street Food Tour with local guide Jones, which was definitely an experience! I was glad that I had been teaching myself how to use chopsticks (Barn2 ones of course 😉) for the past couple of months 🥢. We ate all sorts of interesting foods including noodle soup, dumplings, local fruits, Taiwanese taro biscuits, various meats, and a range of handmade Taiwanese flavored teas - some of which were more palatable than others!

Barn2 Team Taipei Meetup

After that, we did an escape room at Limitless Escape Rooms - 5 team members per room. They were particularly high quality escape rooms and we had to work together to work out the clues. Luckily we all escaped! 

Exploring Taipei

As well as hanging out with the Barn2 team, I spent a lot of time with my friends from my WP Business Mastermind group which has been together for over 4 years now. We got a high speed train to the South of the island and cycled around a lake, went to the top of Taipei 101 (the 2nd tallest tower in the world), and enjoyed a 12-course meal at Michelin starred restaurant RAW.

I also enjoyed the Freemius party, WooCommerce party, and the official after party.

WordCamp Asia

The conference was fun. While we had a rota to make sure there was always someone at the Barn2 booth, I ended up spending most of my time there talking to people. I spent both conference days networking and didn't even attend any talks!

Lots of people came to our booth, although overall the conference seemed quieter than WordCamp Europe where our booth had been busy non-stop. That turned out to be correct when I heard the final numbers - 1,300 people were at WCAsia, compared to over 2,500 at WCEU.

WordCamp Asia 2024 Sponsor Booth
The team at the Barn2 booth

Our WooCommerce quiz

To attract people to the booth, I had created a WooCommerce quiz using SocialPoint. People scanned a QR code to take the quiz on their phone, and the top 5 were displayed on a tablet.

77 people did the quiz in total. This is about half the number who did our WordPress quiz at WordCamp Europe, which makes sense given that fewer people attended.

The winner was freelance WordPress developer Chetan Prajapati, who got an impressively high score 🏆. His prize was an All Access Pass for all our plugins.

WCAsia WooCommerce Quiz Leaderboard
Well done Chetan!

If you'd like to test your own WooCommerce knowledge, then I have published the quiz questions and answers in a separate post. Take the quiz and calculate your own score!

How much swag did we give away?

It's really hard to figure out how much swag to order, and I shared some numbers about this in my WordCamp Europe 2023 write-up.

For WordCamp Asia, we brought and spent the following:

  • $189 on 100 pairs of chopsticks (they were gone by lunchtime on Day 2, so we could have given away more).
  • $112 on 100 Barn2 Wapu pins (we ran out on Day 1, so we needed many more).
  • $33 on 50 Barn2 button badges (we ran out at the end of Day 1).
  • $249 on 250 pens (we had slightly too many but managed to get rid of them all).
  • $213 on 100 AirPod cases (we had about 25% too many, and struggled to get rid of the final ones).
  • $63 on 120 webcam covers (we ran out early on Day 2).
  • $0 on stickers (these were left over from the $40 we spent buying 300 stickers for WCEU, and we still had loads left over after WC Asia!).
  • $23 on 200 leaflets (we had far too many).
  • 2 packets of sweets (1 of mints and 1 of chocolates).

What did it cost?

When we sponsored WordCamp Europe last year, we spent a total of $1,682 on swag, and $4,383 for sponsorship in total.

For WordCamp Asia, I toned it down a little for WordCamp Asia and bought less expensive swag, in smaller quantities. This meant that we spent $3,382 on the direct costs to sponsor WordCamp Asia.

However, the total cost for the entire event was $12,026 (compared to $13,256 for WordCamp Europe). The full breakdown was:

  • $2,500 on sponsorship.
  • $882 on swag.
  • $249 on the WooCommerce quiz.
  • $483 on team events (food tour + escape rooms).
  • $3,500 on team expenses.
  • $4,272 on travel and accommodation for Andy and myself (some of which I can claim back through the Taiwan Gold Card scheme).
  • $140 for Barn2 t-shirts.

Was sponsoring WordCamp Asia worth it? 🤔

I'm still unsure of the ROI of sponsoring WordCamps. We did a few product demos for people who seemed interested, but I doubt there will be any direct sales - just like WordCamp Europe, where we didn't track any sales.

Surprisingly, most of the people who visited our booth came over because they follow me on Twitter and wanted to meet in person 😊! This was very touching, especially because so many of them told me how much they appreciate the honesty of my tweets and said I'm one of the only people who shares numbers and talks about what it's really like to run a WordPress plugin company.

I was delighted to meet so many people who I had previously only talked to online. I also talked to a few product company owners about possible collaboration opportunities. However, I would have liked to meet more potential customers, too!

Overall, I would say that there were lots of benefits of sponsoring:

  • Community building - Sponsoring WordCamps is a way to contribute to the WordPress financially, and help to support these important events.
  • Team building - Working together on a sponsor booth is a great opportunity to work together and get closer to your teammates.
  • Brand building - Whether or not it directly translates to sales, it's undeniable that being a sponsor raises awareness of your brand and helps people to remember it in future. Meeting potential customers and other community members in person gives a human face to your brand.
  • Company reputation - People have a more positive perception of companies that sponsor WordCamps because of the impact on the WordPress community. A well planned booth with high quality swag makes your company look more professional. It also makes you look bigger - especially if you have lots of team members in recognisable t-shirts! This brings your brand to life compared to just having people learn about you online.
  • Partnership opportunities - When you sponsor a WordCamp, lots of people approach your booth and tell you what they do. Often, they are the owners of other WordPress products which are complementary to yours! This leads to fruitful discussions about working together, integrating your plugins, cross-promotion, and other ways that you can both benefit from.
  • Direct sales? - While we haven't tracked any actual sales from sponsoring a WordCamp, people do express an interest in the products and it's likely that someone will make a purchase at some point. This may not be immediately - if they're a developer or agency building sites for clients then they might remember your product and buy it when it's right for a specific project.

On balance, I think that we will continue to sponsor WordCamps - however, probably only once a year. That's because there is definitely some benefit, but it is expensive and the ROI is impossible to measure. I like the idea of alternating - sponsoring WordCamp Europe one year, Asia the next, and so on. However, overall there is probably more value in sponsoring WordCamp Europe because so many more people attend.

Our amazing team continues to surprise us

A final takeaway from the conference is what an amazing and dedicated team we have, and what good work they can do without needing Andy or myself. They proved this in 2 main ways:

We left the developers to do support (and they nailed it!)

5 of our 7 support team members wanted to attend WordCamp Asia. This created an unprecedented situation where there wouldn't be enough team members remaining to handle support tickets and look after our customers.

In the past, I intentionally kept our development team away from support. The support team isolates any bugs with our plugins and creates BitBucket issues for the developer, instead of having developers work direct with customers. However, this was a unique situation!

I asked our 3 Senior Developers who weren't going to WordCamp Asia if they'd be willing to do a week's support. They agreed and rose to the challenge.

I couldn't be happier with the results. I had a sneaky look at our Help Scout account a few times while I was in Taipei, and was surprised that the support queue was only about 10% longer than usual - very impressive given that they don't normally handle tickets. The quality and wording of their responses was excellent.

But I was even more impressed by how much extra value they added. Throughout the week, they suggested opportunities for improvement for our plugins, support processes, and website.

One developer described it as "the toughest workweek I experienced since I was hired at Barn2" - however, at the end, they all  voluntarily said they would like to remain more involved with support on a permanent basis! We are now talking about the best way to achieve this.

Working at Barn2: A surprise video

On the final afternoon of the conference, Andy and I left the team to their own devices for a couple of hours.

Later that evening, we were surprised to discover that they had spontaneously worked together to create a video about how great it is to work at Barn2. Remember, most of them had only met in person for the first time 3 days before, so it was lovely to see them having fun and building things together 🥹


  1. What an awesome update. Your team is great even though they have been working remotely for years!

    I always love the idea of your sharing everything in the blog transparently. Please, continue to do so!

    • Hi Nish,

      Thanks so much for your kind words! We're glad you enjoyed the update!
      We believe transparency is key, and we're happy you find our blog posts valuable. We'll definitely continue to share updates and insights in the future. Cheers! -Nikki

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