Is there a standard way they are paid?

We'll concern ourselves only with cases where it's stated that the conference will pay travel (up to a specific amount). However, does the speaker pay and then get compensated for receipts? Does the conference pay the tickets? Does it pay them in advance?...

If you need a concrete case - Black Hat https://www.blackhat.com/us-18/call-for-papers.html .

  • 1
    I've seen everything from checks to crisp cash. Mar 23, 2018 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


In my experience, most times the person being compensated pays for their travel in advance, and then the conference recompenses them (save your receipts!).

Occasionally, however, the conference will arrange (and pay for) the dominant expenses (typically airfare and/or lodging).

The first is often actually preferable for speakers who can afford delayed recompense and trust the organization, since it gives more flexibility in making one's plans. Usually, however, you don't get a choice.

  • Thank you. I don't have enough reputation to upvote.
    – 123
    Mar 20, 2018 at 14:31
  • For a small, local conference I've helped run, we invite a handful of speakers and can/have done either of your options. Often the speaker will combine coming to our conference with travel to other labs in the region, so we let them make their complex arrangements. Or, if just coming to us, we can book the air and hotel on our end. Usually the speaker will just go ahead and do it themselves (preferred airline/connection/whatnot) and we reimburse them.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 20, 2018 at 14:47
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    Regarding your last section, there's another side of the coin which is only hinted at. As a PhD student, I was often happy to let the organizers book my tickets/hotel instead of paying out of my own funds... I can imagine that if someone comes from a country with a weaker currency, then they would also appreciate not having to pay out of pocket for the hotel and/or plane/train.
    – user9646
    Mar 23, 2018 at 15:59
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    @NajibIdrissi Good point, and clearly an example of my own privilege causing me to overlook something important.
    – jakebeal
    Mar 23, 2018 at 16:26
  • @NajibIdrissi That's a good point. I think most institutions have both options (to pay for or to refund), but one option is the default, and the other one has to be asked for. When I was in the UK, the default was paying from your own pocket and being refunded, and in France it seems to be the other way around.
    – Alexey B.
    Mar 23, 2018 at 20:50

I am organising a workshop and we have chosen to a) reimburse air travel up to some amount after the invited speaker pays and books it and b) book and pay for accommodation directly ourselves. The reason is very simple. Handling a centralised hotel booking where all speakers are staying at the same hotel on the same dates is easy. Handling air travel where each speaker is coming from a different part of the world with a different company is complicated.

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