Would You Pay Extra to Socialize at Your Next Conference?

My friend who's an HR director and member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) sent me a link to a post about SHRM's new pricing model for their annual conference and I'm curious to hear what others think about it.

Basically they're offering a "premium package" that's an upsell from their regular registration rate--$295 above the (already pricey) registration. The main thing they're selling is, basically, time--as in, freeing up your time during the conference for networking and socializing since you don't have to attend as many sessions because the package gives you virtual access to sessions.

I personally like it but think you'd have a hard time selling it to your boss--not only am I asking you to pay my travel, hotel and registration to an already expensive conference--but can you also pay an extra $300 so I don't have to actually attend sessions and can, instead, socialize? Call me crazy but I don't really see too many employers being psyched for that.

On the other hand, I like that they're promoting more socializing and networking because I am a big believer in those things being the real value in attending conferences. Then again, they're basically asking you to pay for the same thing twice: live sessions and then $300 extra for the recorded versions. And the recorded sessions are only available for registrants to purchase--why not let people who don't attend the live event pay to view recorded sessions and receive credits like attendees can?

I don't belong to this association, but it seems to me they're making this way more about what's good/profitable for them than being a value-added for attendees or virtual attendees.