When Will the Next Live Trade Show be for Real Estate? It May be Longer Than You Think

by Joe Sesso on July 7, 2020

When NAR transitioned their annual convention (scheduled for New Orleans in November) to a virtual event last week, very few people were surprised. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, conferences and conventions have been postponed, canceled or moved to a virtual setting. There hasn’t been a major live conference since Berkshire Hathaway’s convention in Nashville the second week of March. Real estate professionals around the country are wondering, “when will conventions go live again?” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it could be much longer than most people think. Here are four reasons why:

1. No vaccine: A vaccine for COVID-19 would effectively end the pandemic altogether. The problem is that one doesn’t exist yet, and experts vary on when one will become available. These estimates range from the end of this year to the end of next year. I’m thinking that there won’t be one widely available until the second quarter of 2021, which will probably jeopardize the early real estate convention season between January and March.

2. Liability: The last thing that a conference wants is to be sued by an attendee who contracted COVID-19 and perhaps even died from attending it. There is too much risk of a potential outbreak at a large, multi-day event such as a conference.

3. Inconvenient Travel: The travel industry has had to make drastic changes since this pandemic began. While airlines, hotels and ground transportation are doing their best to keep their employees and guests safe, traveling during the pandemic may be tedious for some. Having to wear a mask for multiple hours while riding in an Uber, walking through an airport, flying on a plane for the entire flight, or hanging out in hotel common areas, as well as the convention itself is not the most comfortable or appealing thing to do. Many people would rather watch the sessions from the safety of their own homes.

4. Profitability: Event organizers are very concerned that the above reasons will deter people from attending their event. The last thing they want to do is take a huge financial loss on an event that they probably knew they shouldn’t have done in the first place.

real estate conference image When will we see another live real estate conference? It could depend on a vaccine.

I would be shocked if there was even one live real estate convention through the end of the year. I don’t see it happening. The real question is, what will happen with the 2021 conferences? February and March are two of the busiest months for real estate conventions. Will they be canceled or transitioned to a virtual event. Will they be postponed until later on in the year in the hope that a vaccine is rolled out? It’s too soon to tell at this point, but it will be interesting to see by the end of Q4 this year.

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