Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Are real estate trade shows dead?


I’ve been getting reports from some of the industry trade shows, most notably the IBC (International Business Conferences) for Coldwell Banker, Century 21, and ERA. Realogy held these events in San Antonio, TX.

The reports are just plain ugly. Little to no attendees. Staff hiding from exhibitors for fear of being pelted with questions about attendance. Exhibitors just plain leaving, not wanting to waste any more money on hotel rooms and other travel expenses.

RE/MAX’s conference did much better than most (most likely due to the fact they held their event in Las Vegas, NV)

I heard that Alex Perriello, Realogy’s President and CEO, announced they were going to suspend the annual conferences for the foreseeable future.

This gets me wondering, are we going through a rough patch, a phase, or are things never going to be the same again?

What do you think?

Maybe trade shows aren’t dead, they just need another format.

See you there!

  1. I voted yes, I think trade shows are dead, but not because of the economy. It’s just a hope, because trade shows are stupid. Give me a conference where I can engage with potential customers on topics of mutual interest instead of a trade show any day.

  2. I think the bigger question is whether live conferences are dead. Trade shows for specific industries seem to still have a place because the opportunity for buyers to see, touch, feel and try-out new merchandise can’t be replaced by the web.
    However, trade shows connected to business events like the real estate conferences you mention above are probably a thing of the past. There are too many new ways for companies to reach their internal customers without the expenses and time of multi-day ‘conventions.’

  3. I dont believe that the trade shows are dead, in fact my company is attending one this month in Portland (the RMLS Tech Fair), and one next month in Phoenix. We are normally very busy for the trade shows, to the point where all of our guys at the booth end up speaking the whole time.

  4. Interesting feedback. I think the smaller more focused conferences/trade shows will have a better ROI than the Mega events in the future. I also think that a show’s “reputation” matters. Meaning how successful they have been running the show, year after year. Clareity’s recent event was sold out. And I know from personal experience that the RMLS trade is also very well run.

  5. I concur with M Wurzer on the importance of conferences with mega-content vs. sitting in a booth hoping for traffic.

    I am currently at a SaaS conference held by OpSource in SF. We are ‘investigating’ this space for our authentication solutions and are looking forward to meeting as many potential partners as possible in a very short amount of time. Face to face matters very much as we casually meet other connectors / networkers more than willing to discuss the industry and point us in the right direction.

    Two sides to the same coin – really depending on your positioning in the marketplace.

  6. I was at the ERA IBC and the announcement was made that there would be “mini” IBCs for next year in different regions across the country and then we would all get back together in 2011. I’m not sure how you have an International Business Conference if you are holding it regionally. Sounds to me like Realogy isn’t really sure that they are going to be a going entity in 2010!

  7. Do you guys know what the attendance at these conferences were looking like? I know Keller Williams was around 7,000 attendees. Would be curious to see a comparison.

  8. @Jennifer I had heard all the trade shows this year were way down in attendance. The Realogy International Business Conferences (IBC) were the worst (I think the city (San Antonio) + the economy were a double whammy. RE/MAX fared better. KW “Family Reunion” from what I’ve heard was the most well attended.

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