The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced Wednesday that the 2020 Realtors Conference & Expo, previously scheduled from Nov. 13-16 in New Orleans, will be transitioned to a fully virtual format in light of ongoing health and safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Uncertainty has in many ways defined 2020. While positive indicators begin to show our economy is rebounding and treatment options for COVID-19 are proving more effective, so much remains unknown about this virus and the circumstances we will face as a nation come this fall,” says NAR president Vince Malta in a news release. “In order to prioritize the health and safety of our members, staff and sponsors, NAR looks forward to hosting a fully virtual Realtors Conference & Expo this November.”

Late last month NAR’s research group conducted multiple surveys to gauge member and association staff’s willingness to attend an in-person conference this November. More than two- thirds of members emerged as “net detractors” when asked about their willingness to travel to New Orleans, says NAR. In the survey, which was sent via email to 55,223 NAR members and generated 4,135 unique responses, these detractors noted lingering safety concerns when traveling, their expectation to still be avoiding crowds in November, and the unlikelihood of a vaccine being available by that time.

“While maintaining our primary focus on the safety and wellbeing of our members, NAR has used the circumstances surrounding this pandemic to consider how we can evolve and better prepare for the markets of the future,” says NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. “Decades of investments in technology and a commitment to organizational growth allowed NAR to execute an overwhelmingly effective and fully virtual legislative conference in May, and we’re excited to build on that experience to provide an even more productive and engaging virtual conference and expo this November.”

NAR says the virtual format will allow its full organizational governance processes to proceed as normal during the conference, which will also include speakers, live-streamed content, networking opportunities and an industry expo.

Canada’s largest real estate conference and trade show, Realtor Quest, was postponed from its originally scheduled date in May. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says “if conditions are appropriate” it will stage the 2020 Realtor Quest in “late fall.”


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