To Our Valued IAHSP® Family Members,
As the months have progressed during this very unusual 2020, we have been able to shift successfully to continue to deliver resources and education to our members. We hope that you are staying productive and want you to reach out to us for any support we can offer during this time.
I know many of you have been waiting and wondering about our 2020 IAHSP® Conference and EXPO that is scheduled for Sept 25-27 in Denver. We have been waiting on making any kind of formal announcement to see if the State of Colorado will provide any clear guidelines on large gatherings. To date, Governor Polis has not shared any information on when or how gatherings will be allowed.
What I do know is the ability to meet in larger groups will start off with 50 people and slowly increase in size every few weeks or month. We have no idea when the ability to meet in a group our size will be allowed and by my estimates it would not be until the fall.
Because we have no clear mandate on large meetings for Colorado, with the support of our leadership team, I have made the difficult decision to cancel our live conference. As much as I, and everyone else miss you and would love to be able to see everyone in person, it would not be responsible of us to continue to promote an event we are unsure can even be held.
Furthermore, the survey we sent out about our 2020 Conference had insightful statistics. The most telling one was two-thirds of the potential attendees surveyed indicated even if the larger groups were allowed, they would still NOT attend a live conference. The reasons were concerns for their health during travel, safety of the large gathering, and costs since many industry members business volume has greatly decreased due to Covid19. Even if the hotel were to guarantee safety and sanitation measures were in place for all meeting rooms, restaurants, etc., 52% of the respondents shared they would still not attend.
Therefore, the cancelation of the event is due to an unforeseen and unpredictable pandemic that in turn has caused a lack of a facility, attendees and revenue to support our event. We do not want to have a reduced event, as a big part of our conferences is our EXPO and the companies that pay to display and meet all of you and they expect large numbers. Their sponsorships support our event costs, and without them we would not be able to afford what the hotel has required us to pay in our agreement. Many of our sponsors are also struggling and believe 2020 is not a year they can move forward with the commitments they have made to IAHSP®.
Our event is a production – not just a meeting with speakers. We want it to be memorable, educational and inspirational. I am extremely sad about this and I hope you support our responsible decision to act in ways that protect our members and association.
We are looking at offering a virtual conference and are working on the details. Another important piece of feedback from the survey was our members are concerned about attending a multi-day virtual event. They shared it is hard to concentrate with various distractions found at home or offices, and if at home, it is a challenge to not be working to earn money versus sitting at a computer or phone watching and listening to speakers. One of the best parts of a live event is the ability to get away and have time to just focus on the event and learn and that is not possible with an online event.
We are taking the feedback into consideration and will be sharing what we will be doing for 2020 with all of you once it is finalized. Whatever we decide to do, it will be recorded for those who are not able to take the time to watch it live so all our members have the opportunity to benefit from the education and information. – Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman
For those who already purchased tickets to the 2020 live conference, your ticket purchase will be applied to the virtual conference or applied to 2021 Conference tickets or to your membership. Your status as a VIP will also be retained. We have already paid money to Keynote Speakers, and deposits to the hotel that they are holding, and we will not be receiving any refunds. The funds raised by ticket sales, paid for these expenses that are due in advance. We do not get these funds back from any of the entities and are working with all of them to figure out how we can best work together. The hotel has shared that anyone who booked a room will be refunded with no penalty. If you have any concerns about this, please email me privately at Jennie@iahsp.com.
The Advanced Stager Training Session will be held for those 6+ figure business owners in a workshop setting and will be done virtually or possibly live in a destination location. If it is live, the dates will not be end of September so we are confident in-person gatherings can take place, and attendees feel comfortable traveling.
Once we have all the details confirmed we will share the plans with you. We are working on the 2021 IAHSP® Conference and EXPO details and will share dates with all of you once agreements are signed.
Until then, know that I am greatly disappointed to share this news with all of you. Our entire team is disappointed and yet in agreement to postpone any large live events for when it is truly safe to do so. My hope was to be able to see all those who planned on attending our event in Denver and give hugs, laugh, and learn together.
Until that day comes, know that we are here for you and we are all in this together as a big global home staging family. Let us know how we can best support you as we navigate these unique times.
If you have any questions or thoughts, please email me directly at Jennie@iahsp.com.
All my best,
Jennie Norris, IAHSP® International Chairwoman