Real estate’s annual May pilgrimage begins in a couple of weeks. Its formal name is “REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo,” but I’ve never met anyone outside of NAR that doesn’t call it NAR Midyear. Even the url for the location on realtor.org labels it “midyear” (http://www.realtor.org/midyear.nsf).
For several days – this year May 11-16 – local associations as well as state and regional associations leadership descend on Washington D.C. It’s a time largely filled with policy meetings, committee confabs and a full-court press for face-to-face meetings with legislative reps.
Tucked in the middle of all this is a trade show that runs for just two days: Wednesday, May 13 and Thursday, May 14, from 10 am until 6 pm. This year more than 100 vendors will be vying for a few minutes of everyone’s time. After all, many have flown 1,000 miles or more, have invested thousands of dollars on their booths and travel expenses, all for just that 16-hour window.
The scope of the Midyear Trade Show is nowhere near the size of the exposition at the NAR Annual so it doesn’t always feature the biggest players nor their mega-exhibits. On the contrary, the vendor list is often comprised of the most ardent NAR supporters of all sizes, providers of “official” NAR this or that, and many also are in someway, connected to the MLS industry, which is ever-present at Midyear.
Yet every once in a while a new company, new business model or new technology use NAR Midyear for its coming out party. Sometimes these firms are exhibiting; sometimes they are just hosting a suite in a nearby hotel, or meeting with CEOs in the lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel because they are bootstrapping it.
Years ago, as the first Marketing Director for HomeGain, which at the time was a hot-new startup during Internet 1.0, the head of sales and I attended NAR Midyear with our pop-up HomeGain booth, tucked in the back of an annex that was added to accommodate last minute exhibitors like us.
We didn’t make a lot of sales, but we generated a buzz and introduced ourselves, in person, to a lot of industry ‘thought leaders and influencers’ (whom we called ‘movers and shakers’ back then).
This year, at Midyear, the WAV Group wants to know what should we be looking for? Is there a new business model, a hot new company worth spending more than a few minutes getting to know or a new technology that will become next year’s Matterport?
We are asking you. You may be an attendee, a self-interested exhibitor or a CEO of a new startup that has meetings set at NAR. Or you may not be attending at all, and want our eyes and ears to check something out for you.