This week, Orlando is more than home to Disney World and tens of thousands of happy tourists across the globe: it also will house nearly 20,000 enthusiastic REALTORS®, other industry organizations (RESO Booth #609), MLSs executives and staff, lenders, title firms, closing agents, technology providers of every shape and size, and of course, the Scarf King.
Navigating through the maze of more than 400 exhibitors is challenging, but kudos for the NAR for making it highly accessible.
The Trade Expo kicks off on Friday afternoon with its Grand Opening at 3:00 pm, running to 6:00 pm. The official hours:
Friday, Nov. 4, 3:00pm–6:00pm (Grand Opening)
Saturday, Nov. 5, 9:00am–4:00pm
Sunday, Nov. 6, 10:00am–5:00pm
Monday, Nov. 7, 9:00am–1:00pm
If you are not planning to access the terrific sessions, seminars, workshops and NAR meetings, and you just want to spend your time checking out the latest and greatest at the Expo, the NAR has made it VERY affordable: Admission for all four days is just $50.
A link to a list of exhibitors and floor map is here.
If you wanted to attend just one hot session – my pick is always RISMedia’s “PowerBroker Forum” – you can do both for just $90 with advance registration.
Tip: The best time to tour is always Sunday and Monday, if you want to spend quality time and avoid the crowds. This is when the serious shoppers, information gatherers, walk the halls.
This is the 21st Annual Power Broker Forum by RISMedia, and their panel is always packed with some fresh faces whom are actually doing the business. I tend to get a few great takeaways, that often include a new recruiting tactic, current pain points, an innovative marketing strategy, or a business challenge with a unique solution.
This year’s panel is no different. John Featherston always plays host with a guest moderator, and this year, it is Rei Mesa, who heads Florida Real Estate Services and is President & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty.
Panelists are set to include: Craig Beggins, President/CEO, CENTURY 21 Beggins Enterprises(Tampa/St. Pete area, Florida); Robin Dickson, Executive Vice President, J. Rockcliff Realtors (East Bay, San Francisco); Marti Hampton, Broker/Owner, RE/MAX One Realty (Raleigh, NC); Matt Widdows, Founder & CEO, HomeSmart; and Charlie Young, President & CEO, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. The theme after Carpe Diem or “Seizing the Day, Winning the Future.”
Friday, November 4, 2016
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Orange County Convention Center West
Valencia Room W415A
Another hot spot for those technically challenged will be at Florida Realtors’ Tech Helpline desk that’s located at Form Simplicity Booth #753. Missing contacts from your iPhone with the new upgrade? They can help you out. I watched them in action at the Florida Realtors Convention and they turned a lot of frustrated faces into smiling ones.
There are other private, invitation-only events (big tech firms are hosting several), but don’t ask me how to get tickets, as I’m not always on the VIP lists (Victor and Marilyn are). But you can keep your ears open as most allow a guest (or two). And check social media because Facebook often tells all.
Automation and centralization should be the biggest buzz. Upstream, I’m certain, will be actively discussed and I’ll be interested to hear the buzz on Elm Street Technology, the recent rollup of Listingbook and a hot automation company out of New England, RLS2000 (re: automated blogging – everyone wants that, right? If it’s great content and customized, why not?). Neither are exhibiting, but the new buzz at NAR isn’t always found in the Exhibit Halls, but more likely in the hallways and hotel meeting suites where the real deals get done.
Several WAV Group clients are in the Upstream pilot (Imprev – which announced a new integration with ListHub today, VoicePad and we’ve provided consulting services to several of the MLSs), so watching this all come to fruition is personally exciting, as our own Victor Lund helped light the original match for all this (and Broker Public Portal, too).
The NAR Policy Committee meetings are the X-factor at NAR annuals. Big news or no news this year? Our own Marilyn Wilson will be in the thick of it on the MLS policy meetings side and will be amongst the first to be able to answer this question.
Speaking of MLSs, MLS technology firm FBS – at NAR Booth #257 — is FINALLY getting a lot of well-deserved (if not incredibly belated) attention for its Spark platform, the Web API created years before everyone else in their category started touting their new “innovations.” Last week’s RESO Conferencepanelists and speakers gave Flexmls leader Michael Wurzer steady praise for what his firm has done.
But the most recent example was the news today that AgentSquared is leveraging the power of the Spark platform to create “instant” IDX Websites. Full disclosure: WAV Group works with FBS and now AgentSquared, but when you see how fast a Flexmls agent can get a high-powered, mobile responsive and beautifully designed website, you’ll be impressed at the power of an API and what this really means for agents.
More great stuff
CoreLogic Real Estate Solutions (#1065) is rolling out the red carpet for NAR, as they do every year, hosting a “Real Estate Solutions User Group Meeting” on Thursday, Nov. 3, 3-5:00 pm, Palani Room, 2nd Floor of the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. They’re also hosting a by-invitation Client Appreciation Event on Saturday night and on Saturday afternoon, it’s “Trestle” time, with a Q&A Session slated for 10-11:00 am back at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, Zander room, 2nd Floor.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a “shoutout” to Greg Roberston, W&R Studios and makers of bothCloud CMA (Booth #1185) and Cloud MLX. Greg’s creativity at NAR Annual grabs my attention EVERY year, achieving what I will guess is the best ROI among all exhibitors. Plus, his blog posts on Vendor Alley are short, sweet and vital for industry insiders. Here’s his Halloween photo. Fun and funny guy – and wickedly sharp.
Note: If you see something you like at NAR Annual (#narannual is the hash tag – BTW), post a comment here or send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org.