Texas Home Builders Assn. Cancels Sunbelt Builders Show Due To COVID Threat

AUSTIN – (Realty News Report) – Texas Association of Builders announced Monday that it has canceled its annual Sunbelt Builders Show which has been slated for July 14-17 at the Gaylord Texan hotel in Grapevine, near Dallas.

A long-time fixture in the Texas home builders agenda, the trade show typically draws more than 2,000 builders and industry personnel.

The cancellation comes as COVID-19 has spread rapidly in Texas in recent days. The home builders organization said the organization’s senior leadership made the decision due to “recent spikes in positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the state of Texas,”

“This has been an extremely difficult decision for us to make but a necessary one,” said TAB President Randy Bowling. “We understand that this affects hundreds of exhibitors and builders, and for some will create financial hardship. However, our top priority remains the health and well-being of everyone and this is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Less than a month ago, the builders association touted the event with aggressive marketing.

“TEXAS IS OPEN AND THE SHOW IS A GO!” – the builders announced in a digital blast on June 9. But the recent Covid surge snuffed out builder optimism.

The builders’ trade show venue was scheduled to be the 1,815-room Gaylord Texan hotel, which reopened on June 8 after being shut down to all guests since March.

Last week, the operator of the Gaylord Texan hotel, Ryman Hospitalities Properties, released a positive report about the North Texas Gaylord’s reopening performance.

“Over its first 15 days of operations since re-opening, the Gaylord Texan generated an average occupancy of approximately 20 percent, with an average daily rate of approximately $190,” said Ryman Hospitality CEO Colin Reed. “The Gaylord Texan’s initial weekend occupancy level was approximately 40 percent. While leisure transient occupancy generated over 95 percent of room demand in the first 15 days of Gaylord Texan’s re-opening, small group meetings also accounted for approximately 300 of those room nights.  We are also encouraged by the level of bookings for the summer period across all four of our re-opened hotels. At this time, we have not made a determination about the re-opening date for Gaylord National (near Washington DC), given the current uncertainty regarding group demand and this hotel’s primary focus as a convention hotel without a resort pool complex or other transient-focused amenities.”

The Gaylord Texan was one of 5,000 hotels around the nation that closed down during the pandemic, according to STR, and about half of them have reopened so far. Thousands of hotel rooms remain shuttered and occupancy rates reached record lows during the pandemic.

Gaylord employees are expected to wear masks, hospital-grade disinfectant sprayers are being used, and hundreds of signs are displayed throughout the hotel to remind guests to keep a 6-foot distancing.

The Gaylord hotels, part of the Marriott organization, are massive self-contained environments – part hotel, part convention center with expansive atriums, restaurants, and resort-style swimming and rec facilities.

Next year, the Texas builders said Monday, the Sunbelt Builders Show will be held in another North Texas hotel.

“The Sunbelt committee will now turn their attention to the 2021 Show on July 13-16 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas,” the association said in a press release.

Earlier this month, Debbie Davis, director of communications and marketing for the Texas Builders, said  Sunbelt Show registrations were running about 35 percent behind normal, About 80 to 90 percent of the attendees are Texans who drive to the conference to see new building products or tools, and hear sessions on solar power, design trends and avoiding construction defects, etc.

Another Austin-based trade association, the Texas Realtors, recently announced its annual conference would become a virtual online-only event later this year.

June 29, 2020 Realty News  Report Copyright 2020


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