Texas Home Builders Say: The Sunbelt Builders Show Must Go On – July 14-17 in Grapevine, Texas; Even as COVID Count Climbs in the Lone Star State

AUSTIN – (Realty News Report) – The Show must go on, Texas home builders say.

Texas Association of Builders has announced its  annual Sunbelt Builders Show will be held, as long planned, on July 14-17 at the Gaylord Texan hotel in Grapevine, near Dallas.

“TEXAS IS OPEN AND THE SHOW IS A GO!” – the builders announced in a digital blast.

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases is climbing steadily in Texas as Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to relax restrictions on business openings and gatherings unfolds. Statewide coronavirus hospitalizations hit a record high over the weekend, officials said.

Last year, the Sunbelt Builders Show attracted 2,350 attendees from 36 states. Attendance may not be as strong this year, but the event’s organizers say they are prepared to maintain safety standards.

“Yes, we are taking the health and safety of our exhibitors, attendees and members very seriously,” said Debbie Davis, director of communications and marketing at the Texas Association of Builders headquarters in Austin. “We are implementing cleanliness, social distancing and health protocols outlined by state and federal authorities. Our industry has been working within these required guidelines for several months now and have become accustomed to these tight restrictions: face masks, washing stations and social distancing.”

The 1,815-room Gaylord Texan hotel just reopened last week after being shut down to all guests since March. The Gaylord Texan is not alone. Some 5,000 hotels around the nation 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 have been at record lows during the pandemic. Group business, of course, has been non-existent.

Moving ahead, Gaylord employees are expected to wear masks, hospital-grade disinfectant sprayers are being used, and 200 signs are displayed throughout the North Texas hotel to remind guests to keep a 6-foot distancing, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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.

Sunbelt Show registrations are running about 35 percent behind normal, Davis says, but she expects a surge this week as the early bird deadline approaches. 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.

Across the country, a lot of associations and groups are cancelling their annual conferences or just presenting them online only.

The Sunbelt Builders Show is an early outlier, with other trade shows and industry conferences expected to convene later this year.

Asked if the builders association ever considered cancelling the conference, Davis said: “Since March our leadership has closely monitored the federal and state health and safety recommendations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Once  Governor Greg Abbott announced his comprehensive plan to Open Texas, our leadership felt comfortable in moving forward with a live Sunbelt Builders Show. Show management has utilized “The Governor’s Report to Open Texas” for guidance during these unprecedented times to return to business.”

The Texas builders show is not the only sign of life in the convention business.

The National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) has its 54th annual conference scheduled for Sept. 23-26 in Miami. The event attracts journalists and industry experts from around the nation.

And the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and France Media, publisher of Student Housing Business and parent company of the InterFace Conference Group, announced plans to combine their individual student housing events to hold a joint student housing conference in Miami Beach on October 6-8.

June 15, 2020 Realty News Report Copyright 2020

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