The National Association of Realtors is considering moving its tech conference from September to January due to the coronavirus pandemic.
NAR’s Innovation, Opportunity and Investment (iOi) Summit is currently scheduled for Sept. 1 and 2 in Los Angeles. But this week NAR began sending out an eight-question survey to former iOi attendees asking how likely they are to attend an in-person event versus a virtual event and whether they would be willing to travel to Los Angeles in the last week of January to attend iOi.
Asked about the possible rescheduling, NAR spokesperson Quintin Simmons said via email, “No decision has been made at this time. NAR is investigating all options and collecting data; the health and safety of attendees is our priority.”
The survey also asks whether respondents plan to attend any conferences in early 2021, whether they plan to attend in person, virtually or a hybrid, the industry the respondent works in (real estate brokerage or real estate tech, for example), and the state or territory where the respondent does business. The survey, sent out Tuesday and Wednesday, closes on Thursday.
The 1.4 million-member trade group will use the survey results “[t]o provide data on making a decision on where and when to hold an in-person iOi Summit in light of COVID,” Simmons said.
NAR has not set a timeline for deciding whether iOi will be in person, virtual or a combination of both, he added.
There were more than 500 attendees at last year’s iOi Summit in Seattle. The event, inaugurated in 2018 in San Francisco, is best known for its “pitch battle,” where aspiring real estate tech startups vie for $15,000 in cash and the attention of venture capitalists and others who could help them make a splash in the industry.
NAR took its midyear conference, the Realtors Legislative Meetings, virtual for the first time in May due to the pandemic. At the end of the conference, NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said future events could be both in-person and virtual, even after the pandemic.
At the time, NAR also said it is still planning to hold its annual conference in New Orleans this fall, but the association said it is prepared to adapt to whatever circumstances come up in November and beyond. This is still the case, NAR told Inman Thursday.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with an additional comment from NAR.