Most Innovative Meetings 2017: #10 National Association of Realtors Conference & Expo

Attendees became roving reporters to educate members who couldn’t attend the conference.

By Mitra Sorrells October 31, 2017, 6:11 AM EDT

The Conference Live website includes articles, photos, and videos submitted by the 30 featured attendees as well as by association staff.

Photo: Courtesy of the National Association of Realtors

The National Association of Realtors has developed an effective strategy to show its members, numbering more than one million, what they are missing when they don’t attend the association’s annual Realtors Conference & Expo. Dubbed Conference Live, the web-based program showcases photos, videos, and commentary from a group of “featured attendees” about what they are experiencing at the event.

For the 2016 event, which took place in November at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, the association selected about 30 of the 18,000 attendees to submit at least three posts during the four-day conference.

“When a featured attendee submits a post, they receive a notification when it’s live on the website and we ask them to repost that on their social networks, which increases the traffic to the site and also their exposure and their perspective at the event,” said Allison Fitch-Markham, the association’s marketing director.

The association looks for diversity when selecting participants—which includes the type of real estate they practice, where they live, and how long they have been a member. Participants are not compensated but have their photo, bio, and posts shown on the site.

“We are always trying to engage our members in a different way,” said Matt Lombardi, the association’s senior vice president of marketing, alliances, and events. “Not everyone will qualify as a speaker at one of our sessions. So this gives an additional opportunity for visibility.”

The site goes live a couple of weeks before the conference and stays online for about a year as a repository of information about the event’s education sessions, exhibitors, and products.

Based on an analysis of IP addresses of those visiting the site, Fitch-Markham said most traffic comes from outside the state where the conference is held—indicating that the association is reaching members who are not in attendance. From November 1 to 30, 2016, the site had 21,000 visits from more than 15,000 unique visitors—and only 26 percent of that traffic came from within the state of Florida.

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