Best Real Estate Events for 2024 (and who to avoid)
I've just come back from NAR Anaheim which is officially my last work event of 2023.
It was quite a good event for us (more on that below), and I got to spend a good amount of time with many of the vendors in this real estate space.
Of course, the subject of "the market" came up. It's down... for everyone... we all know it.
The conversation often turned to what is working (and what isn't) and naturally where we are going to find business in 2024.
I thought a lot about this on the way home (it is strategic planning and budget season after all) and as I wrote down my notes, I thought I'd share my perspective on 2024 events. Which ones we're most excited about and which ones we will not be sponsoring this year.
Here is my list: (And why)
My top picks for real estate events in 2024:
Luxury Real Estate: (Best overall!)
Coming in at #1 on my list of best real estate conferences to attend in 2024 is “Who’s Who In Luxury Real Estate” (aka LRE® aka Luxuryrealestate.com)
Here’s why I chose LRE as #1:
The entire staff at LRE® treats us like true partners. We have regular calls with their marketing teams and their president Meghan Barry. And these calls aren’t sales pitches, they are calling us to ask us how they can support us, and then even more critically, they act on the feedback.
We can always count on them for appropriate introductions to their members and we are often asked about our feedback on events (past and planned), how they can make it better, and how they can make the events the most productive for us as partners and sponsors.
LRE® also has a significant presence online and an impressive mailing list. Any time we have big news they are the first to offer to cover it.
Their events aren’t the biggest (it’s not a volume play), but here is the truly unique thing that doesn’t happen at any other event: Their members are truly informed and engaged!
Not just with the content or the fun activities (which several other events have in common with LRE®) they are engaged with the vendors/partners. They are engaged with each other sharing ideas and referrals. You get the feeling everyone is there to support each other and it seems to me that more people at LRE® are true friends, not just colleagues or peers.
I’ll be at all the LRE® events this year starting with the international symposium in Canne where I will be discussing the future of AI. Then the spring retreat in Palm Springs and finally their annual fall conference.
If you’re a Realtor / Broker you should consider becoming a member and attending these events and if you are a vendor I’d highly recommend you consider calling Meghan and the team to discuss an opportunity to sponsor. It’s worth it!
While LRE® is my number one choice overall it was a tough call between them and RISMedia. I’d have to say as a single event, RIS Media’s CEO Exchange in Washington is the highest caliber event in the entire industry.
The leaders and partners that John Featherston and their team bring together are unmatched in any event and the content is head and shoulders above the rest of the real estate conferences.
From a vendor/advertiser perspective, they are also the highest exposure / highest impact partner we have. We purchase monthly articles and a cover each year in Real Estate Magazine and I consistently get texts and emails from leaders in the industry mentioning they saw us on RIS. Worth it!
For brokers and vendors, getting involved in the Newsmakers and Powerbrokers programs is also of huge value. These lists are considered the most credible of all the awards/recognition programs in real estate.
And the team… I love our RISMedia team! They are super fun, engaging, supportive, and always available to us. John has built an organization that treats people like family. He treats his real estate colleagues and leader/peers the same way and I’m 1000% sure that is why RISMedia has maintained such a strong/loyal following for all of these years.
My advice: Reach out to Anne or Kara, listen to what they have to say, and commit. One thing about RIS-type advertising though (like any marketing) you can’t just buy 1 article, or 1 e-blast and change the course of your career. The key to advertising in magazines, newsletters, etc is being consistently visible over long periods.
NAR (National Association Of Realtors)
We just came back from NAR Anaheim and honestly, it was quite a good event for us. Sure traffic was down, but at NAR’s size, there was still a good flow of traffic for our team at the booth and I can say with certainty that we generated business from attending.
It’s also a great place to have meetings with existing clients, potential partners, and friends. You can always count on one or two vendors trying to outshine everyone with a great party or event (this year once again Homes.com blew it out of the water) and they tend to pick great cities like New Orleans, and Chicago, (I think next year is Boston).
NAR also tends to be quite affordable from a booth purchase perspective and there are generally quite cost-effective flight and hotel options. So as far as costs go, NAR is great value for the $.
On a side note: I have purchased some of NAR’s other advertising (on their blogs for instance) and that is quite expensive and doesn’t do great visibility-wise, so my recommendation is to stay away from the ancillary marketing and stick with the NAR events.
Event I do not recommend sponsoring:
This one is easy. Inman has invited Michael Ketchmark as a speaker on the main stage. You know, the guy who seems to be trying to destroy the real estate industry?
I don’t care what the pitch is or why. I can’t support an event that would put that piece of work on stage. (There was originally stronger language but I don’t want to get sued)
Ketchmark aside, in recent years Inman has been a frail shell of what it used to be. We gave them a shot in several areas (purchasing hugely expensive blast emails and tradeshow booths in 2022) and it was the biggest waste of advertising dollars on our P&L. We got nothing from it and compared to pre-COVID shows there wasn’t anyone there. There was little to no traffic to our booths except for other vendors (who came over to complain their booths were dead too) and the hugely expensive blast email was by far the worst-performing (and one of the most expensive) campaigns on our P & L.
In 2023 we attended but did not sponsor and I felt sorry for the vendors who had paid for booths as once again there seemed to be no traffic at all.
So for Inman 2024, we won’t be spending anything on advertising with them and certainly won’t be buying a ticket to ICNY if they are going to have Ketchmark on stage.
Hopefully, if they see enough posts and messages like this, and of course with the growing #cancelinman hashtag (which is combined with actual subscription or sponsorship cancellations) they will reconsider how they use their platform and recognize that it is the Realtors® (and the vendors/partners like REW) that have made Inman what it is and won't stand for putting Ketchmark on stage as a cheap excuse to gain controversy eyeballs.
That’s kind of it for main events in 2024 (at least for us).
There are not a lot of advertising dollars to go around in 2024 (at least not from us vendors), I hope these recommendations help you make your sponsorship decisions and I'd love to hear from you if you have a super high ROI event that I have not listed.