AAHOA, Hunter, others postpone or cancel conferences

A man raises his hand at a conference.
Several industry events, including the 2020 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show and Hunter Hotel Investment Conference, have been postponed to later this year. Photo credit: Getty / E+ / skynesher

AAHOA, Hunter Hotel Advisors and others have decided to postpone their annual conferences as the COVID-19 outbreak grows.

AAHOA rescheduled its 2020 convention and trade show for Aug. 9-12. The event will still be held in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. It was originally scheduled for April 13-16.

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“AAHOA is committed to bringing America’s hoteliers, our partners and the hospitality industry the best possible convention and trade show,” AAHOA President/CEO Cecil Staton said in a statement. “The travel and tourism industry is facing uncertain times as the public’s perception of the risks posed by COVID-19 become the reality for America’s hoteliers. Our members are reporting that occupancy, [revenue per available room], and [average daily rate] are in distress. Hoteliers need this time to tend to their businesses as the travel and tourism industry adjusts to this new reality.”

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On March 12, Hunter Hotel Advisors announced its annual investment conference would be postponed. It was set to take place next week in Atlanta. The group has not announced new dates, but said it is currently working on  it.

“After the unprecedented events of the last 24 hours, and with an overabundance of caution for everyone involved, we have made the difficult decision to postpone/reschedule the Hunter Conference,” read an email announcing the postponement. “We know at times like this it is important to meet and discuss current issues, but given the circumstances it doesn’t seem appropriate.”

Also on Thursday, Cobblestone Hotels revealed it would be cancelling its 2020 conference, which was planned for March 22-23 in Orlando.

“Since our last correspondence earlier today, more developments have been made, including the closure of Walt Disney World theme parks,” Brian Wogernese, president/CEO of Cobblestone Hotels, said in a statement. “Your safety and health is of the utmost importance to us, thus, cancelling the event.” Wogernese continued, “We had a lot of exciting things to share at the conference and will be getting more information out to you with those updates in the next couple of weeks. We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to seeing you at the 2021 Conference.”

Earlier this week, IMEX Group cancelled its meeting and events conference IMEX Frankfurt. The event was due to take place May 12 to 14.

Last month, Questex, Hotel Management’s parent company, made the decision to postpone the International Hospitality Investment Forum in Berlin, originally scheduled for March 2-4, to May 4-6.

“This was a very difficult decision as many in the community were asking us to proceed with the show. Ultimately there is no greater importance than the health and safety of our community members and that will always be the guiding principle that drives our business,” said Paul Miller, CEO of Questex.

Also late last month, the travel trade show ITB Berlin cancelled its 2020 conference, citing the rapid spread of COVID-19. It was scheduled to take place from March 4-8.

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