IN RESPONSE TO Florida’s new COVID-19 pandemic regulations, AAHOA’s 2020 Convention & Trade Show will be virtual instead of in-person. It is the most recent cancellation or format change for a major hospitality conference caused by the outbreak this summer.
AAHOA announced the format change on Tuesday after the Florida Department of Health announced its new guidelines on June 20. The convention, which had already been rescheduled from April to August as a result of the pandemic, was to be held in Orlando, Florida.
“We’ve remained optimistic that the convention could go on as planned in August. Unfortunately, the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases in Florida led the state’s public health officials to recommend more stringent measures to mitigate virus transmission, including new guidelines that limit the size of public gatherings,” said Cecil Staton, AAHOA’s president and CEO.
Details are pending on the virtual presentations of keynote presentations, panels, leadership speeches and the election of the association’s board of directors and secretary. Biran Patel assumed the chairmanship last week, succeeding Jagruti Panwala.
“While I will miss seeing our members and our industry and vendor partners, I am confident that AAHOA made the safest and most responsible decision for our association and for our members,” Patel said. “Our members and vendor partners showed overwhelming enthusiasm for this year’s convention with thousands prepared to join us in Orlando. It is unfortunate that we cannot be together, but I am confident that AAHOA will deliver much of the value and excitement of our convention to our members through the virtual channels that we’ve all become more familiar with over the past few months.
Patel said the association and he hope next year’s convention in Dallas will be face-to-face.
Last week, STR announced that its Hotel Data Conference would be held in Nashville, Tennessee, on Aug. 13, but in a very limited capacity for in-person elements. Most of the convention will be available online while the number of physical attendees at the JW Marriott Nashville will be limited to 150 people.