UPDATED: 2020 Industry Conferences Postpone, Cancel, and Go Virtual

conferences coronavirus

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and recommendations from public health officials, several industry conferences have announced cancellations or rescheduled dates.

The list below was last updated on November 10, 2020. 

AAHOA Convention & Trade Show

See LODGING‘s conference coverage of the 2020 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show, which took place virtually from August 11-13, 2020, here.

On June 23, AAHOA announced that its 2020 Convention & Trade Show scheduled to take place August 9-12, 2020, in Orlando, Fla., would not proceed in person due to new health and safety guidelines for combatting COVID-19 issued by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) on June 20. Parts of the convention would move to a virtual space, including industry keynotes and panels, speeches by AAHOA leadership, and secure, online elections for AAHOA’s Board of Directors and Secretary.


The 2020 AAHOA Convention & Trade Show was originally slated to take place from April 13-16, 2020, in Orlando, Fla., but was postponed to August 2020 in March due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Northstar Travel Group and The BHN Group announced on August 25 that the 20th edition of ALIS—originally scheduled for January 25-27, 2021—will be held April 19-21, 2021 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. In lieu of hosting an in-person ALIS in January, The BHN Group will host a live, online event called ALIS Winter Update on Monday, January 25, 2021.

On July 8, ALIS Summer Update announced that its planned in-person events in New York, Nashville, and Dallas would take place as virtual programs. Next year’s ALIS Summer Update series schedule is as follows: July 12, 2021, at TWA Hotel in New York; July 15, 2021, at Margaritaville Nashville; July 19, 2021, at Virgin Hotels Dallas; and July 22, 2021, at Fairmont Century Plaza in California.

Architectural Digest Design Show

The Architectural Digest Design Show—originally slated for March 19–22 and later postponed to June 25–28 at Pier 94 in New York—has been canceled.

Best Western Convention

The 2020 Best Western Virtual Convention took place virtually from October 27-29, 2020. See LODGING‘s conference coverage here

Boutique Hotel Investment Conference

See LODGING‘s conference coverage of the Boutique Lifestyle Digital Summit, which took place virtually on September 17, here.

The Boutique Lifestyle and Leaders Association (BLLA) announced on September 3 that the keynote speaker for the Boutique Lifestyle Digital Summit on September 17 would be Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, who would be interviewed by Melinda Stevens, editor-in-chief of Condé Nast Traveler, about mental wellness with a focus on boutique hotel employees. Additional speakers would include Ian Schrager, founder of Ian Schrager Company, Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, and Jacques Olivier Chauvin, CEO of Fauchon Hospitality.  

On June 30, BLLA announced that the Art of Boutique Leadership and the Boutique Hotel Investment Conference would take place virtually as the Boutique Lifestyle Digital Summit on September 17 and include 48 hours of on-demand content focused on leadership and investment. Confirmed speakers included Jeff Klein, founder of JK Hotel Group; Nicole Robinson, chief marketing officer or andBeyond; Omar Palacios, chief operating officer of Geolo Capital; David Rochefort, president of Graduate Hotels; Jonathan Minkoff, co-founder and CFO of ASH NYC; and Meryanne Loum-Martin, director and owner of Jnane Tamsna. An event app facilitated private messages with attendees, a virtual trade show, competitions, and “Zoom dates.” Attendees with U.S. addresses still received welcome bags.

Digital Signage Expo

On July 16, the Digital Signage Expo—originally slated to take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center from March 31 to April 3 and then rescheduled to September 15-18, 2020—extended the show’s postponement to November 11-13, 2020, with access to the exhibit hall on November 12-13. Registration information will be retained “as is” for exhibit hall passes and conference selections.


Due to COVID-19, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) postponed its ForWard 2020 event—originally slated to run June 24-25—to May 11-12, 2021, at the Hilton Chicago, and announced the launch of complimentary virtual events for members and their networks.

HD Expo + Conference

On March 18, HD Expo + Conference officially canceled its 2020 event, which was scheduled for May 5-7 at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas. The next conference—originally scheduled to take place May 4-6, 2021—is now slated to take place August 24-25, 2021, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“This is due to recent developments regarding COVID-19 that include, but are not limited to, the declaration of a National State of Emergency by President Trump, the Nevada State of Emergency announced by Governor Steve Sisolak, the latest measures, including travel restrictions placed on foreign nationals traveling to the United States from certain EU member states and other places, the declaration by the WHO of COVID-19 as a pandemic, and the accelerating pace of confirmed cases worldwide and domestically,” the conference organizers—Stacy Shoemaker Rauen, editor in chief, Hospitality Design magazine and senior vice president, Emerald, and Kevin Gaffney, group show director and vice president, Emerald—wrote in a statement.

HFTP Annual Convention and HITEC

See LODGING‘s CYBER HITEC coverage here

On July 27, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) shared additional details for its virtual CYBER HITEC, which consisted of three days of live programming starting on October 27. The content will remain available for on-demand access through November 25. Registrants will have access to an education program with more than 25 sessions, and speakers will be available to participants for Q&A. CYBER HITEC will also include virtual exhibit halls and exhibit booths, wherein companies can showcase their products through multi-media tools such as video, photos, and more. Company representatives will be available for one-on-one interaction. HFTP also announced virtual sponsorship opportunities for the event platform.

On July 13, HFTP announced that October’s “Best of HFTP” in-person events would pivot to the virtual CYBER HITEC taking place from October 27 through November 25, 2020. The in-person events, which included HITEC San Antonio, HFTP Annual Convention, and Club Forum, were scheduled for October 26-29, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. In response to the continued health safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the current pandemic, the HFTP Global Board of Directors decided to switch gears and concentrate efforts on a virtual program, making this decision ahead of time to allow participants, exhibitors, stakeholders, and co-located event organizers to plan accordingly.

The HFTP Annual Convention will also be held under the CYBER HITEC banner. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend education sessions for both events.

High Point Market

On July 20, the High Point Market Authority opened online registration for the Fall 2020 High Point Market, scheduled for October 13-21, and announced the debut of a microsite to outline safety measures for the Fall Market. The revised structure is part of the #HPMKTsafe initiative to allow for social distancing and expected reduced capacity requirements within buildings and showrooms. During the registration process, domestic buyers and industry guests will select their primary attendance period based on the designated region for the home state of their company’s headquarters.

The High Point Market Authority announced on May 21 plans to expand its Fall Market dates to span nine days in an effort to spread out attendance and account for expected reduced capacity requirements for showrooms and buildings.

On April 16, the High Point Market Authority announced the cancellation of the Spring 2020 High Point Market. Originally scheduled for April, the Market Authority previously announced on March 12 its plans to push the Spring Market to June.

Hotel Data Conference

The Hotel Data Conference, which had been planning a hybrid virtual and limited in-person event in Nashville on August 13, announced plans in July to shift to a fully virtual conference. The virtual event on August 13 included six hours of programming. A webinar series that ran between June 25 through August 7 led up to the conference.

HSMAI ROC Americas

HSMAI and its Revenue Optimization Advisory Board are developing a new interactive format to deliver the learning, networking, and best practices sharing that usually takes place face-to-face annually at ROC. This move is due to the ongoing volatility and uncertainty around live events, and the decision by HFTP to move its HITEC event, usually co-located with ROC, to a virtual format.

HTNG TechOvation Award 2020

On April 3, Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) announced that it had partnered with UgoVirtual to transform the annual TechOvation competition into an online, virtual event. Traditionally held as a live onsite presentation each year during HT-NEXT, the TechOvation Award recognizes and rewards new, innovative industry products and solutions serving the global hotel vertical market.

Hunter Hotel Investment Conference

Originally scheduled for March 18-20, 2020, organizers of the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference announced on April 9 the decision to cancel this year’s conference. Organizers initially announced that the conference was postponed on March 12. The next Hunter Hotel Investment Conference is slated to take place from March 9-11, 2021.

HX: The Hotel Experience

On July 22, HX: The Hotel Experience Powered by AAHOA, the longest-running trade show and conference for hospitality professionals, announced that this year’s show, which was scheduled for November 8-9, 2020 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, has been officially canceled. The next HX: The Hotel Experience Powered by AAHOA is scheduled for November 14-15, 2021 in New York City.

“We are disappointed that we are unable to bring everyone together this fall,” said Kevin Gaffney, HX group show director and Emerald vice president. “But we believe this was the right decision to make for the health and wellness of the hospitality community. We appreciate the loyal support of the exhibitors, attendees, and our partners.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the hotel industry, but we know we will rebound together and continue to thrive,” added Cecil P. Staton, AAHOA president and CEO. “We cannot thank the community enough for its support. We look forward to 2021.”

“Our partnership with Emerald for HX is one of our most important relationships and events of the year,” added Biran Patel, AAHOA chairman. “While we are disappointed not to gather in 2020, we look forward to the road to recovery, which runs through HX: The Hotel Experience Powered by AAHOA in 2021.”

IMN Distressed Hotel Virtual Forum

On July 15, IMN announced the launch of its Distressed Hotel Virtual Forum on September 15, 2020. The virtual event included multiple panel sessions, exhibits, networking/online chatting, and meeting rooms. Panel topics included hotel conversions, renovations, and redevelopment; financing distressed acquisitions; hotel valuation in a distressed cycle; a private equity roundtable; a developers roundtable; legal considerations for distress hotel acquisitions and loan workouts; and more.

INDIE Confab: Philadelphia / INDIE Cultivate

The Independent Lodging Congress announced on May 4 that it canceled INDIE Confab: Philadelphia, which had been scheduled for June 22-23, as well as INDIE Cultivate in July.

IPW 2020 and 2021

On September 30, 2020, the U.S. Travel Association announced that its annual trade show, IPW, will be a live, in-person event held in Las Vegas from September 18-22, 2021.

In a press release on April 15, the U.S. Travel Association issued a statement from its President and CEO Roger Dow announcing the cancellation of IPW 2020, scheduled to convene in Las Vegas on May 30. “When this health crisis is behind us, IPW will clearly be more vital than ever as a catalyst for activating inbound travel and re-growing commerce, exports, and jobs. As always, our top priority is to provide value to our partners, exhibitors, buyers and attending media. The standard for next year will be nothing less than putting on the event that our stakeholders will remember as a key turning point in the process of rebuilding the international inbound travel economy,” Dow said.

Lodging Conference 

This year’s Lodging Conference has been postponed. The conference was originally slated to take place at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix, Arizona, from September 21-24, 2020.

Meet the Money

Originally scheduled to take place May 4-6, 2020, Meet the Money 2020 has been canceled.

NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference

See LODGING‘s coverage of the NYU Hospitality Conference webinar series here

On August 26, the executive planning committee of the annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, announced that the on-site event planned for November 11-12 was canceled and replaced by a webinar series taking place from November 6-12, 2020.

In April, the committee announced its decision to reschedule the 2020 conference originally slated to take place from May 31-June 2, 2020. In place of the June event, the committee hosted a virtual version of the conference’s “CEOs Check In” panel on June 2, which was moderated by Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels & Co. and co-chairman of the Board of Loews Corporation, and included panelists David Kong, president and CEO, BWH Hotel Group; Keith Barr, CEO, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG); Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton; Arne M. Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International.

RLH Corporation Conference

See LODGING‘s conference coverage here

RLH Corporation’s annual conference took place virtually from October 13-14, 2020. Panels included updates from the company’s CEO John Russell, Chief Information Officer John Edwards, and Vice President of Global Sales Kaaren Hamilton, among others.

Southern Lodging Summit

Officials of the Southern Lodging Summit, an annual hotel conference focusing on development and operations throughout the southern United States, announced on July 31 plans to postpone this year’s physical gathering due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the organization pivoted to host a “virtual update.” Two of the conference’s most popular panels, “Visionary Viewpoints—Crisis Leadership” and “What Do the Numbers Show—A Six-Month Check-Up: Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Headed,” were pre-recorded and shared with all previous attendees and interested parties. The conference planned to maintain its annual online auction that is scheduled to run from August 10-28, 2020.

Wyndham 2021 Global Conference

On May 26, Wyndham announced plans to postpone its 2021 Global Conference to help relieve franchisees of event-related fees.


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    • Janet,

      From the HD Expo website as of March 10: “With the ongoing developments surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and its potential effects, it is HD Expo + Conference’s and Emerald’s top priority to keep our community safe and informed. With HD Expo + Conference 2020 two months away, we do not foresee any changes at this time. We are actively planning the upcoming show for May 5-7 in Las Vegas.”

      More information: https://hdexpo.com/press-release/keeping-you-informed-covid-19/

      Thanks for your comment.

      – Christine

    • Janet,

      This article has been updated to reflect that this year’s HD Expo + Conference has been canceled, as announced on March 18.

      Stay safe,

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