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UPDATE: PFRE Conference Venue

Published: 05/02/2019
By: Brandon

At the end of last year, we posted a few polls to gauge the level of interest readers have in attending a live PFRE conference. The feedback was excellent, and we believe the demand is there to create an event where industry members can gather to network, learn, and have a great time. Since that post, we have been hard at work lining up a great list of speakers and vendors. The main thing left to do is settle on a venue.

The poll we took in December had Chicago as the clear favorite so we explored our options and identified a few great venues. Knowing that most real estate photographers are busiest in the spring and early fall, we were leaning toward a mid to late November conference in Chicago. We were very close to finalizing our decision but the recent cold snap Chicago is experiencing has me questioning whether or not it is the best location for a mid to late November event.

So here's a question for the community:

[polldaddy poll=10230987]

Please feel free to make suggestions in the comments below. The more feedback we can get, the better!

Thanks in advance for your input.




29 comments on “UPDATE: PFRE Conference Venue”

  1. Worked in Chicago one November...froze my equipment....
    Las Vegas is cold during November, but that means better rates/deals and so much more to do. The flights to Las Vegas from anywhere in the country are cheaper than anywhere else.

  2. So, the latest cold snap issues in Chicago are happening during late January - early February. But you suggested October - November. Perfect timing. But readers are polling for something warmer. I suggest the Palm Springs, CA area - much better than Chicago (my home town) during October - November! October, 2018, we had 26 days of "Clear" or Mostly Sunny" and actual rain on only 2 days, totalling 0.91" ( November had 29 out of 30 days that were "Clear" or "Mostly Sunny" with 1 day (November 29) with 0.05" of rain ( "Season" doesn't start until January 15th. October - November...PERFECT!

    That's why so many snow birds from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Northern California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and even London migrate here for the winter - based upon the seasonal clients my wife has helped over the last 13 years.

    Just sayin'!

  3. I'm sticking with my original suggestion of Las Vegas in the off-season. Lots of cheap rooms if there isn't a big convention in town which is easy to tell because room rates will double or triple during those times. Cheap flights. A long, but not too long drive for some. There is the added benefit of lots of other things to do for those that will have spouses or significant others in tow that aren't that into photography.

    Other big cities tend to be expensive both for rooms and conference space. If another area is considered, it should be in the middle of the country near a major hub airport but in a neighboring city. Seattle, Florida, Southern California and New York are convenient for some and a very long trip for the rest.

    I'm guessing that the bulk of the attendees would be from North America. I'd love to fly to Sydney and take the train to Perth, but it's not really in the budget. Europe is out too unless I do really well this year.

  4. I agree with Las Vegas as well. The nice thing about that destination is the fact that we'd have an easier time making it a couples get away. Thus increasing the prospect of spousal approval! ???? Also, as mentioned already, cheap flights from just about anywhere.

  5. After seeing Carl's comment, it got me thinking about a location I'm sure most have never heard of, St. George, Utah. It's only about an hour and a half north of Vegas on I-15 and it has the most amazing variety of homes I've seen any where. Also, some great restaurants and only an hour or so away from 2 of the most beautiful National Parks in the US, Zion and Bryce Canyon! Just a thought.

  6. Atlanta is centrally located, lots of flight and hotel options, and has comfortable temps that time of year. I agree that it would be nice to have the conference in a location that is central to all and not all the way on the east or west coast. (unless you alternate year to year to make travel fair for all)

  7. I live in Florida near West Palm Beach, however I am with others that suggest Vegas as the flights and rooms are very price competitive. As others have mentioned flights are pretty cheap from anywhere to Lost Wages 😉 That fact actually makes Las Vegas a central location.

  8. Please try to do it centrally located. Those of us out west get constantly screwed on these types of conferences. I'm talking to you, ImagingUSA.

  9. @Brandon, Ron is thinking along the lines of the workshops where a home is located and a herd of photographers try to make photos without getting in each other's shots. Do you have an outline about what sorts of things will happen? Depending on the number of participants, shooting homes might be hard to coordinate but there could be some workshops around the conference area that cover scenes that are a bear to work through (dark finishes, shiny stuff, etc). I envision more tracks that cover business, composition, gear (of course), selling, etc. Mostly everything to do with a PFRE business with a deemphasis on actual picture taking. I can think of a ton of PS stuff I'd like to learn since some online tutorials skip too much to make the techniques very valuable. 2 hours of tough sky replacement examples would be great.

  10. @Ken,

    The agenda is still being worked out but it will basically be a mix of speakers, vendors, and social/networking time.

    As of right now we have four amazing industry leaders tentatively booked to speak, with a few more on deck. I also have some great vendors lined up. Once we nail down a venue and make an official announcement I'll ramp up my efforts to add more vendors and speakers.

  11. @Brandon, Sounds ok to a point. I'm not that excited by "four amazing industry leaders" as I would be about a workshop on cold calling techniques and the best ways to get to speak to the top agents in the area. The networking and social aspects are huge and can be the best part of many conferences. Maybe there can be some semi-scheduled informal workshops to cover topics that are reasonably wanted, but less than the super majority that is good for formal ones "in the big room". It comes down to having a some space for everybody to sit and a projector to not show PowerPoint on.

    When you're ready, list some topics for talks and put up a poll. Gear talks from manufacturers about all of their neat new stuff isn't something that will motivate me to spend a chunk of money on attending. I'm much more interested in what can save me money and bring in more business. Buying gear is no sweat and we chatter about it all of the time online so I have a pretty good feel for what new stuff seems applicable for what's important to me. Don't get me wrong, I like having vendors at the show to talk about certain features and get answers about ways to leverage new features or even ones already present since it's easy to do that one on one with the gear in hand. The real treat is finding a company with a product or service I didn't even know that I needed until I saw what they were offering.

  12. Wow! Voting is now at 50/50.
    I'm in the St. Louis area. Chicago's nice destination but hoping for someplace I haven't been. If Vegas, a side trip to the Valley of Fire or Zion may be in the cards.

  13. @jason, A side trip to the Valley of Fire or Zion would be great. I bet a few people would be up for that. It's been ages since I've been to Zion and that was a quick trip with my friend's parents and some of his kids. The Valley of Fire has been on my list for ages, but it seems like every time I'm going to be in the area it's blistering hot and I just decide to wait until next time. I'm getting sick of houses all of the time and could use a nice photo trip with NO Houses.

  14. I vote Vegas as well as I do think the flights can be cheaper from almost anywhere in the US, also I think it would be awesome to do a little photo trip with out houses (we all see them everyday). Combining a little learning and a fun activity would be great.

  15. I would like to suggest the Orlando FL area, because I live near Sarasota, and Orland is close to many wonderful attractions, (the space center, and some gorgeous homes).

    Vegas sounds like a great place to travel to and I have been wanting to visit Zion and some of our beautiful national parks for so many years.

    I love our beautiful beaches, but FL is so flat, crawling with alligators and haven't seen mountains which I prefer to beaches.

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