Tom, Justin and I headed to Las Vegas last week to take part in IBS 2019. No, we don’t have any “Hangover” stories to share. But the takeaways from our 4 days are immense. We condensed our thoughts and reactions into a quick reflection.
The media has a tendency to pick on the home building industry with doom-and-gloom headlines. Well, I’m relieved to say that mentality was nowhere to be found at the show. Builders, consultants, and vendors alike were not only optimistic, but determined to take on 2019 with a vigor I haven’t seen in some time.
Thirst for Knowledge
The educational sessions were packed with folks eager to learn. First session (after opening ceremonies) was completely full, and some had to be turned away at the door. Staff did a great job of filling all the empty seats. The audience remained engaged and intent on crafting a strategy for the year.
Fast forward to the last day at 8 am. Would anyone show up after three nights in Vegas? Turns out – yes! It was a sold-out Master Session, and everyone showed up early – except the only guy with the key to the door… We started a few minutes late so everyone could file in. Sometimes you just have to roll with it.
One of the main focuses during the pre-convention committee meetings was making housing more affordable. Discussion began with land availability, regulations, square footage and product selection, all ideas were being considered and discussed.
The Nationals Gala was a dream! This was my first time attending and I was so caught up in the moment, I almost botched my acceptance speech and had to be reminded to say my name and company. Nice, Deryl...
Oh right, did I mention that Housing Design Matters won Gold for the NEXTadventure Home? Congratulations to everyone involved! One builder finalist concluded they needed to up their game so they could come back next year. With that kind of attitude, I have no doubt they’ll make it happen!
The Las Vegas housing market is very different than the Southeast, so it's always a treat to tour their houses. We braved the cold and saw two ends of the 55+ spectrum – attainable in Pahrump Nevada and high-end – decked out in Summerlin. The floorplans were surprisingly similar, but the finishes were night and day. And talk about outdoor living. Wow – pool, tiki bars, fountains, fireplaces, fire pits, etc. In true Vegas style, they held nothing back and the finished product made a stunning impression.
Walking around from one end of the show to the other (repeatedly), then back to our hotel everyday takes a toll on you. Those with fit bits boasted their daily steps taken, followed with how their feet hurt or they had blisters. After expending all of my energy at the show, I found myself regretting taking the midnight flight out on Thursday – I guess I underestimated how crazy the 3 days would be at IBS. Staying up until midnight Pacific Time was, in a word, agonizing. Naturally, the flight was an hour and a half late to board. My weekend home was mainly spent recovering.
Then again, at least I didn’t have Tom’s story. After Southwest cancelled multiple flights (including his), thousands of travelers scrambled to fill any remaining seats on already sold-out flights out of town. So instead of flying out Thursday afternoon, he took the long way home late on Friday. And I do mean the long way. Tom’s nation-wide tour went from Las Vegas to San Francisco to Newark to Tampa. Ouch. But all’s well that ends well. Tom did make it home – two days later than expected.
All in all, it was an incredible show to build momentum for the year. But needless to say, Jacksonville and Tampa offices of Housing Design Matters can’t wait until IBS returns to Florida in 2021!