The BIG e, HAR’s one-day member conference, just celebrated its third successful year.
Held at the Norris Conference Center in City Centre, the event seems to grow better each year. The 2013 program received overwhelmingly positive feedback from surveyed attendees.
More than 750 people were there, and with two registration areas – one inside the conference center and one outside near the movie theater entrance – the lines to get in moved briskly.
This year’s BIG e focus was on “Embracing the Consumer.” The sessions were divided into three sections, including hands-on technology, broker-centric issues and agent-focused topics. Five technology lab sessions were offered and we quickly learned by the overflowing room, that members were especially interested in the HAR tools, Evernote and Pinterest/Instagram technology sessions.
Broker-centric topics included a demographic and cultural overview of today’s Houston home buyer, that change is the result of innovation + consumers, and why brokerages should embrace the HAR-ETS program to maximize accountability and profitability.
The eight sessions in the Red Oak ballroom focused primarily on the agent. Topics included “The Future of Real Estate” with industry leaders from Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and Redfin discussing what they see as the next big thing in real estate. Getting four busy top executives together in one room at the same time was no small task. Thanks to HAR President and CEO Bob Hale for making that happen and for moderating their panel discussion. Ritz Carlton-trained Debbie Maier spoke next to the group about why and how to offer remarkable customer service every day. A panel of consumer experts shared data collected about today’s consumer. New this year was a noontime program on leasing rules for those that did not attend the VIP luncheon program. TAR Chairman Shad Bogany and President Travis Kessler talked about how agents can stay relevant in the real estate transaction. HAR Chair-elect Chaille Ralph, this year’s BIG e chair, assembled a panel of top customer service providers in the Houston area, including the general managers of the Houston Post Oak Motor Cars, i.e. our Bentley/Rolls Royce dealership, Hotel Granduca and Brennan’s and asked them to explain how their expertise can assist agents in their business.
The hands-down crowd favorite was Terry Watson. Terry spoke at both the VIP luncheon program about the YELP effect and on the big stage in the Red Oak ballroom later in the afternoon about top technology mistakes to avoid. People could really relate to what he was saying and loved his sense of humor. Hopefully he can join us next year again!
Other sessions focused on communicating clearly and how to achieve your business goals with Realist, a property data search engine that complements the HAR MLS system.
The Lounge was a hit with the members that visited, complete with glow light tables and countertops and cool leather lounge seating. Various HAR experts were present to answer member questions about Governmental Affairs, member training and classes, TREPAC, Commercial Gateway, the MLS and Quality Assurance component, technology, membership, and Supra.
After Jared James tied the day altogether and told us how to turn our great intentions from the day into action, numerous NRG members led a large group over to The Marque, the private auto club venue at CityCentre, to enjoy appetizers and beverages.
The entire event would not have been possible without our generous sponsors, HAR Chairman Danny Frank and the HAR executive committee members that introduced the sessions, the HAR BIG e advisory group that had the vision of what sessions to offer, the guidance of BIG e Chair Chaille Ralph and the dedicated HAR staff who all work very hard on this event each year, both beforehand and during the conference.
See you at the 2014 BIG e on Thursday, October 23. Mark your calendars now!