Rochester Homearama Goes Biennial and Gets Big Numbers

Filed in Business Management by on August 18, 2016 1 Comment

The less-is-more concept can be applied to much more than just men’s cologne and women’s makeup.

Leaders and members of the Rochester Home Builders Association (RHBA) recently discovered that the notion of addition by subtraction is equally applicable to home shows.

For 34 consecutive years, the RHBA hosted Homearama, its annual home show. But that streak came to an end when the recession hit, prompting a three-year hiatus. When the show made its return in 2012, organizers made some notable changes to help it regain momentum.

The biennial Homearama in Rochester, N.Y., continues to draw in tens of thousands of consumers.

The biennial Homearama in Rochester, N.Y., continues to draw in tens of thousands of consumers.

The two biggest: less frequency, and not as long.

The RHBA doesn’t rely on Homearama as a revenue generator, so instead of every year, the show is now held every other year. And instead of 16 days, it now lasts just nine.

By scaling back, the RHBA has opened up more opportunities to improve and expand the show’s lineup. It has also managed to maintain healthy attendance numbers, averaging in the 20,000-25,000 range.

“[Homearama] has grown into so much more than just a showcase of homes and decorating trends,” said RHBA President Rick Herman. “We’ve successfully given it a more festival-like feel, filled with a wider variety of features and activities like wine tastings, live music and food trucks.”

Herman says there’s also a mini trade-show aspect, with the addition of large exhibit tents and smaller vendor tents where industry pros and the general public can learn about and experience new products and techniques.

The move to a biennial show allows for more prep time, but most of the typical hurdles still remain.

“It’s increasingly tough just to get builders to participate, not to mention the challenges in identifying the right location and organizing all of the promotion, sponsorship and staffing,” Herman said. “It requires a tremendous amount of time, resources and collaboration.”

Wine and beer tastings are recent additions to the festival-like Homearama.

Wine and beer tastings are recent additions to the festival-like Homearama.

That collaboration is more important now than ever, Herman notes, especially as social media dominates as the communication king.

Partnering with several local schools, churches and athletic clubs enabled the RHBA to leverage those organizations’ regional connections and social media channels to “create more hype” among consumers.

Promotion of this year’s Homearama started well before the homes were even completed. Midway through the build, the RHBA reached out to its network of realtors to invite them to a “Muddy Boots Day” where they got an early viewing of the homes.

A second such event was later held for the realtors’ clients interested in potentially buying one of the homes still under construction. One of the seven homes featured in this year’s Homearama was sold as a direct result of the Muddy Boots tours.

More tips and information about home show planning and logistics, including best practices used by other HBAs, can be found at nahb.org in the Parade of Homes Toolkit.

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  1. Parade of Homes, Idea Homes, Festival of Homes, Home-a-Ramas and Street of Dreams can add value to every community!
    Plan yours today!
    Learn from the Twin Cities, Kansas City, Denver and Rochester how to create the best event for your market!
    Results:
    Benefits the entire membership.
    More traffic.
    More sales.
    More closings.
    Helps retention and recruiting efforts too!
    ONwards and UPwards!

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