STAFDA’s 2018 Denver Convention & Trade Show is relocating to Phoenix, October 28 – 30, 2018.
On June 20, STAFDA found out another group was being booked over our dates. The City of Denver presented STAFDA with the optional dates of either the first week of October or Thanksgiving week. Neither were doable. Next year would have marked STAFDA’s third Convention & Trade Show in Denver. The City of Denver would not disclose who the ‘mega-client’ was who displaced STAFDA, other than to say it was ‘political’ and the Governor was involved.
Can a city ‘cancel’ an existing client’s confirmed and contracted convention? Yes, but it rarely happens, and not 1.5 years out from the actual meeting date. A three-year courtesy is the norm when a group is being displaced. STAFDA books five years in advance to ensure convention center availability to coincide with hotel availability. With STAFDA’s size and use of multiple hotels, a 1.5 year window to find another city with convention center and hotel availability was nearly an impossible task.
However, within 48 hours, the City of Phoenix pulled a rabbit out of the hat offering STAFDA Sunday, October 28 – Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Host hotels will be the Sheraton Phoenix, Renaissance Phoenix, Westin Phoenix, and two newly built hotels, the Hilton Garden Inn and Courtyard/Residence Inn. All are walking distance to the Convention Center.
STAFDA later learned the ‘mega-client’ who took its Denver dates is the Outdoor Retailer Show. They had met in Salt Lake City for 20 years but became openly vocal about Utah’s Republican leaders’ opposition to a new national monument, (the designation of Bears Ears National Monument), and their efforts to seize federal lands. The Utah Governor denounced their allegations. Show management said that by relocating to Denver they are flexing the industry’s collective power and support of public lands.
The Outdoor Retailer Show is a twice-yearly expo that’s expected to generate $45 million in annual direct spending to the City of Denver.