AWCI Convention Update

Our thoughts are with those on the Gulf Coast who have been impacted by the hurricane, and we are hoping for the safety of all those affected.

We are currently monitoring reports on the ground and working closely with our vendors and partners. The situation is still unfolding, and we will have more information about AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo in the coming days.

Recent Updates

September 3, 2021

Letter from AWCI’s CEO, Mike Stark, Regarding AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo 21

On behalf of the AWCI Board of Directors, I regretfully inform you that AWCI's Convention & INTEX Expo 21, scheduled for October 17-20, 2021 in New Orleans, is cancelled due to concerns related to COVID-19 and Hurricane Ida.

This was not an easy decision. However, the Board and I are obligated to do what is in the best interests of the association and its members, guests and staff. COVID-19 and the Delta variant are still serious concerns, with the United States considered Level 4 (high risk) by the CDC. The City of New Orleans has strict mask and proof of vaccination mandates in place for most venues. Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana as a Category 4 storm, having a substantial impact throughout the state and resulting in massive damage to the electrical grid. Concerns about appropriate levels of staffing in hotels, restaurants and other venues are only exacerbated due to both COVID-19 and the hurricane.

With all of these factors, and the substantial increase in exhibitor cancellations within the past week, it has become clear that it is not possible for AWCI to hold—and for New Orleans to deliver—the first-class convention and trade show experience that we demand and our attendees deserve.

AWCI staff and I will be working on presenting some of the content planned for New Orleans in a different format and turn our attention toward AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo 22, April 2-7, 2022 at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.

For AWCI attendees, registration fees that have been paid will be refunded back to the original form of payment within ninety (90) days.

All attendees should immediately review the following guidance:

  1. Cancel your hotel room at Hilton New Orleans Riverside within 72 hours prior to your arrival date to receive a refund of your room deposit. To do so, call 855.760.0870. If your room was booked through aRes Travel, call 800.632.1686. If your room was booked through CISCA, please contact Shirley Wodynski at shirley.wodynski@cisca.org.
  2. Call your airline. Most airlines are waiving change fees and allowing you to either rebook your ticket for a future flight or providing a voucher for the full amount of the ticket for a future booking.

A special thank you to our exhibitors, who have partnered with AWCI in an attempt to make this event a success this year, first in April and again in October. Unfortunately it was not meant to be, but we will all work together again to make AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo in April 2022 one of the best events AWCI has ever held.

All exhibitor and sponsor fees will be moved to the April 2022 INTEX Expo. More information will be shared in the near future. Any questions may be directed to Samantha Riemer at riemer@awci.org.

Any non-exhibitor questions may be directed to Karen Bilak at bilak@awci.org.

As always, thank you for your patience, understanding and support of AWCI and the Convention and INTEX Expo.

Sincerely,

Michael F. Stark, CAE

AWCI CEO

August 31, 2021

We have all been watching the news of Hurricane Ida over the last several days. Its impact on New Orleans and Louisiana as a whole has been substantial. One of the greatest impacts has been to the electrical grid in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana, with nearly half of the state’s residents without power.

With AWCI's Convention and INTEX Expo scheduled to be in New Orleans in about six weeks, I wanted to give you a real-time status update on the event.

Over the past two weeks, we have had eight exhibitors cancel due to COVID-19 concerns. Their fees were moved to the 2022 INTEX Expo. Two companies have downsized their booths, while two other companies have signed up as new exhibitors.

As far as convention registrations are concerned, we currently have nearly 160 total registrants. This does not include any exhibitor registrations. That number goes up each time we market, and get closer to, the event. To date, we have had only three contractors and their spouses cancel due to COVID-19 concerns.

AWCI staff and I are actively reaching out to contacts on the ground in New Orleans to get a full assessment of the situation. The greatest question is, when will power be restored throughout the greater New Orleans area? As of now, that answer appears to be in weeks, not days. The Convention Center sustained water intrusion and light roof damage, and we have a call with them scheduled for next Tuesday as they need time to complete a full assessment of their facility. We are attempting to reach our contacts at the Hilton Riverside New Orleans to determine their status.

We will share another update by the end of this week. We have one of two choices: stay the course with the planning of this event in six weeks, or cancel it outright. We are unable to postpone it further, as AWCI’s next Convention and INTEX Expo is set for April 2022.

Convention registration questions should be directed to Karen Bilak at 703.538.1609. INTEX Expo questions should be directed to Samantha Riemer at 703.538.1610.

Our thoughts continue to be with those impacted by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Thank you for your patience as we gather information, assess the situation and make a sound decision.