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On the conference trail

Feb 13, 2018
It seems that, if movers really tried, they could spend almost all their working lives attending conferences around the world. This season, however, has been disrupted by changes to venues causing a knock-on effect. A volcano in Bali, unrest in Rio and hurricane Maria all conspired to throw the diary into disarray and create plenty of headaches for the organisers. It’s all sorted now though – we hope. Here, is a summary of the major ones.

IMC World - Dubai, UAE, 23-25 February

The first of the season and the seventh IMC conference. IMC pioneered the idea of scheduled one-to-one meetings which has proved to be very successful. The event was originally planned to take place in Bali but was changed when the volcano started threatening action. It’s an open event held at the very smart JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in this extraordinary city.

Latin American and Caribbean International Movers Association (LACMA) – Puerto Rico, 26 February-1 March

There is a slight overlap here - see IMC and IMA - but LACMA does have a very loyal following from its region. Despite the hurricane last year, the authorities in Puerto Rico are determined that the island is open for business. LACMA too is keen to do its bit to give something back to the community. It is promising that the event will be full of Caribbean flavour which, if past events are anything to go by, it will be. LACMA likes a party! It’s open to LAMCA members and will be held at Condado Vanderbilt Hotel.

International Mobility Alliance (IMA) – Bangkok, Thailand, 28 February–3 March

Immediately following IMC is the IMA conference in Bangkok. There should be time to catch a flight to transfer between the two. IMA is the brainchild of Patricia Jade Ooi. She’s taken the opportunity of starting something new using the principle of planned one-to-one meetings pioneered by IMC, with whom she previously worked. This is an open event to be held in the very classy Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park Hotel.

Overseas Moving Network International (OMNI) – Palm Beach, Florida, USA, 19-23 March

The OMNI conference is open to all OMNI members. The conference date usually links with FIDI to allow members to easily transit between the two. This year the venue has changed at relatively short notice from Buenos Aires because FIDI changed its venue from Rio making the transfer difficult. The Four Seasons Palm Beach will, however, be a fitting location for this exclusive event with direct flights available from Miami to San Diego.

FIDI Global Alliance – San Diego, California, USA, 25-28 March

Immediately following on from the OMNI conference, FIDI will be held at the rather special Hotel Del Coronado (The Del) on Coronado Island just off San Diego. FIDI originally planned to go to Rio de Janeiro but it was subsequently thought unwise. The replacement venue, Puerto Rico, was then struck by hurricane Maria. ‘The Del’ is a very unusual hotel and could turn out to be something extraordinary.

European Relocation Association (EuRA) – Dubrovnik, Croatia, 24-28 April

EuRA celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with its annual conference at the Sun Gardens Hotel in Dubrovnik, which should go down well with Game of Thrones fans. The EuRA conference is a bustling, high-energy event that includes education, presentation and networking in equal measure. Numbers this year are limited to 600 so don’t hang about if you want to go.

British Association of Removers (BAR) – Bournemouth, UK, 17-19 May

This is the home event for the UK moving industry, open to all BAR members both in the UK and overseas. As always, the conference will include a good mix of speakers, BAR business and social events. Two key speakers already announced will be Richard Burnett, Chief Executive RHA and Richard Turfitt, Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain. The venue is the Bournemouth Highcliffe Marriott.

EUROMOVERS – Prague, Czech Republic, 24-27 May

The EUROMOVERS conference is widely recognised as one of the friendliest events in the moving calendar. It usually gets fewer than 100 delegates which makes it a very intimate affair. It is open to all EUROMOVER members and to invited guests. The venue is the Grand Majestic Plaza Hotel in Prague old town. Prague is a beautiful city and well worth a look if you’ve not been before – or even if you have.

Pan American International Moving Association (PAIMA) – Washington, DC, USA, 2-4 October

The PAIMA Convention always takes place immediately before the IAM convention, in the same hotel. As with all smaller conventions it’s a very friendly, intimate meeting of friends, colleagues and prospective members. The venue is the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Centre at the National Harbor, Maryland on the banks of the Potomac River. If you are attending IAM it’s a great way of warming up for the onslaught to come. If you are not, it’s a delightful way to round off the conference calendar.

International Association of Movers (IAM) – Washington, DC, USA, 5-8 October

The main event of the year is always left until last. IAM attracts some 2,000+ IAM members from around the globe. Although there are interesting plenary meetings, the main focus is one-to-one meetings, corporate events and a massive exhibition that takes the whole of the three days to explore fully. Again, the venue is the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Centre at the National Harbor, Maryland which promises an extraordinary experience.

There are other events during the year of course, but anyone who gets around this lot is doing pretty well. The conference scene does often seem to attract the same companies and delegates from year to year without too many new arrivals. That said, first-timers are always made welcome and some organisations single them out for special treatment and enthusiastic applause. Nobody should be anxious about attending any of the above events for the first time.

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