NARSA 2024 – New York City – Canceled
As you’ll know from the subject line, I’m writing to you with the very disappointing news that we’ve had to cancel our 2024 annual convention in New York City. Your NARSA Executive took the very difficult decision to cancel the event last Tuesday evening and we’ve been busy informing the key stakeholders since then. We’re now in a position to communicate the news more broadly.
As per our regular process, the NARSA membership votes for the convention destination at our AGM 2-years in advance – this occurred in Las Vegas 2022 with the unanimous vote in favour of taking the event to New York for 2024. For a number of months we have been working diligently with the destination property and various other stakeholder groups that we’d typically work with, and as we continued to analyze the logistics and expense of the destination, it became clear to us that there was a high risk of NARSA not being able to make our commitment thresholds (hotel rooms booked and food & beverage minimums), which would lead to us experiencing a significant financial loss on the event.
As you will likely remember, we conducted our recent survey where we shared logistical and costing information to allow our guests to give us information about their intent to attend or not – thanks again to everyone who responded. With this information we went back to the hotel for further negotiations and then started preliminary discussions with other venues to do something slightly different in terms of Thursday and Friday entertainment. The challenge we faced at all avenues was that NYC is simply a very expensive city, and from the information we gathered from all sources, it was going to be an event that would be unaffordable for many of our regular guests. This then places a significant financial risk on NARSA, and after the losses incurred from our 2023 convention in Toronto, it started to shape up like a ‘going out of business plan’, and that’s not something that anyone wants for NARSA.
We did consider alternative locations and properties and decided that if it wasn’t going to be in the heart of New York City, then it wasn’t the type or style of event that would be attractive or palatable for our guests, therefore the standard of experience would be diminished.
I’d like to place on record my sincere thanks to the following groups:
Big Apple Bears RSC for their hard work, support, and patience with us as we navigated this endeavour
The NARSA Executive for their unwavering support, dedication, honesty, and reality checking throughout the process
The staff of the Marriott Marquis Times Square for all of their flexibility, patience, candour, and camaraderie during our negotiations
The NARSA membership and our regular guests from across the globe for your patience as we tried to put this one together
On behalf of the NARSA Executive, I’d like to offer my deepest apologies to everyone who was looking forward to the event. To my knowledge, global pandemic aside, this is the first time we’ve had to cancel an event, and it’s certainly not something we want to experience in the future. We’ll convalesce for a wee while here, then turn our attentions to NARSA 2025 preparations.