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No conference, no problem; CRE firm connects with clients in new way

Danny Rice 2019
Many brokers, landlords and others in Central Florida's real estate community were saddened when the biggest retail networking and dealmaking event of the year — the International Council of Shopping Centers' Las Vegas conference — was canceled. They posted photos to LinkedIn and other social networking sites reminiscing on the annual event.


These events are important as they help further deals or create new business for people in the commercial real estate community.


And that's why Colliers International Central Florida is eliminating uncertainty and taking matters into its own hands by launching its own "Colliers Connect" event next week. It's the latest commercial real estate conference to go digital in Central Florida after Retail Live also pursued a similar plan. 

Colliers International Central Florida Managing Director Danny Rice spoke with Orlando Business Journal about the two-day event, why the company is doing it and what it means to meet virtually.

What will Colliers Connect involve? On the first day, there will be sessions with panelists talking about industry issues. The next day, clients, owners, investors and landlords will be able to have digital meetings. Obviously we're having those conversations daily. But it's wrapping those talks into a focused event which is important. There's value on connecting and focusing on deals at a single event.

Why is it important to have this conference? The uniqueness of what we're experiencing isn't just about Florida or a specific retailer. Having conversations with multiple people, sharing best practices and getting the pulse on the industry is key. We go to ICSC Vegas to be able to get in front of clients to give context. And we want to have that type of a talk as we continue forward.

How important are in-person conferences for the retail real estate business? Our business is a people business. Staying in front of clients is extremely important, and it allows us to interact with clients in person like at dinners and events after sessions. It builds relationships. It's hard to directly say what percentage of revenue comes from that. But deals are started or pushed along because everyone's in dealmaking mode. Now we're all trying to figure out how to interact like that, and a lot of it is virtual for the time being.

Count there be another Colliers Connect? It depends on the response. We've thought about how to do it again, but the future for conferences isn't virtual. There's a heavy demand for in person. Still, this could be a compliment in the future. You can spin up a virtual webinar in a week or couple days, and you can get 300 to 1,000 people to join. The current conditions allow for that because we're at home. But once we start to get back in the office and travel picks up, the preference is going to be in person.

What's the future of retail? I think it's positive. The demand and desire of retail hasn't gone away. It's just gotten restricted by outside variables. At the end of the day, there are new opportunities. But it's going to take time to get back to normalcy.




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Danny Rice

Executive Managing Director, Market Leader - Central/West Florida


Danny joined Colliers in early 2018 as Managing Director/Market Leader for the Central Florida markets, which encompass the major metropolitan areas of Orlando, Tampa, Clearwater, Sarasota, Ft Myers and Naples. 

As the Managing Director and Market Leader, Danny manages the company’s Central Florida operations and business strategy. With a team of over 80+ brokers and client service brokerage coordinators as well as GIS, Research, Digital Marketing and Core Marketing personnel.  The team focuses on the leasing and sales of all property types, including Office, Medical, Industrial, Retail, Multifamily, Land, and Debt/Equity Mortgage Banking throughout the Central Florida market and specialty practice areas such as Student Housing, Seniors Housing, Marinas, Golf Courses, and Hotels/Hospitality, which are practiced nationally

With over 13 years of experience, Danny brings to Colliers a depth of knowledge with commercial real estate brokerage & technology, having started, worked for and/or coordinated with various tech companies across the country that are helping to accelerate the success of brokers and their clients.  His hands-on approach and knowledge of the brokerage business and intersection with technology ultimately allows Danny to share and deliver new ideas that benefits our clients.

In his role, Danny works directly with the other leaders on the executive team to develop and execute the overall corporate strategy for Colliers International in the Central Florida markets As Colliers and the Central Florida markets continue to expand, his focus is to develop, recruit and assist the top brokers in the markets and provide our clients with a high-level of service.

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