Hotel & Restaurant Trade Expo set for March 3-4 in O.C. (copy)

While the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association traditionally holds an in-person expo each spring, the 2021 edition will be a virtual one, featuring the online EXPO Marketplace and live presentations on social media.

After hosting an annual tradeshow for 46 years, the Ocean City (Md.) Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association has rallied to produce their alternative to an in-person gathering. The HMRA has partnered with the OC Today newspaper to produce EXPO Marketplace, an online catalog featuring exhibitors, show specials, new products and relative content. Rather than cancel altogether, the association realized the importance of continuing to unite the hospitality industry.

“While I am super-disappointed that I will not be able to see all our loyal exhibitors and attendees in person, I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished Expo Marketplace as the support has been outstanding,” stated Expo Chair and OCHMRA Executive Director Susan Jones.

To maintain some sense of normalcy and consistency of dates, a Facebook Live event is slated for the day of the Expo, on March 8. Coined “Power Panels” the new Facebook Live event will feature industry leaders and influencers discussing relative topics.

The Lodging Power Panel will kick off at 10 a.m., featuring a state-of-the-industry address from the American Hotel & Lodging Association President Chip Rogers. He’ll be joined by the Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association represented by Ben Seidel, owner of Real Hospitality Group, and Delaware Hotel & Lodging Association Past Chair Vince DiFonzo of TKO Hospitality.

At 11 a.m., the event will shift focus to the restaurant industry and will feature Delaware Restaurant Association President Carrie Leishman and Maryland Restaurant Association President Marshall Weston. The sessions will be recorded and available on the Expo website.

The annual tradeshow has been a mainstay in Ocean City and has been bringing together hospitality buyers and sellers since 1974. Jones has been at the helm since 1995 and further stated, “This unique time has allowed us to innovate and still create a way to connect hospitality.”

Complete details can be found by visiting or calling (410) 289-6733.