Alexandria, VA, Apr. 1--Coverings announced that the total number of registered attendees for the 2004 show recently held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, was 29,453. That figure represents an increase of ten percent over registered attendee figures reported by the show management company representing Coverings in 2003.
“We are extremely excited about the turnout and feedback we’ve received,” says Tamara Christian, Coverings’ show director and president, National Trade Productions (NTP). “From move in to move out, Coverings was a success not only in terms of logistics, but importantly, energy, excitement for tile and stone, and opportunities for attendees to do business.”
Attendees and exhibitors alike shared this enthusiasm. According to Allie Hall, of Allie Hall Tile, New Bedford, MA, “Coverings continues to provide the best opportunity to meet people and customers specific to your trade. The show is very diverse with all of the industry segments represented. Coverings is the place to gain exposure for your business. There is not another show around that offers such a rewarding opportunity.”
Stephanie Pierce of Caribe International, of Phoenix, Arizona, echoed that sentiment. “Coverings is the place to be for stone and tile; it out performs all other competing shows. If you want to expand your business, you cannot afford to miss Coverings.
“Business is up and attendees are interested to see and learn what is new in the tile and stone industry. This was not always the case in previous years,” adds Pierce.
Coverings’ primary audience includes distributors, retailers, fabricators, architects, designers, builders/remodelers, and installers.
Coverings attracted some new, high profile participants in 2004. Steve Forbes, president and chief executive officer of Forbes, Inc., and editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, had the general session area filled to capacity for his keynote speech, in which he touched upon the economy, the Presidential election and other current events of interest to the tile and stone industry, as well as the general public. In addition, HGTV’s Michael Payne gave a standing-room-only session on “Designing for the Sexes,” while famed architect William McDonough gave a talk on “Redesigning Real Estate: Building for Sustainable Prosperity.”
The revamped educational program was met with great enthusiasm by attendees. The newer offerings included conferences and workshops directly targeted to attendees’ interests. Larry Bogart, of On Glaze Tile notes, “Being an installer, the seminars have been well worth the trip. I have learned a tremendous amount. Coverings has definitely been a rewarding experience.”
Appreciation Nights also were new in 2004. These special hospitality events shuttled groups of contractors, distributors, architects, designers, and dealers off site to Universal City Walk for private parties celebrating their participation in Coverings. The events won rave reviews from all who participated and plan to be expanded upon next year.