Gearing Up for the Shows: TISE & Domotex USA will set the industry on the right foot for 2020 - Dec 2019

By Jessica Chevalier and Beth Miller

Next month marks the beginning of the industry’s show season with The International Surface Event (TISE/Surfaces) in late January and Domotex USA just a little over a week later in early February. Though Domotex has had an international presence for decades, this is, of course, only the second year of exhibition for its U.S-based arm, which saw a successful launch in February 2019.

The duo of early-year shows provides manufacturers the chance to introduce their new products to two crowds in two separate markets-Las Vegas, Nevada for Surfaces and Atlanta, Georgia for Domotex USA. Atlanta is, of course, within arm’s reach of Dalton, Georgia, the central hub of the flooring industry, and the show does take advantage of this proximity via its pre-show plant tours. Ultimately, however, both cities offer great dining and entertainment, so attendees really can’t go wrong with either choice. Of course, TISE has been around longer and is larger than Domotex USA, with an estimated 800 exhibitors expected for 2020 compared to Domotex USA’s 300-ish, but the TISE number does include exhibitors from the conglomerate’s other two shows, StonExpo Marmomac and TileExpo, so it isn’t an apple to apple comparison.

SURFACES
The 31st edition of Surfaces will take place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, with its education program launching on January 27 and the expo starting on January 28.

This year, the show welcomes a new director, Dana Hicks. Hicks has worked with Informa Exhibitions, which owns TISE, for more than 17 years, serving in various roles.

Regarding attendance for 2020’s event, Hicks reports that registrations are pacing well ahead of the prior year, which saw attendees from 77 countries. TISE no longer releases specific attendance numbers.

A bit of good news for the upcoming TISE event is its overlap with the winter Las Vegas Market, which takes place January 26 to 30. The Las Vegas Market, located in the World Market Center, features furniture, home décor and gifts, and collaboration by the shows provides buyers with free and continuous shuttle service between the venues on January 28 and 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., as well as free access to both events. Attendees are required to register separately for each show. The shows schedules don’t always align-they didn’t last year-so this marks a good opportunity for attendees to see how trends in flooring translate into the furniture and home furnishings categories.

For the second year, Surfaces will implement its reformatted education curriculum, called Converge, streamlining courses along three tracks: Suits, for attendees with a business focus; Creatives, for architects and designers; and Hammer + Nails, for installers. Prior to the implementation of the new system, attendees were locked in a specific track. The TISE team believes that the new format better serves the current state of business. Converge was “reinvented to meet the needs and requests of the industry from years of feedback and insights provided by conference attendees and industry thought-leaders,” explains Hicks. “It was also an opportunity to ensure the program could cover the most hot-topic, industry news and jump ahead to stay current with marketing and business trends. We know modern times have changed the business model, and many of our attendees wear more than one hat in the responsibilities at their work. The persona groups and the flexibility of the program allow for each professional to create their own learning experience, tailored to their specific interests.” In fact, the show management leaves a few education events unscheduled until just before the show to address any late-breaking issues, trends or developments.

This year, Converge is scheduled as half-day morning programming, which enables attendees to enjoy sessions in the morning and spend the rest of the day on the show floor or at networking events. Some of the Converge morning programs will point attendees toward related demonstrations, tours or events that serve as a practical follow-up to the morning education. Surfaces currently has 27 speakers on its education roster, made up of both new and veteran favorites.

The Design & Installation Show Case Hub (The DISH) has been reimagined for the 2020 show. The space will continue to offer daily demonstrations by installers and exhibitors but has also been converted into The Style Hub. The show has partnered with a celebrity designer Jennifer Farrell to produce four style pods inside the Hub, each pod exemplifying a trend. Says Hicks, “Attendees will be able to step into these imaginative design worlds and experience the future of design first-hand.”

The year 2020 marks the second installment of the National Installer of the Year competition at Surfaces. The installation categories for 2020 are carpet, resilient and stone/tile. The International Certified Flooring Installers

Association will select nine finalists to compete, three in each product category, from a host of entries, and the contest will take place live on the show floor as the finalists are challenged to complete a specific work order. A ceremony announcing the winners will be held on the last day of the event.

In addition, Surfaces 2020 will include the Design Bites Luncheon: A Taste of Style & Trends for 2020 and Beyond, educating designers and retailers on the newest product launches and trends language, as well as the new Influencer Design Tour of the show floor, in which ten influencers will make stops on the show floor to speak with manufacturer product development teams.

DOMOTEX USA
The Domotex USA show in Atlanta was able to move to the first week of February with February 5 to 7 for education and February 6 to 7 for the expo. Show management believes this improved timing puts the show into the sweet spot for 2020 product introductions. In addition, 2020 is an off-year for the Shaw and Mohawk aligned dealer conventions, which could help boost attendance numbers.

The show will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center but has moved to a larger hall in the venue, Hall B. Square footage numbers aren’t finalized yet for the 2020 event, but 2019 brought more than 280 exhibitors accounting for 90,000 square feet of floor space. Currently, 282 exhibitors are committed to displaying their wares at the 2020 event, with more signing up weekly, show manager Donna Busse reports. Fifty-seven percent of those are domestic manufacturers, but the balance are international, and Busse notes that “dozens of exhibitors are unique to Domotex USA this year, most of which have not exhibited at other shows in North America.”

The 2020 show theme “World At Your Feet” speaks to the range of international exhibitors at the event. The show believes that capitalizing on its international footprint is one of its key differentiators. Says Busse, “Many of the North American attendees don’t have the opportunity to travel to our other international shows, so Domotex USA…offers them the opportunity to see floorcovering products from around the globe.”

Last year’s show brought in 5,130 attendees at final count, and, almost three months out, the 2020 edition has already hit 5,100 registrants. Busse reports, “We expect to grow our attendee numbers across all target audience segments, including, but not limited to, retailers, distributors, designers, builders, contractors, remodelers and installers.” While the bulk of attendees come from the U.S., of course, the show also attracts international visitors, predominantly from Eastern Europe and Asia.

Last year’s plant tours were a hit for the organization, selling out quickly. The daylong excursion to Georgia-based facilities included visits to Shaw’s resilient plant; The Dixie Group’s residential operations; Engineered Floors’ Sam plant; and Beauflor USA’s sheet vinyl facility-and attendees saw the production of several products showcased at Domotex USA from start to finish. For 2020, Domotex is expanding the tours, working with additional manufacturers, and expects to be able to accommodate more attendees.

In addition, the speaker line-up for 2020 includes some notable participants: Denise Lee Yohn, best-selling author and branding expert; international economic analyst and president of the Institute for Trend Research, Alan Beaulieu; and James Dion, founder and president of Dionco Inc. of Chicago, consultant, trainer and author.

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