Attendance at Coverings 2012, held April 17-20 in Orlando, Fla., increased 19 percent over 2011, with registration totaling well over 22,000. Produced by National Trade Productions (NTP), Coverings is North America’s largest tile and stone exposition.
While all attendee segments showed double-digit increases, the fastest-growing category came from architects and designers, increasing 84 percent over 2011. The number of exhibiting companies also increased by 24 percent, and the number of square feet of exhibits was up 14 percent compared to Coverings 2011.
“The increases are the result of a very strategic and aggressive marketing program,” said Karin Fendrich, chief operating officer of NTP. “We left no stone or tile unturned to make Coverings 2012 a success, including several new initiatives to attract attendees.”
A 1,500-square-foot area where attendees gathered to digitally interact and network was created for the event. The highlight of Coverings Central was the 18 social-media seminar sessions that provided great tips in 15 minutes. There was also a well-attended Tweet-Up, happy hours and prize giveaways during the show. This area drew strong participation and was a hub of daily activity throughout the four-day event.
Contractor days, created in collaboration with the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), attracted more than 160 participants. Benefits included a guided tour of top resources on the show floor designed to help installers maximize their time as well as to meet and talk directly with company executives stationed in the booths during the tour hours. Tours included lunch, and the day was capped with a happy hour on the show floor in the Contractor Lounge. In fact, daily happy hours at Coverings have proved to be a welcome stimulus for business networking as well as encouraging attendees to continue perusing the exhibits until closing.
NTP was instrumental in the launch of a new awards program, called the Coverings Installation and Design Awards, honoring projects submitted by contractors and designers. Over 70 projects were submitted and the 12 project winners received cash prizes and industry recognition.
Exhibitors expressed their satisfaction with the ROI delivered by Coverings 2012, and are looking forward to the show’s debut in Atlanta.
“We’ve exhibited for eight years now, and are happy to report another very busy and successful show,” said Darren Caraway of Vidrepur. “We saw a variety of attendees. Most strongly represented were distributors. It’s great to see distributors you currently work with, and, of course, show product to those who are learning about your company. We look forward to exhibiting next year.”
NTP initiated several promotions at the Orlando show for Coverings 2013, including a photography booth where attendees could choose various Atlanta backgrounds for their souvenir photo, a Facebook promotion where attendees and exhibitors upload photos taken in front of a tile and stone installation with the foam peach they received in Orlando, and a design competition where Atlanta-based designers submitted artwork for the Coverings 2013 creative campaign. Attendees were able to text or tweet in their vote and the winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and see their campaign used to promote Coverings 2013.
“We had good foot traffic this year, and are looking forward to exhibiting next year in Atlanta, which we know is rich with architecture and design professionals,” said Esther Halferty, of Lilywork.