I got a call from our director of IT on Friday saying I’m way over the limit on my data usage. What can I say? It’s been a busy first quarter. Aren’t you all feeling the same?

The first two months of our year started with a bang—many miles traveled, shoes worn walking the halls of conventions, and loads of interviews documented, photos collected, and features in the works. It was exciting to see the fruition of all that hard work from our contacts paying off in spades, in the form of new technologies, vignettes and stories. 

From Domotex in Hannover, Harlan Stone, CEO of HMTX Industries, said he’s been to hundreds of great shows in the 38 years he’s been in the flooring industry and differentiates the majors this way: “When you talk about Domotex [Hannover], you’re talking about people that are presenting their whole ideas. When you talk about Surfaces, it’s the salesmen and retailers connecting to try to make some activity take place. It’s a real old-fashioned American selling show. When you talk about Shanghai, it’s a sourcing show. There are a lot of  Chinese exhibitors, a couple of non-Chinese exhibitors, and they are basically putting on a show to try to get you to import that product.”

It was my first trip to the Hannover show, and I was impressed with the Germans’ ability to put on a great event. Well-organized halls, beautiful exhibits, lots of big ideas and innovations taking place. On the flip side, no one is headed to Shanghai this spring for Domotex Asia/ChinaFloor, which announced it is postponing due to the outbreak of coronavirus in several Chinese provinces. Domotex USA, which had a stellar educational lineup, also hit some challenges thanks in part to timing and bad weather—the industry waits to see what management will do for 2021. 

The International Surface Event showcased optimism this year. In fact, we documented lines out the door the first day of the show and were thrilled to see an emphasis on the architecture and design community and also the continued commitment to growing installation through both exhibits and education. 

The Southeast Flooring Market reported a 20% uptick in attendance. Companies like AHF Products allocated trade show dollars to supporting their distributor partners through more regional shows. There’s an overall sense of grassroots campaigning for business, which has always been a hallmark of our business. What was your impression of show season? Drop me a line at kernt@bnpmedia.com.