Attendance at Coverings 2010 showed a considerable increase from 2009. According to show management, the numbers of registered attendees was 5.10% above the 2009 figure, with the attendance total numbering 23,080. Moreover, 90% of exhibitors at the April tile and stone trade show have secured space for next year when the show moves to Las Vegas at The Sands Conference and Convention Center, on March 11-14, 2011.

“Exhibitors have been applying for space for 2011 at a head-spinning rate,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of events for National Trade Productions, which manages and produces Coverings. “We see this as one more positive sign for the tile and stone industry,” remarked Hoff. She noted that other barometric readings on the business climate came from Coverings exhibitors themselves, many who reported that their meetings with show attendees were extremely productive. “There was some definite buying and order-taking happening, and apparently discussions about stalled projects being re-booted.”

Hoff also reported that there was a noticeable spike in distributor attendance, up 20% from 2009, and a rise among fabricators by 9%. These stats were especially gratifying, and were attributed to a more aggressive campaign to build attendance among these sectors and help acquaint them with more of the brand prospects, both from overseas as well as on the domestic front.

In addition, a Regional Distributor Pavilion, one of the new for 2010 programs, featured local distributors had the opportunity to showcase their lines and it gave them greater direct exposure to the throngs of architects, designers, builders, remodelers and retailers who were among Coverings attendees. Those who participated in the Pavilion included Bedrosians, Builders Tile + Carpet LLC, D&B Tile Distributors, Master Tile, and Specialty Tile. Additionally D&B, Master Tile and Specialty Tile hosted groups of clients to Coverings, an outreach program to distributors that’s been underway since 2007.

Exhibitors expressed their satisfaction with the ROI delivered by Coverings 2010. Gianni Mattioli, president/ceo, American Marazzi, said, “We reached our goals here, which was to see and spend time meeting with clients. Overall, I would say the traffic seemed light, but the people who were here were the important ones we wanted and needed to see.”

At Vitromex, Massimo Ballucchi, director of marketing, commented, “This was a great base for us to launch our new V+ campaign and tap into more commercial project opportunities and the decision makers for them.” Vitromex was among a handful of exhibitors who literally put the “show” into trade show, and employed Cirque du Soleil-type performers who represented the basic elements of tile-earth, water, fire-and who helped drive traffic into the space.

Rick Thompson, executive vp of sales and marketing for ADEX USA, enthusiastically agreed that, “Coverings 2010 was, as we had anticipated, a true success!” He continued, “The challenges we have faced as an industry have certainly leveled the playing field. Those who came to the show were not looking for a holiday or break from the business but rather were interested in growing their business, sorting through the products that are not selling for them and looking for programs that are geared to their market and customer. We were thrilled to see people out and willing to invest in their business. We are aggressively investing in ours, and our customers (current and new) are doing this, as well. What more could you ask for?”