Coverings: Enhancing the attendee experience

Home Inside FCNews Coverings: Enhancing the attendee experience

March 30/April 6, 2015; Volume 28/Number 20

By Amanda Haskin

When Coverings 2015 kicks off April 14 for its four-day run, inclusion will be a prime focus. “You Belong Here” is the theme for the country’s premiere tile and stone exposition, which is returning to Orlando for the first time in three years.

“Your group is here; let us help you find it,” said Karin Fendrich, show director and COO of National Trade Productions. “We have synced our conference sessions with events on the show floor, guided tours and networking lunches so groups such as builders and remodelers, architects and designers, and contractors and fabricators can feel like they belong here.”

To help attendees gain this sense of inclusion and maximize their time, show management has developed appreciation days that feature tailored programming for specific industry segments. Builder & Remodeling Day will take place Tuesday, April 14; Architect & Designer Day is set for Wednesday, April 15; Contractor Days will span April 15-16, and Fabricator Day will be Thursday, April 16.

Another new feature will be Coverings Rock Stars, an emerging leadership program that honors the best young talent in the industry. “With the Rock Stars program, we are hoping to highlight people who have already made a positive impact on the industry, but whom we hope will be around for years to come,” Fendrich said. “Highlighting some of the younger generation will help others who may be new [to the industry] find people they can identify with and reach out to in their own networking efforts.”

The CID awards, which honor outstanding achievement in design and installation, will be paired with an opening night celebration allowing attendees to meet and interact with the winners while highlighting the incoming class of Rock Stars as well as the Best Booth Awards.

Fendrich noted that this year’s must-sees include the Installation Design Showcase and daily sessions with keynote speakers. These sessions include an industry update with Tile Council of North America (TCNA) executive director Eric Astrachan; Interior Design magazine’s Hospitality Design Power Panel, led by deputy editor Edie Cohen; Joey Shimoda of the Shimoda Design Group and the Sensuality of Surface; and a conversation with Harris Rosen, president of Rosen Hotels and Resorts.

Attendees can also sit in on social media sessions at the event’s social media lounge and interact with others using the hashtag #Coverings2015. Coverings industry ambassador Alena Capra will be leading a behind-the-scenes tour of the show Tuesday at 3 p.m., and non-attendees can follow along on Twitter using the same hashtag.

Crossville will be hosting a live Twitter chat at its booth Wednesday, April 15 at 2 p.m. “on behalf of the popular #KBTribeChat, an online community of kitchen and bath designers with thousands of active followers,” noted Lindsey Waldrep, Crossville’s vice president of marketing. “This event adds a unique dimension to our show experience as we’re able to engage audiences who aren’t able to be at the show and share latest trends in real time.”

Optimism and enthusiasm

Industry leaders are optimistic that the improved industry landscape will be reflected at the show. “The climate is very strong for this industry and the show is following suit,” Fendrich said. “The show floor will be over 15% larger than last year’s, and attendee growth right now is astronomical with a trend running more than 40% higher than last year.”

Lori Kirk-Rolley, vice president of brand marketing for Dal-Tile, is equally confident. “With the economy is on the rise, we expect there to be a great turnout for Coverings. We look forward to connecting with our customers, hearing about their businesses and discussing ways we can continue to be a trusted partner.”

Waldrep is excited to be going back to Orlando. “The Florida market has high tile consumption and is a hub of international travelers, so the locale offers a nice fit for this show. There’s an active design community in the area, including regional ASID chapters [American Society of Interior Designers], so we’re able to enjoy face time with some great folks while here.”

Continuing trends, new innovations

Attendees can expect to see a continuation of the design trends seen this past year in tile, as well as new advancements in technology. “There will be numerous high-tech innovations debuting at the show, including a revolutionary technology that adds elasticity to porcelain tile, ensuring perfectly flat installations,” noted Kristen Coleman, marketing representative for Ceramics of Italy. “And on the design side, you can expect to see bold colors, graphics inspired by pop art and comics, and exciting shapes such as linear mosaics and hexagons of all sizes.

“Nature is a continual source of inspiration for tile manufacturers who continue to explore new interpretations of marble, wood, stone and gemstones,” she continued. “Other trends include customizable collections, earth tones, encaustic patterns and metalized designs.”

Waldrep added that the growing interest in large-format, thin porcelain tile panels will be represented at the show. “Large-format panels are transcending from commercial installations to residential use as interior designers and specifiers have become informed.”

Kirk-Rolley is expecting to see wood looks, mosaics, quartz and more grays and colorful accents. “Gray will continue to be the hottest color in 2015. Clay, taupe and other neutrals are also making a comeback, and even soft blacks will start to rival gray’s popularity. These neutrals will play well with pastel blues and greens, as well as peach, coral and purple for color pops. Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year, will also be in high demand.”

She added that retro design continues to be popular, “especially in bathrooms with subway tiles lining the walls and penny rounds dotting the floors once again.” In addition, both modern looks and inspiration from ancient architecture will be reflected in the styles seen at the show.

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