Al’s Column: It’s time to start thinking about TISE

Home Columns Al's Column Al’s Column: It’s time to start thinking about TISE

September 5, 2016; Volume 31, Number 6

By Carol Wilkins

It’s hard to believe we are just a few months away from opening day of The International Surface Event (TISE), which encompasses Surfaces, StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas and TileExpo, slated for Jan. 17-20, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

For trade show veterans, retailers or wholesalers attending a conference and exhibition is a deliberate decision that requires proper planning well in advance of the event. It involves travel, days away from family, applicable fees to participate and choosing the right event to attend.

However, the upside is the networking opportunity the event provides. TISE brings together tens of thousands of buyers and sellers from around the world in one location to do business over the course of four days.

In order to take advantage of all the show has to offer, it’s important to “know before you go.” In planning, attendees must build their repertoire for product sourcing, knowing which existing companies to continue booking appointments with and which new companies to add that will offer a different purchasing flavor for the upcoming season. Proper preparation will enable attendees to see the most the show has to offer and enable them to compare and evaluate their buying decisions.

But perhaps the most important reason to attend an event is the suite of educational opportunities available via technical sessions, off-site tours, live demonstrations, lunch meetings and an interactive social space to share ideas. Yet, the percentage of attendees who take advantage of these programs is a fraction of the overall attendee base. Why? Most attendees don’t take the time to pre-plan their schedules to include the educational portion of the event. The TISE “Ignite” education program is constructed in partnership with a high-profile, targeted industry group to produce 55 sessions of the most engaging, hot topics and inspiring information. The instructor-led program is packed with more than 100 experienced industry professionals and subject matter experts from varied backgrounds ranging from advertising, architecture and design, economic studies, legal, marketing specialties, professional branding and social media, etc. What’s more, Ignite offers an entire day (Tuesday, Jan. 17) of programming that does not compete with show floor hours.

In addition, many sessions offer continuing education credits and certification of completion to boost that resume. Bonus educational opportunities from key association and industry partners are also offered.

Attendees in search of guided trends information curated from industry designers are in luck. The Speed Trending Tour, a new twist to an old favorite, will now bring the eye of the top product picks for 2017 right to you. Hear the designers’ thoughts on the trend-setting aspects of the products; technical product information directly from the product manufacturers; ask direct product questions and inquiries—all while enjoying pastries and beverages from the comfort of your seat. Note: This is a luxury experience with limited space so attendees are advised to register early.

The Retailer Experience is a special program developed with floor covering retailers in mind. This event, spanning across the three days of TISE, is an all-access pass to everything retail. The package includes an exhibit hall pass, plus the full Ignite education program, the Off-Site Culture Tour @ Zappos and the Speed Trending Tour: An Eye on the 2017 Trends. Time-strapped dealers are encouraged to take part in Retailer Day, an abbreviated version of the Retailer Experience, on Thursday, Jan. 19.

A full listing of the Ignite program, the bonus education and all the incredible happenings offered at TISE 2017 are at

Carol Wilkins is the senior conference manager for TISE. She may be reached directly at

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