May 27/June 3, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 25
By Lisbeth Calandrino
I recently returned from the TISE 2020 educational planning meeting in Irving, Texas. This is the third year I’ve been chosen to be on the committee. It’s interesting to find out what the attendees think of the prior education tracks and what seminars they would like to see moving forward. This information helps us determine the types of seminars to present in 2020.
As Katie Thompson, senior content and project manager and program moderator, stated: “The importance of the feedback from the participants from 2019 can’t be understated. It gives us an idea of what is important and what we should keep or eliminate. Having different industry professionals get together for a day and a half gives them an opportunity to share their expertise and great ideas.”
TISE is known for its grand exhibition, but the education program is considered an integral part of the show as well. The educational classes start the day before the show opens so it doesn’t detract from traffic on the show floor. In fact, the more savvy manufacturers use the classes to drive attendees back to their booths when the trade show opens. At Surfaces 2019, several manufacturers sponsored seminars and were involved in the design and presenting of these seminars. The participants’ comments indicate the attendees liked having the manufacturers present and be part of the education program.
The education committee is also an opportunity for industry professionals to get to know each other. Since many of the professionals come from different parts of the industry, this is probably the only time they get to share ideas and learn from each other.
So, what’s on tap for next year’s educational seminars? Installation, for sure. During our talks, we were challenged to come up with more ways to showcase the installation trade. Included in that discussion are the fabricators, who are often overlooked at the show. Both groups share a common concern of how to find new business. The subject of helping installers take better care of their physical health, namely their knees and backs, was a major concern for the group. Providing seminars for installers and fabricators on how they can differentiate themselves from the competition was also discussed at the meeting.
Developing more sessions for interior designers was also discussed and supported by the participants. Manufacturers as well as retailers are interested in finding ways to network with them, and Surfaces is a great place to make it happen. Providing CEUs for ASID could help drive traffic among this key target group. Another idea is to give the designers a platform and competition for them to showcase their skills.
One suggestion was to have industry experts make themselves available in the halls to answer questions. These industry experts can be retailers, manufacturers, installers and consultants. We have people who can tell you how to get around the show—why not have “hall monitors” to answer specific questions on marketing, retailing, installation or showroom design? It is useful and would add another fun element to the show.
Participants also agreed that more networking programs couldn’t hurt. In fact, it was suggested that attendees get “matched” before the show and then follow up to meet at the show. That could get interesting.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at email@example.com.