FCNews exclusive: By Reginald Tucker The countdown clock to TISE 2022 (Surfaces 2022) is ticking down to the final few weeks before kickoff, and Informa Exhibitions—the show’s organizer—said it couldn’t be more excited about this year’s event.
“We’re happy to be back to our original schedule in late January/early February,” said Dana Hicks, TISE show director. “That’s when the industry is used to TISE happening. It’s the time when manufacturers are showing their new products and innovations, and it’s when attendees are looking to buy.”
This year’s event—just seven months removed from the 2021 show—takes on even more importance as the flooring industry looks to get back to heavily attended, in-person conventions. “We’re excited to bring the industry together again,” Hicks noted. “I think the industry wants to be together and needs to be together. It’s been an essential industry event for many years, and I think it’s as important that the industry convenes at this show.”
More importantly, organizers of events like Surfaces, where people gather en masse, have demonstrated that industry conferences such as these can indeed be managed safely, effectively and efficiently. This is possible, according to Hicks, through the cooperation of all parties involved in putting together a trade show—venue owners and operators included.
“We have very strong support from all of our partners,” Hicks explained. “All of our associations that have board meetings, sales meetings and annual meetings and different events that are tied to TISE are all still happening. Plus, Mandalay Bay, where Surfaces is held, is a very large facility and is part of the larger MGM umbrella. So, they know how to host and manage safe events. Fortunately, TISE is a part of Informa, which is our umbrella company. We are a worldwide company, and we have a lot of experience holding events across the world.”
Hicks stressed the lengths that Informa as well as the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center are going to in order to ensure the safety of all Surfaces 2022 participants. Mandalay Bay, he noted, is GBAC STAR Service Accredited, which speaks to their observance of critical cleaning, disinfection and infection prevention protocols. More broadly, within Clark County there is a mask mandate that has been in place for several months now. So, it’s only fitting the show itself conform to these guidelines and protocols, according to Hicks.
“We will follow Clark County guidelines, but we will also have sanitation stations throughout,” he explained. “Mandalay Bay expo center spans more than 2 million square feet, so people will be able to safely attend while maintaining an awareness of social distancing.”
And if that wasn’t enough to allay people’s concerns, Informa will also be offering COVID-19 testing on site. “So, if anyone needs a test for international travel or personal needs, we will be offering COVID-19 testing in all forms right there within the property,” Hicks told FCNews. “Anyone will be able to get testing done as needed; they won’t have to go anywhere else.”
Big names come back
The return of many exhibiting companies who sat out of TISE 2021 and in years prior—including one major brand that has not exhibited in more than a decade—is a surefire sign that manufacturers are ready to get back to business. Beyond Shaw Floors—the obvious one—this year’s show also marks the return of AHF Products, Cali and others back to the main exhibition area.
“We are going to have the most comprehensive list of manufacturers that we’ve had in several years,” Hicks noted. “There are big brands that are back in the show that have missed a few years. We will have more than 300,000 square feet of exhibit space. That is a very healthy, vibrant Surfaces and StonExpo. That’s really exciting.”
While Hicks said he expects there will be fewer exhibitors and attendees from certain parts of the world—namely China, Korea, Canada, Italy and Turkey—he said that’s more of a reflection of travel restrictions set by those respective countries versus any perceived lack of interest in attending.
Show floor highlights
Aside from the return of marquee names to the show floor, TISE 2022 will also feature other enticements. There will be an installation competition where the top 10 finalists identified at Surfaces last year will compete for bragging rights this time around. In addition, there will be a TISE Live Stage that will host various presentations and educational sessions. What’s more, free content will be offered on the exhibit hall floor that’s structured in a short-form format, according to Hicks.
In addition, Informa Exhibitions will, for the first time, hold a Women’s Leadership Conference on Jan. 31, the day before the exhibit hall opens. “There has been a lot of interest in this event, as indicated by the people who have registered thus far,” Hicks said. “It will culminate with a happy hour at the Foundation Room for everyone involved.”
And in another first, show organizers will host a first-time Surfaces attendee reception on Feb. 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. At present, more than 100 people have registered for that event. “We’re looking forward to welcoming new people to the industry,” Hicks said.