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Coverings Sees Notable Increase Among Several Key Audience Segments And Its Exhibitors

Coverings 1Coverings 2014, the largest tile and stone exposition and conference in North America, saw attendance numbers rise when the show returned to Las Vegas earlier this month to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. Key audience segments that saw an increase include distributors, retailers and contractors/installers and reflects the resurgence of tile and stone consumption across the United States. More than 22,500 industry professionals came to Coverings 2014, a bump of 3 per cent from last year and 22 per cent from 2011, the last year Coverings was located in Las Vegas. Overall, several key segments saw double-digit increases compared to 2011, particularly for retailers, distributors and fabricators, which were up 12, 16 and 36 per cent, respectively.

In addition to a robust turnout, Coverings 2014 experienced an increase in the number of exhibitors. Coverings extended its footprint to 387,600 square-feet of space, utilizing an outdoor pavilion called The Plaza, located adjacent to the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. In total, Coverings hosted more than 975 exhibitors.

“Our attendance and exhibitor numbers truly indicate an improvement to the health and vitality of the tile and stone industry in North America,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “With new home sales continuing to rise, and the U.S. tile and stone consumption experiencing a fourth consecutive growth year, attending Coverings was more critical than ever this year.”

First-time Coverings exhibitors indicated they had a strong show, with steady traffic and important connections made. ATEM, the Ukraine’s largest ceramic tile manufacturer, utilized Coverings to break into the U.S. market. Another show newcomer, California-based Burlington Materials, said its first year garnered truly positive results and the company already has committed to exhibiting at Coverings 2015 in Orlando.

“We were very happy with the exposure that we received,” said Simi Kapoor, vice president of business development for Burlington Materials. “Because it was our first year, we weren’t sure what to expect … but we met a lot of new clientele, particularly based on the East Coast, and several international contacts as well.”

Exhibitors such as Natucer and Lea Ceramiche, which continually exhibit with Coverings, also found this year’s show delivered value.

“We had a very good experience at this year’s Coverings—we particularly find value in building relationships with new customers and strengthening the relationships we have with existing customers, “ said Jose Vantavella, area manager for Natucer.

Emilio Mussini, CEO for Lea Ceramiche, said they saw an increase in the numbers of distributors, importers and retailers attending their booth this year.

“We had a very good show this year, with many existing and new customers from the U.S., Canada and South America,” he said.

Programmes

Coverings kept attendees engaged with a number of programmes including the conference programmes, with more than 80 sessions and CEU courses; Ceramic Tile Education Foundation’s on-site installation certification courses, the Live Demonstration stage, the Coverings Installation & Design Awards, the Installation Design Showcase, Interior Design magazine’s Editorial Portfolio Review and the popular Contractor Tours.

A perennial favourite, the Installation Design Showcase tapped area A+D associations to design four unique vignettes including an indoor courtyard, bar, retail space and a sustainable, accessible bathroom. Each design team was paired with an installer with Five Star Recognition from the National Tile Contractors Association and certification from the CTEF to execute the vision and highlight the importance of qualified installers to create stunning spaces.

Las Vegas-based designer Stephen Leon, who designed a chic bar vignette, saw his experience with the Installation Design Showcase as an opportunity to get hands-on education with installer Lambert Tile & Stone.

“Not only was I able to bring a space representative of the city’s identity to life with interesting tile and stone materials, but I had the privilege of receiving a thorough education in the tile and stone installation,” said Leon, who also serves as president of the Central California/Nevada ASID chapter.

First-time Installation Design Showcase installer Martin Brookes of Heritage Marble & Tile worked with UNLV professor Jonathon Anderson to create an indoor courtyard. He said the project was a valuable way to showcase the skills they’ve acquired through the certification programs.

“Working to bring the vision of a talented designer to life in a live environment was such a gratifying experience for our installation team,” Brookes said. “It gave the team the occasion to truly test what we are able to execute. This was no competition, but a time to collaborate with industry peers.”

In collaboration with the National Tile Contractors Association, the Contractor Day Tours returned again this year offering more than 125 attendees curated tours of top resources for installers, helping maximize their time at the show and hear first-hand from company executives about new products and innovation.

While the show floor stayed a buzz with activities, Coverings’ celebration of its 25th Anniversary took center stage. From commemorative tiles to vintage-style Coverings T-shirts and the interactive photo booth, the show reverberated with celebration, commencing with the sold-out 25th Anniversary Party at Hyde at the Bellagio. More than 500 attendees reminisced and celebrated while having premium viewing of the hotel’s famous dancing fountain show.

Coverings also offered a sneak peek into the 2015 show with its announcement of a new creative campaign and logo. Attendees received a preview of the campaign thanks to Creative Edge, a Coverings exhibitor that interpreted the new creative, using a beautiful marble slab and inlaid tile to replicate a series of brightly colored, stacked frames. The new campaign and logo are slated to appear this summer on the Coverings website and throughout all of the marketing and promotional materials.

Coverings 2015 will be held April 14-17 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

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