Expectations are high for the 2013 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show, thanks to a late-in-the-game development only three months before opening day. The National Kitchen and Bath Association revealed in January it is collocating KBIS with the International Builders’ Show for three years beginning in 2014. This news injected excitement into the housing industry, and has added exhibitors to this year’s show.
“Since the collocation announcement, we’ve been overwhelmed with the number of exhibitors rushing to fill show floor space for the 2013 show,” says John Morgan, 2013 NKBA president, and owner of Morgan Pinnacle, Glyndon, Md., a manufacturer’s representative for cabinetry and technology brands. “We had designated certain spaces as specialized areas, but have had to convert them to booth space because of the influx. There’s a lot of excitement and preparation for the 2014 show, which we interpret as a sign that manufacturers have a more positive outlook on the economy.”
Attendance at KBIS has been up for the past two years, and with the collocation announcement NKBA is expecting to see that again this year. “When I have spoken to chapters over the past two months, it has been a pleasure hearing people discussing what to do and where go in New Orleans during the show, which is such a better discussion than whether they will be going at all,” Morgan says.
The NKBA is anticipating roughly 25,000 to 30,000 attendees, but declined to be more specific because of the influx of exhibitors in the past few weeks.
This year’s KBIS features improvements to the education component, in response to feedback received during the past few years. Two years ago when KBIS was in Las Vegas, only a handful of educational sessions were available, Morgan recalls. “This year we have more than 80 sessions. In addition to focusing on design and trends, we’re taking a more 360-degree approach to business topics, including collecting money, increasing cash flow, hiring an accounting specialist, best practices and human resources issues. The education is comprehensive for any type of business, whether someone is a kitchen and bath designer, a builder or a remodeler, it’s focused on the whole business.”
Additions and improvements
KBIS 2013 once again features successful elements such as Best of KBIS, as well as new programs such as design centers staffed by well-known designers and bloggers on the show floor, where attendees can meet them, share ideas and discuss projects. “Another new program is the 30 Under 30, which looks to the next generation in our business,” Morgan says. “These are professionals who already have achieved success at a young age. We had almost 300 people submit names for the program. We’re going to bring them to KBIS, let them soak it in and ask them to share their knowledge. And, as far as new products at the show, we’re hearing from exhibitors that 2013 is a rollout year. So there’s plenty to look forward to.”
The event Morgan is most excited about is the design competition awards. Over the past manyt years, he says, NKBA has not given the awards the attention they deserve. “This year, the night before KBIS opens, we’re having a special event at a great venue in the warehouse district. The awards will be the sole focus that night. The goal is to draw attention to award winners, which will include a remodeling category,” he says.
Shows come together
The announcement of the collocation with the International Builders’ Show, which is owned by the National Association of Home Builders, has rejuvenated a housing market in need of rejuvenation. The positives of this agreement far outweigh the negatives, Morgan says, which is why NKBA could not pass up the opportunity to be a cornerstone of a mega event such as design and construction week.
“For the past several years, there has been a push by KBIS attendees and exhibitors to transform KBIS. The opportunity presented itself and we couldn’t imagine not doing this,” Morgan explains. “Number one, for attendees, there’s an enhanced opportunity for NKBA membership to see kitchen and bath products. And for our members, who are all in the remodeling business, there will be more products at their fingertips than what they typically see at KBIS.”
The two associations have discussed collocating their shows for five or six years, Morgan says. The combined audience in 2014 should be roughly 75,000. Until now, many exhibitors have had to choose between either show, due to financial restraints. Now, Morgan explains, exhibitors can me make one investment and reach both worlds in one place. “When you look at these shows, the biggest investment is transporting people to the events, the hotel rooms, and expenses. Now, they have to do this only once which is a huge cost savings,” he says.
IBS and KBIS will retain separate identities and separate floor space within the Las Vegas Convention Center. Attendees no longer will have to choose which show to attend, similar to the exhibitors. Furthermore, in 2015 the Surfaces Show will be in Las Vegas, which could lead to a week-long building industry event, Morgan says.
The three-year collocation agreement ends after the 2016 shows, but, “… after 2016, we anticipate that the collocation will continue. We can’t imagine it not continuing.”