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Coverings 2011 to offer array of seminar sessions

LAS VEGAS—Options abound for distributors and retailers when it comes to the lineup of conference sessions at Coverings 2011. The international tile and stone show, scheduled for March 14 to 17 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center here, is offering a schedule of more than 70 seminar sessions with nearly half designed for those in the sales and distribution segments of the industry. Coverings 2011 is free to attend, and that no-cost policy extends to all educational programming.

On Thursday, March 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., James Dion, back by popular demand, will present his two-hour workshop, “Will We Ever ‘Party Like It’s 1999’ Again?” Dion will report not only on the trends shaping consumer spending, but also how those in the tile business can use these as cues in planning their selling and marketing tactics in the year ahead.

On Monday, March 14, from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Eric Corey Freed, principal of organicArchitect, will let distributors and retailers in on “How To Reach Specifiers: An Architect Tells All.” His session promises to give insight into how architects and designers choose a manufacturer, how products are specified and the top 20 things to avoid so your business will be selected.

Among other programs likely to resonate with distributors and retailers are:

  • “Connecting With Customers Online & Offline: A Business Survival Guide,” presented by Christine Whittemore of Simple Marketing Now and Paul Friederichsen of BrandBiz;
  • “The Nine Essentials For Effectively Selling to the Affluent” by Christopher Ramey of Affluent Insights, and
  • “Strategies to Improve Market Share Over Competitive Products,” presented by ceramic tile consultant, Patti Fasan.

In addition, there will be panel discussions on “Economic Strategies to Boost Ceramic Tile and Stone Sales and Profits” and “International Transportation/ Customs Issues.”

Addressing sustainability, which remains a hot-button topic, there will be eight core sessions open to all attendees, and those who complete at least four classes will earn a Coverings green certificate of completion— the first time this has been offered.

“The conference component has always been a Coverings signature, and this year’s track for distributors and retailers is as robust as ever with valuable business-building programs,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of client events for National Trade Productions, which manages and produces the show.

For a complete list of educational sessions or to register, visit

In other news, the show is calling out to architects and interior designers to “Bring Your Client to Coverings.” This program lifts the veil on the trade-only nature of the international tile and stone expo, and lets those consumers who are seriously shopping for what’s new in products and trends join their design professional in perusing the hundreds of global exhibitors who attend Coverings. Registered A&D attendees may be accompanied by up to two client guests daily. Attendance for all is free.

“Bring Your Client to Coverings is a program that has definitely resonated with the architects and interior designers who attend,” Hoff said. “The program answers a need that the A&D professional has to keep the client in the design process. On his or her own, a consumer could easily become overwhelmed by all there is to see at Coverings. So, to travel a show of this scope with your designer is the best way to help edit the options and focus in on real choices.”

For more information on this initiative visit bring_your_client.