October 13/20, 2014; Volume 28/Number 9
Offshoot of successful Las Vegas event highlights Miami’s urban feel, presents new networking opportunities
As Hanley Wood readies to raise the curtain on the inaugural performance of The International Surface Event (TISE) East, the industry will be gauging whether there is indeed a market for an East Coast version of the show that has enjoyed a near 24-year run each winter in Las Vegas. The show combines Surfaces, TileExpo and StoneExpo/ Marmomacc Americas and will be held Oct. 19-22 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. With that, FCNews spoke with Hanley Wood vice president Dana Teague in a wide-ranging interview.
What can attendees expect from TISE East? How will it be different from the West Coast edition?
We want the attendees to know they will have a completely different experience than TISE in Las Vegas. Miami Beach has a cool urban vibe, and the overall design environment is a departure from Las Vegas.
As a first-time event, there is an opportunity to be more creative and do things we don’t do in Las Vegas due to the overall size of that event. Surfaces is a product and buying show; Surfaces East will be about designs and trends. Each event will have its own identity, and we plan to make them unique so attendees have two “must attend” events each year.
We don’t want people to think we picked up Las Vegas and plopped it down in Miami. TISE East will attract new attendees, giving exhibitors the opportunity to target new demographics. We expect an influx of international exhibitors and attendees who may not go to Vegas, or even people on the East Coast who may not travel west, making the event extremely diversified.
What was the mindset behind the timing and location of the event?
First off, there is a lot of new product out there. The U.S. construction market is coming out of one of the biggest downturns we have ever seen. Attendees’ businesses are starting to pick up, so they want new products. Manufacturers are coming out with new products, so the time is right.
We started with location. We had requests for an event in the Southeast. Exhibitors wanted to reach new markets, different audiences, and Miami Beach is centrally located as the gateway to the Caribbean and South America, popular with both American and European buyers. The city that is a mecca of design, trends and architecture was a natural fit in size, location and overall urban vibe.
From there, we knew we wanted an event in the fall. This time works particularly well for the stone segment of the show. Stone Expo East in 2007 was very successful, but the construction economy went down, so we only did the one show.
Surfaces in Las Vegas, which has always been held in January or early February, is known for product introductions and for being a buying show. That will never change. But products are launched throughout the year, and retailers and distributors buy all year. Plus, not everyone can attend the January show.
Did the pre-registration numbers meet your expectations?
Response has been very good. There’s a buzz about the event. The numbers will support the size of the show. Obviously TISE East is smaller than TISE in Las Vegas; this is more of a boutique show, but the value is there for attendees and exhibitors.
A launch show takes so much more marketing than an established show, and we have been up to the task. You cannot open an industry publication or website without seeing a TISE East advertisement. We successfully engaged in a vigorous telemarketing program, direct mail campaign, social media efforts on Facebook and Twitter, an exhibitor invitation program and so much more.
We have teams in the South Florida area knocking on doors of retail establishments, visiting distributors and even meeting with some manufacturers. We’ve got feet on the ground, and we’re making personal visits to industry professionals to invite them to the show and have them sign up to attend. We’ve done this for other shows and it has been successful in drawing local and regional attendees.
Tell me a little bit about the exhibitors for TISE East. Is this show meant to appeal to a different market than TISE?
We are finding it is more of a hard surfaces show, which is probably natural given the region. However, the presence of other product categories will definitely be felt.
Were your expectations met in terms of exhibitors? What will you do next year to bring in more exhibiting companies?
We met targets we had set for the show. Stone Expo East was used as a benchmark as a launch event that was similar in size and was extremely successful.
The success of this year’s event will drive attendance on both sides of the aisle—both exhibitors and attendees. Once they arrive, with it being such a unique event—the décor, the way the classrooms are set up, etc.—they will see TISE East is very, very different. It’s more networking, more of a niche market.
What are some of the show’s highlights?
We are able to do some things in Miami that we can’t do in Las Vegas, making this more of a networking event; education and networking activities are definite highlights for the show. For example, there will be a Party-By-The-Pool at the Delano Hotel on Monday evening with both attendees and exhibitors. We will have some cabanas people have sponsored to invite their customers. Vegas is too big to do something like that.
We also have a luncheon for emerging professionals (those under the age of 40), which has been an initiative of ours. The event will team up industry players under 40 and “industry titans.”
The education is unparalleled. [FCNews will sponsor the flooring portion of the education program, which includes the sessions geared toward business as well as sales and marketing.] It features sessions focused on every member of the industry—retailers, designers, architects, distributors, fabricators and installers, to name a few.
Some of the unique offerings of Surfaces East include a Social Learning Lab where attendees are invited to BYOD (bring your own device). Also, there will be a two-part workshop on how to inspire customers with fashion-led visual merchandising. It will start in the classroom and then proceed to the exhibit floor where attendees will put their new knowledge to practical use by dividing into small groups and creating live window displays on the show floor.
A Connection Conference for women in the stone industry, a behind-the-design tour of two South Beach luxury boutique hotels led by Drew Limsky of Modern Luxury Interiors, and a program designed for architects sponsored by AIA Miami Chapter are also highlights.
You’re going to find even more in the classrooms. There will be adult learning environments, and things to keep the programs fresh. We may adapt these methods to the Las Vegas show if they prove to be popular.
Is there any chance of a collaboration with other events for TISE East like the one for Surfaces 2015 [as part of Design & Construction week]?
Design & Construction Week 2015 is going to be incredible. In addition to Surfaces, attendees can also visit StonExpo/ Marmomacc Americas, TileExpo, the International Builders Show (IBS), the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), the International Window Coverings Expo and the Las Vegas Market. The anticipated attendance between all of these events is projected to be as high as 125,000.
Having said all of that, there is no partnership yet for Surfaces East, but we are always looking for other groups that will add value to our attendees and draw additional buyers for our exhibitors. I have some ideas in mind, and we are definitely exploring all avenues.