The news reached me less an hour before I walked into the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 22. IBS would co-locate with KBIS in February 2014 here, and we posted the news that afternoon at www.supplyht.com and www.pmmag.com.
In the IBS media room, I ran into an editor I had worked with at another publishing company years ago. I shared the news with him, and he looked surprised. I should mention that he's a regular at IBS but doesn't attend the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.
“I can see why IBS would want to do this, but KBIS is going great guns!” he said.
I corrected him as gently as I could and told him that both shows would benefit. The question that immediately came to mind is whether a manufacturer that exhibits at both shows would keep a booth on two show floors in the same convention center in the same city on the same dates. Even if it were to do that, I figured the company would have to save money on its convention expenses off the show floor.
I put the question about two booths to one of my contacts at Kohler a couple hours after I heard the news. He told me that it was just too early to tell. By the next morning, the two shows had issued a joint statement to say companies that currently exhibit at IBS and KBIS would have the option of one booth, with one admission ticket giving a visitor access to both show floors.
The same morning I found myself in adjoining booths occupied by Gerber Plumbing and Danze, which share a single parent. Another option for companies at both shows would be a booth in each. In this case, Gerber might consider a booth at IBS and Danze at KBIS.
A third option popped up later the same day. My last appointment was with a company that displays its products in a model home in the Show Village constructed in the parking lot of the convention center. The bath manufacturer did not have a booth inside IBS and has not exhibited at KBIS in a few years.
In 2014, however, the company may keep its presence in the Show Village — without an IBS booth — but then take a booth in the KBIS hall.
My contact told me the combined shows could attract an extra 30,000 people next year from the number expected at IBS alone. The number sounded gaudy to me.
At a press reception that evening, I spoke with people who helped to bring the two shows together. Their numbers forecast 50,000 attendees next year for IBS and another 25,000 for KBIS. The jump from 25,000 to 30,000 is not that far after all.
In two-plus days at IBS, I did not speak to one exhibitor who thinks the co-location is a bad move. The only negative comment I've read is in a Facebook posting on DPHA's page. It says, in part, “Two declining shows coming together with the same approach does not appear to be winning formula.”
We'll start to see soon enough if the co-location move pays off.