If the preshow buzz is any indication, the co-locating of the http://www.kbis.com/ Kitchen and Bath Industry Show and the http://buildersshow.com/Home/ International Builders’ Show already is a smash hit.

The two major industry trade shows go under the same roof for the first time Feb. 4-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center as part of what is being billed as Design & Construction Week.

Both shows report spikes in exhibitors and registered attendees. KBIS officials said in early November that its show had originally sold out exhibitor space, but added additional space a week later. IBS officials report exhibitor sales are up 25% over last year and expected attendance on its end is up 20% over a year ago (as of mid-December).

The two shows combined will feature 600,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space and some 1,600 exhibitors highlighting the latest in kitchen-and-bath and construction-related products and technologies.

“Two great associations collaborated and put two good shows under one roof,” National Kitchen and Bath Association President John Petrie (MH Custom Cabinetry, Mechanicsburg, Pa.) tells PM. “It makes sense for exhibitors to be able to go to one show and it makes good sense for attendees. The home builder builds great homes and relies on the kitchen-and-bath specialist to put in those products. Now the home builder is able to see all these products under one roof.

“The two shows co-locating is a great fit and that’s what the big uptick is all about.”

The response to the co-location on the manufacturer side has been nothing but positive since the announcement was made last year.

“As one of the largest exhibitors that participated at both shows, we’ll benefit from obvious efficiencies in terms of designing, constructing and staffing one main booth,” http://www.us.kohler.com/us/ Kohler Vice President of Kitchen and Bath Marketing Steve Bissell says. “We’re encouraged that more of our customers will view this show as the premier exhibition of home products, education and industry trends, making this show a must-see destination every year.”

InSinkErator Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategic Development Dave McNair is looking forward to reaching an even wider audience in Las Vegas.

“We’re anticipating large crowds from our two business channels — kitchen-and-bath designers and professional builders,” he notes. “We hope to benefit from connecting with both audiences. The primary benefit will be exhibiting in essentially two shows for the price of one. What makes the co-location so exciting is larger crowds, more customer contacts and everything being under one roof.”

Joseph Fristik, Rheem’s corporate vice president of marketing and national accounts, also views the new endeavor as a win-win for all attendees and exhibitors.

“The traditional IBS and KBIS audiences complement each other well,” he says. “From an attendee standpoint, it’s great that they will have the opportunity to see products relevant to both the building and remodeling industries. For anyone who may have attended only one of these shows in the past, seeing exhibitors from both shows under one roof could open their eyes to products that may not have crossed their radar before.

“For companies such as Rheem, the co-located show means we can interact with both audiences at one event vs. attending two different shows. This provides an extremely effective way to meet in person with both customers and prospects.”


Educational opportunities

In addition to the opportunities to view a much wider selection of new products and technologies, show-goers also will be exposed to expanded educational opportunities at both shows.

KBIS had about 60 educational sessions last year and has upped that number to 85 this year, with more than 50 of those offering Continuing Education Units to attendees.

“These are industry experts providing learning opportunities to peers in the industry,” Petrie said. “These sessions provide significant value and cover a lot of different learning paths.”

Specifically, NKBA University features eight learning paths this year, providing industry professionals insight into all aspects of the kitchen-and-bath business.

“I may be a designer, but maybe my human resource guy wants to take a class and learn about HR-type stuff,” Petrie said. “We have these types of learning paths available that are diverse enough to cover all aspects of the kitchen-and-bath business.”

IBS also will continue its trend of ramping up educational offerings. “I’m proud of our leadership’s decision to continue to invest in education,” http://www.nahb.org/ National Association of Home Builders Senior Vice President Mark Pursell says. “The quality of the education sessions and the speaker base has improved.”

He points out that IBS will feature 80 new speakers this year, as well as master-education sessions.

“The master sessions are deep dives into subjects we think are important,” Purcell explains. “This is three hours on subjects such as retooling your team, how to hire and retain talent as the market begins to grow, building science and green-related building. We’ll also have sessions on builder housing finance and online marketing.”

The Tech Hub at IBS will educate attendees on topics such as digital marketing and tablet technology that fits into the home-builder business with the virtual modeling of homes.

IBS also has added an educational track specifically for building-material dealers and suppliers.

“The great thing about the shows is they go for three full days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day,” Petrie says. “Our NKBA educational courses start before the show on Monday and finish up Friday. Everybody is going to be in town. There will be a lot of networking opportunities with the two shows. You will be going all day and into the evening. I would bring some comfortable shoes.”

Trending upward

Manufacturers heading into KBIS and IBS are noticing a number of distinct trends popping up in the design and construction marketplaces.

“One building-focused trend we’re closely watching is the increase in energy-efficient homes,” Fristik notes.

Fristik cites McGraw Hill Construction data that shows energy-efficient homes made up 20% of all newly built U.S. homes in 2012. The firm goes onto say that by 2016, the green residential construction market still will be growing, accounting for anywhere between 29% and 38% of all new U.S. homes.

“Since water-heating and HVAC systems account for 65% of a home’s annual energy bill, Rheem has an opportunity to develop greener heating, cooling and water-heating products that can fit perfectly into new energy-efficient homes,” he says.

Aging in place remains a front-burner topic in the kitchen-and-bath industry. “With Baby Boomers representing 44% of the U.S. population, the idea of aging in place is important in the marketplace,” says Laura Ostenkamp, marketing communications manager for Moen’s Wholesale Business Unit.

“There’s been a lot of remodeling activity in this segment and it will continue to gain momentum. Boomers are defying traditional beliefs that aging is predictable, boring and that they’re ‘over the hill.’ Instead, they’re reinventing what it means to age by seeking the right products and experiences that enable them to live in their own homes safely, independently and comfortably as personal circumstances change.”

Several manufacturers noted technology continues to drive innovation in their products. “We see technology becoming more and more integrated between the brand-makers, their dealer/distributor locations and consumers,” Elkay Marketing Communications Director Ann Rottinghaus notes. “The new digital layer breaks down barriers. Interaction is skyrocketing.”

Gerber/Danze Vice President of Marketing Kevin McJoynt adds: “Smart technology continues to build as a trend. It’s not just technology for technology’s sake, but innovations that make people’s lives easier and more convenient.”

The combined KBIS and IBS shows will remain in Las Vegas through 2016.