Trade Shows dying or just evolving?

Co-location of IBS and KBIS – Will it succeed?

The International Builder Show (IBS) and Kitchen and Bath International Show (KBIS) have agreed to co-locate at the Las Vegas Convention Center through 2016. The combined shows will be named Design and Construction Week. In 2015, Surfaces and StoneExpo will join Design and Construction Week from Mandalay Bay.

Though IBS and KBIS will occupy separate halls, attendees will gain admission to both with a single badge. Each show will continue to host their own events and conduct separate educational programs. Brands will choose the hall where they wish to exhibit. Combined attendance in 2014 is projected at 75,000.


I was attending the 2013 IBS when the “co-location” announcement was made. Here are some remarks from the show and a couple of online comments followed by my own opinions.

  • When asked which venue they'd choose for their exhibit an executive from Kohler said, “We don't know which show we'll be at, but we'll definitely be here.
  • A manager at GE Appliances who hadn't heard the news remarked, “That's interesting. It's probably a good idea.”
  • A GM from Pella Windows commented, “Now that makes sense!”
  • An NKBA Board Member confided to me, “I've been working on this almost full-time for the past year.”
  • A leading appliance blogger wrote, “I think it's long overdue.”

This consolidation seems to have been met with near universal approval. A few complaints were registered online from those who disliked Las Vegas, or worried about the large size of the event. My personal view is that consolidating the shows is good news for IBS, very good news for KBIS, and great news for those exhibiting or attending these shows.

I had written a blog last year, IS KBIS DEAD? commenting on the struggles of KBIS, and the lack of participation by vendors – specifically major appliance manufacturers. While co-locating the shows seems to make sense on the face of it, there are a couple of questions and concerns:

  1. Will the combined shows attract any attendance (other than that which would be expected anyway due to an improving economy) or will this just be a merging of two shows with no real growth?
  2. Will this move bring back those brands who have abandoned IBS and KBIS shows as too expensive or as outmoded ways of reaching customers, and getting new business?

These are not just hypothetical questions. Think of appliance brands for example. GE Appliances was the only major appliance manufacturer in its own exhibit at this year's IBS. At KBIS2012, appliance brands were noticed primarily by their absence. As of today, the list of exhibiters for KBIS2013 does not include any of the major appliance brands or luxury brands unless you count Liebherr and Scotsman Ice Machines. Let's hope that the new 2014 format will cause appliance manufacturers to re-think their presence at IBS and KBIS. Time will tell.

What's your view on attending trade shows?



This entry was posted in Appliances, Business, Trade Shows and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Trade Shows dying or just evolving?

  1. I will not be attending due to the location. It matters not who is showing, I have an ecological objection to Las Vegas and shan’t be giving it any of my funds. I now rely on appliance dealers directly at corporate showrooms for the most part.

  2. Art Johnson says:

    Thanks for your comments, Mary. I have lots of objections to Vegas. I don’t gamble, don’t party much, and I rarely go to a show. Yet, my job has taken me there almost monthly for about 30 years. Nevertheless, it is THE best city in the US for a convention. Cheap airfare, abundant, close-in hotel rooms, convenient cabs, and a large convention center.

    However, the real question has to do with industry trade shows, and not whether you or I like Las Vegas.

    • I think trade shows are a very important part of my business. It’s what literally got me into what I’m doing – In my opinion, networking and immersing yourself in your given field is the key to a successful business. Having said that, this past year has been abysmal in terms of sales, and for the first time in many years, I can’t afford to go to KBIS. I already have my airline ticket (love you, Southwest Airlines!), but the cost of a hotel room is astronomical, and as an independant designer who has to foot all of her own bills, I simply can’t justify the thousand dollars it would cost me for a hotel room. I’m deeply saddenned by this, and wish it weren’t so. As to Las Vegas, whether you’re a fan or not of the area, it’s a perfect venue for the combined efforts of KBIS and IBS, and hotel rooms and restaurants are plentiful and affordable.

  3. John says:

    Trade shows are what you make of them…and if you are shy – trade shows can be very painful. On the other hand, if you are outgoing, stick to positive subjects and upbeat topics, then trade shows can be a great source of lead generation. Today’s marketplace has changed and I feel strongly about going in with the right attitude, walking the floor, striking up conversations, practicing your elevator speech, the attending the classes, attending the associate sponsored parties & eve the awards banquets…This is where the real connections with people are made during trade shows.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s