It’s that time of year again; Getting the most from Coverings

It’s here again, your opportunity to get smart about tile and stone! With over 900 exhibitors and 20,000 industry professionals, you have everything to gain by attending Coverings 2014. Coverings will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 29 to May 2, 2014. Don’t forget to book your accommodations as soon as possible!
It doesn’t end there though – this year is Coverings’ 25th Anniversary and they will be holding an Anniversary party at the Hyde Bellagio. You can purchase your tickets online through the Coverings registration system.
Coverings continues to be the place to be for the newest and most innovative products and the latest installation ideas in the tile and stone industry. I continually hear people say, “I’m too busy to attend,” or “I can’t stay away from my business that long.” All of us need to improve what we do so what could be better than attending a trade show, specifically for our industry? I’ve been attending the show for 10 years now and every year I continue to be amazed by the talent and ability of the industry professionals from all over the world who attend.
So, how should you approach it? Here are some suggestions for maximizing your experience at the show:

Plan Your Attack: Check out the pre-show information and decide which exhibitors you must visit and where they’re located. The show is pretty big and booths aren’t always easy to find so become familiar with the floor layout. If there’s someone you really need to see, set up an appointment before you arrive.
Think Ahead: Talk with your employees before you leave and find out what they would like you to bring back from the show. They may be searching for specific products or solutions to an installation problem.
Keep up Online: Interact with the best and brightest minds in the industry on Coverings’ social media sites during the show and stay in touch throughout the year to be the first to hear about and participate in contests and giveaways. Follow all of the Coverings chatter on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. This year’s hashtag is #Coverings2014 – use it and join the conversation.
Network: The importance of industry contacts shouldn’t be minimized. There are experts from every facet of the industry at Coverings, from products to design trends to innovative tools. There are numerous industry professionals willing to answer questions, solve problems, and share information. You can get the latest news from your vendors on industry trends and cutting-edge ideas for your customers.
Stay up to Date on Industry News: Take advantage of and sign up for the trade and consumer publications in the bins outside the show. This way, you can get regular updates throughout the year on all of the latest news in the industry.
Educational Programming: The education aspect of Coverings is always topnotch and content rich. There are over 80 free seminars and many with continuing education units. Take a look at the Featured Sessions and Keynote Sessions for new design trends, showroom layouts and ideas for bringing customer retention and marketing. There are also social media and web design classes, seminars on how to improve your business are plentiful, and numerous free workshops to increase your technical skills. Live demonstrations will be taking place during all four days of the show!

Check out other highlights of the show, particularly the silent auction with the University of Nevada (UNLV) tiled benches. You can bid on the beautiful and unusual tiled benches made by their students – proceeds benefit the UNLV and the Ceramic Tile Education Fund.
Don’t forget to bring plenty of business cards to share and keep yourself well hydrated and fed during the show. Remember this is one of the most exciting cities in the United States so take advantage of the nightlife, whether it’s a show, gambling or great restaurants.
And lastly, of course, join me at my sessions! I will be presenting “Maintaining and Protecting Your Online Reputation” on Tuesday, April 29 at 1:45 PM, and “How to Use In Store Events to Grow Your Business” on Friday, May 2 at 9:30 AM. I’d love to see you there – register for Coverings 2014 now for free!

Lisbeth Calandrino is an award winning coach, speaker and marketing specialist. A veteran of the floor covering industry, Lisbeth has spent over twenty years developing custom-tailored training programs in motivation, team building, sales and customer service. She presently works as associate publisher and social media specialist for Fabulous Floors Magazine, an international flooring consumer publication. Read more.