Coverings 2015 Offers Multiple Conference Sessions For Distributors And Retailers

(ALEXANDRIA, VA — March 16, 2015) Coverings, the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America, offers an extraordinarily vast conference program comprised of more than 75 free sessions, many of which focus on topics of particular interest to tile and stone distributors and retailers. Coverings returns to Orlando, April 14-17, at the Orange County Convention Center, with the education program beginning on April 13.
Along with the more than 1,000 global exhibitors showing an unrivalled range of innovative products and technologies, the free conference sessions are a primary reason distributors and retailers attend the leading tile and stone exhibition.
In addition to the Keynote Speakers previously announced – including Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA); Edie Cohen, Deputy Editor of Interior Design Magazine; Harris Rosen, President of Rosen Hotels & Resorts; and Joey Shimoda, Chief Creative Officer of The Shimoda Design Group – other conference topics relevant to the distributor and retailer segment include the latest industry update on tile standards and specification issues, best practices in relations with interior designers, architects  and consumers, upcoming economic trends effecting the ceramic industry, and how to implement customer engagement through digital media.
 Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:

How to Sell to Interior Designers & Architects. During this panel discussion, moderated by Christopher Ramey of Affluent Insights and The Home Trust, Lauren Cherkas of Artistic Tile and Barbie Kennedy of Barbie Kennedy Designs will address how to best serve the specifier community to increase sales. Attendees will gain an understanding of what really matters to interior designers and architects, and what not to do when selling or marketing products and services. Tuesday, April 14, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Secrets to Creating Remarkable Customer Experiences. Join knowledgeable speaker, Sandy Smith, as he advises on the escalating expectations of today’s 24-hour customer and highlights the best practices of organizations that consistently deliver remarkable customer experiences. Tuesday, April 14, 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
Future Trends in the U.S. Economy and Ceramic Industry. This two-part session, presented by Donato Grosser of D. Grosser and Associates, Ltd. and Santo Torcivia of Marketing Insights, LLC, will focus first on the changes in the United States economy and housing market and will then concentrate on analyzing the effects on distribution in the ceramic tile industry. Distributors and retailers will learn how they need to prepare to handle these changes and their effects. Tuesday, April 14, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Stone Trends 2015. President and owner of Marazita & Associates, Vince Marazita, will deliver the 17th Annual ‘State of the Industry’ presentation on the dimensional stone market in the United States. The session will cover information, sourcing, marketing and application trends in the stone industry over the last year, with examples of award-winning projects that have been recognized for their use of natural stone. Tuesday, April 14, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
A Bigger Slice: Using Customer Engagement to Increase Sales. Presenter Ryan Fasan, Professional Attention to Tile Installations, will discuss how the dramatic rise of tile consumption offers increased business opportunities, thanks to the inherent benefits and emerging innovations in the ceramic tile industry.  The session will explore simple tools, comparisons and language to make a brand remarkable and top of mind for local consumers every time “cladding”, not just “tile”, is discussed. Attendees will discover opportunities for brand synergy with the manufacturing sectors with an easy-to-plan and implement social media plan, and explore the power retailers and distributors hold to influence prevailing trends and buying decisions. Wednesday, April 15, 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
Image is Everything! How Houzz and Pinterest Steer Clients to Your Tile/Stone Business: A Case Study and Guide for Visual Online And Social Success. This session, presented by Arpi Nalbandian of Tileometry and Christine Whittemore of Simple Marketing Now LLC, will address how to offer potential customers with visual inspiration online as they begin the buying process. Attendees will explore processes and systems for making the most of visual social networks, like Pinterest and Houzz; how to be inspired and organized for visual tile/stone thought-leadership; and how to evaluate ongoing activity to help with planning next steps. Wednesday, April 15, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Six Trends that will Dramatically Change Your Life. President of Affluent Insights and The Home Trust, Christopher Ramey, will share insights on how consumer trends will change the way people do business, and how to identify major consumer and industry trends. Wednesday, April 15, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
10 Best Practices to Maximize Your Store Experience & Sales. This presentation, led by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle of Retail Minded, will unveil 10 best practices to help retailers and designers increase their success in today’s crowded marketplace. The session will review current market trends, in-the-know retail tips and realistic ways to maximize time and sales. Attendees will gain a checklist to evaluate their own store ‘best practices,’ challenging them to do better and grow beyond their existing store goals. These 10 tips may be quick, but they are spot on, will be identified in detail and will offer effective support in surviving in today’s competitive marketplace. Thursday, April 16, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Trends in Tile. Representatives from Ceramics of Italy, Tile Council of North America and Tile of Spain – Christine Abbate, Marianne Cox and Ryan Fasan, respectively – will present on the advancements in cutting-edge digital technology and the revival of artisanal processes that have transformed the look and application of tile. This panel session of industry experts will inform attendees on how tile trends have changed and where they will go next. Thursday, April 16, 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Installation Design Showcase Deconstructed. The designers and NTCA Five Star Contractors of the Installation Design Showcase will present on the planning and on-site work dedicated towards bringing their vignettes to life in just five days. The one-hour interactive session will include a tour of all four spaces, provide insight into the thought processes behind the designs, and shed light on the installation techniques used. Thursday, April 16, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
The Millennials: The New Generation of Employees and How to Motivate Them. Join Lisbeth Calandrino of Fabulous Floors Magazine as she shares insight into the difference between baby boomers and millennials in the work place. The session will focus on educating attendees on how to keep millennials engaged. Friday, April 17, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

To learn more about conferences, programs, exhibitors and special events planned for Coverings 2015, visit 
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About Coverings
Coverings is the largest and most important ceramic tile and natural stone trade fair and expo in the United States. It features exhibitors from 40 countries and is the stage for introducing some of the most innovative tile and stone products in the world.
The exposition serves as a valuable resource for continuing education for all segments of the industry, with more than 75 informative, accredited seminars and live demonstration sessions throughout the show, all free of charge. Coverings attracts thousands of distributors, retailers, fabricators, contractors, specifiers, architectural and design professionals, builders and real estate developers, as well as journalists and bloggers who cover this vital and dynamic industry.
Sponsors of the show are The Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association  (ASCER), Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA). The show is managed by National Trade Productions.
Coverings 2015 takes place April 14-17 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. For more information, visit or contact National Trade Productions, Coverings Show Management, 703-706-8257. 
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