The International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo is seeing a strong uptick in exhibitor and attendee registration.
The event will be held at New Orleans’ Morial Convention Center for the first time since 2003, and officials are pleased with the industry’s response to the new venue.
“I’ve been with Hanley Wood for about 11 years and we’ve
never had this kind of excitement going into a city on any of the
events I’ve worked on,” said Lindsay Roberts, show
director at Hanley Wood, LLC (also parent company of Aquatics
International). “I think New Orleans is a huge part of
The conference runs Nov. 2-8, with exhibits beginning on Nov. 6.
Enthusiasm for the venue and a general optimism about the industry
are beginning to show in the Expo’s exhibitor and
registration figures, organizers reported. At press time, 484
companies had signed on as exhibitors, up from 462 for the same
week of 2011. Total booth space was at 148,000 square feet, a 20
percent boost over last year’s final floor plan.
And for the first time since 2008, all of the “Big
Three” manufacturers — Hayward Pool Products, Pentair Aquatic Systems and Zodiac Pool Systems — will exhibit.
As far as attendees, it’s still too early in the process to
give a solid indication of things to come, Roberts said. But
preregistration numbers saw a significant bump from the same time
last year. The number of hotel room nights booked, an indicator of
exhibitor and attendee activity, was double that from the same time
last year, she added.
“That is a huge indicator of things to come,” Roberts
noted. “People feel the need to get their hotel rooms locked
in before they’re sold out or the rate goes up.”
This year’s conference will include 74 seminars, 46 of which
are new. An educational track on social media marketing is being
debuted and has shown strong preregistration numbers.
Several associations will present training sessions for
certifications, including the American Shotcrete Association/American
Concrete Institute’s Shotcrete Nozzleman Program; the National
Plasterers Council Start-Up Program; and the National Swimming Pool
Foundation’s Certified Pool Operator Course. The Foundation for Pool &
Spa Industry Education and NSPF also will present the Certified
Aquatic Energy Auditor introduction seminar.
In addition, programs will be presented by Genesis 3 and the
Association of Pool & Spa Professionals.
Hanley Wood also is set to debut new pool-industry data that will
provide information about the performance of key markets this year
and prospects for the near future, as well as top pool and spa
contractors and profiles of the consumers most likely to purchase
pools and spas. The information is compiled by independent research
firm Hanley Wood Market Intelligence and will be
presented by Jonathan Smoke, executive director. Each attendee will
receive a complimentary summary report from the presentation, which
also is sponsored by Pool & Spa News.
To allow more time for meeting with exhibitors, the show floor will
open an hour earlier this year, at 10 a.m. Organizers also removed
the first-morning power panel sessions to accommodate the change in Expo hours.
The first day of the exhibits will be highlighted by a visit from
swimmer Michael Phelps, history’s most decorated Olympian,
with 22 medals. He is expected to attend the ribbon-cutting
ceremony, after which he will spend a short time at the Master Spas booth.
Attendees can relax at Tuesday night’s welcome party, which
will take place at Mardi Gras World. The venue features work by the
Blaine Kern Studios, which is responsible for many of the floats in
New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras parade. Besides floats, the
popular facility also has sculptures and props on display, which
attendees can view while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, drinks and music.
“We are incredibly excited,” Roberts said.
“It’s been a long time since you really felt like
people are excited about the industry they’re in, and excited
to move forward.”