Coverings, the most comprehensive tile and stone marketplace in the Americas, announced that the number of registered attendees at the 2005 show, held from May 3 - May 6 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, was 32,228. This figure reflects a 10 percent increase in registered attendees from Coverings 2004, making this the second consecutive year of double-digit growth and the highest attendance on record.
"We are thrilled by the overwhelming response we've received and the increase in numbers across virtually all key industry segments," says Tamara Christian, Coverings' show director and president, National Trade Productions. "These numbers prove that once again, Coverings is the place where tile and stone professionals from around the world come to do business. We've certainly raised the bar and our team is already looking ahead to make Coverings 2006 another year to remember."
National Trade Productions registration data showed significant growth in five key industry categories as the reason behind the record attendance at Coverings 2005. This data shows a 25 percent increase over last year among installers, followed by tile and stone specifiers, who were 17 percent above 2004 numbers. Dealers and retailers were close behind with a 15 percent jump, while fabricators and contractors representation increased by 10 percent and 7 percent respectively.
In addition, data from Coverings 2005 showed attendance from all 50 U.S. states and 90 other countries. While 86 percent of attendees live in the United States, another nine percent traveled from elsewhere in the Americas. Representatives from Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania made up five percent of the total show attendance.
Syndicated columnist and humorist Dave Barry, gave the keynote address to a sellout crowd at Coverings 2005. Barry's witty and thought provoking commentary covered a wide range of topics from Florida politics and Social Security to relationships between men and women. Barry Wood of "Trading Spaces", one of the top-rated shows on The Learning Channel, and Leatrice Eiseman, principal of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training, also presented at the show.
Coverings' show floor this year boasted a wide variety of new tile and stone trends, materials and programs that along with the huge array of state-of-the-art tools and machinery, made up the largest display of tile and stone exhibitors that Coverings has ever seen. Also featured on the show floor were live tile and stone installation demonstrations by the TCA and NTCA, which were often filled to capacity.
"I have been attending Coverings for three years, and the quality of tile and stone exhibits just keeps getting better," says Sam Raslan of Advanced Cutting Solutions, Atlanta. "This year especially, the show floor was magnificent and the product presentations were excellent. Exhibitors were willing to spend time with me to help me find the right products for my business. The atmosphere was welcoming, friendly and focused - and even the food was great! I was so impressed and excited that I extended my trip for one more day - I didn't want to miss a thing."
Coverings also offered highly targeted educational seminars for all attendee communities, including architects/designers, installers, dealers, distributors and fabricators. Many of the seminars offered ASID, AIA, or Florida State Continuing Education Units.
"The Coverings' educational agenda helps professionals like myself stay abreast of new developments in the tile and stone industry, and is one of the main reasons why I've been attending the show for the past 15 years," says Brian Knies, president, TileAmerica!.
Coverings also organized three Appreciation Night events, to honor contractors, members of the design/build communities, and dealers and distributors attending the show. Attendees were shuttled to off-site venues located along the famed Universal City Walk, including The Groove, The Latin Quarter and Pat O'Brien's Orlando, for private parties where they could network and build industry contacts in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. The three events won rave reviews from participants and two of the parties garnered record attendance.