The International Surface Event (TISE) West returned to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, where it was held in conjunction with the city’s second annual Design & Construction Week™, which attracted nearly 125,000 housing industry professionals. Held from January 21 to 23, 2015 — with educational programming beginning on January 20 — Informa Exhibitions U.S. (formerly Hanley Wood Exhibitions) reported that TISE, which includes Surfaces | StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas | TileExpo, experienced attendance comparable to last year’s show, with a steady flow of visitors from the International Builders’ Show (IBS), Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) and Las Vegas Market — the four other industry tradeshows involved with Design & Construction Week.

Overall the exhibition experienced a 7% increase from last year’s event, with an increased number of architect and designer attendees. Exhibitors and attendees at this year’s show traveled from more than 80 countries, with significant global representation from markets such as Mexico, China, Australia, Japan and Italy, according to Informa Exhibitions U.S.

A total of 707 exhibiting companies showcased a range of their new products and services on two floors of the convention center, which covers approximately 350,000 square feet of space. Roughly 22% of the exhibiting companies were new participants to the show, further indicating the growth of the floor covering, stone and tile industries in both residential and commercial design and construction markets. Live, interactive demonstrations from companies such as Mapei and Custom Building Products were also held throughout the duration of the show to give attendees a better grasp of how new products, tools and equipment should be utilized.

“The International Surface Event 2015 was one of the strongest in recent history,” said Dana Teague, Vice President of Informa Exhibitions U.S. “The synergy from having five shows taking place the same week provided substantial new business opportunities for both exhibitors and attendees.”

Several exhibitors shared Teague’s comments, agreeing that having the other tradeshows in town was greatly beneficial. “I haven’t been to TISE since 2009, and I was pleasantly surprised,” said Dave Hanna, Marketing Manager for NAC Products. “There were a lot of people there from KBIS and IBS, and I thought it was a huge benefit having both shows during the same week. It drove a lot of traffic and professionals through town and the convention center. The overlap was huge; it was a very positive experience for us.”

View The International Surface Event West 2015 Product Offerings in the slideshow above

“By including TISE as part of Design & Construction Week, we saw an uptick in not only attendance, but breadth of attendees,” said Lindsey-Ann Waldrep, Vice President of Marketing for Crossville. “The number of kitchen and bath designers coming to our booth exceeded expectations. As the housing community continues to expand, TISE gives us exposure not just to retailers and contractors, but the design community, and brings the Crossville brand to all stakeholders in the residential market.”

“Attendance picked up this year and I absolutely did see an increase in traffic because of the other shows,” added Don Mariutto, Vice President of Marketing for Mediterranea. “It shows a good deal of optimism of where we’re going in this industry. It’s a good way to start 2015 for sure.”

Lori Kirk-Rolley, Vice President of Brand Marketing for Daltile, a company that had booths at TISE, KBIS and IBS, said she’d be intrigued to see how all of the shows involved with Design & Construction Week benefitted from each year. “I would love for them [Informa Exhibitions U.S.] to be able to capture data to see how beneficial it was to hold all of the shows at the same time,” she said. “It was a little tricky [for us] with three shows, having to prioritize and all, but we were really crowded and very busy.”

Along with an increase in visitors, TISE 2015 also saw a significant double-digit increase in its educational program, with over 25% of attendees registering for different sessions offered throughout the show. “We constantly re-evaluate our education program in order to deliver the most relevant topics facing our industry,” said Jennifer Hughes, Education Manager for TISE.  “We were extremely pleased to see so many attendees make education a priority in 2015. We feel it will only continue to grow.”

With each passing year, the textures and finishes on tiles are becoming more realistic looking and refined. A popular trend that continues to flourish is the wood-look tile, with companies expanding their lines to incorporate more veined and highly veined details — as well as textures and etchings to replicate that of the real thing. More rectified wood looks were apparent this year at TISE as well, as companies are starting to focus more on perfecting the varying sizes of different types of tiles. Stone-look tiles inspired by marbles, granites and onyx also remained popular, as well as cement- and concrete-looking tiles with a sheen and iridescent glaze — some of which looked like they belonged on the floors of old factories or buildings. High-end, decorative, glass and specialty mosaics were some new items that were plentiful on the show floor, marking the return of luxury products, while a range of large-format and thin porcelain tiles on display signified how both sizes are equal contenders in today’s market.

One of the popular new trends TILE observed this year, in regard to color, was gray. Whether in a wood-, stone- or even cement-brushed look, companies are beginning to incorporate many different shades of gray into their product lines — which has become one of the most in-demand colors, according to many manufacturers. “When it comes to design, customers are taking more risks and trying out new trends,” said Kirk-Rolley.

For the second year, the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program conducted live certification tests and demonstrations, allowing attendees to witness the procedures and skills necessary to passing the certifications within the program. ACT addresses four technically challenging installation areas of current importance: Large-Format Tile Installation and Substrate Preparation, Mudwork, Shower Pans and Membranes. Since the ACT program started in 2012, 200 people have been certified, according to Scott Carothers, Executive Director of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), who was involved with the creation of the program.

“We did really well this year,” said Carothers. “Usually on the first day, we don’t see anybody until around 11 a.m., but [this year] we had people lining up when the show doors opened. We had excellent traffic. All in all, I think we had a good show.”

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) was also heavily involved, conducting three days of on-floor tile installation demonstrations, which were free for registered guests and administered by NTCA trainers, Gerald Sloan and Michael Whistler. These specially designated tile educational demonstrations, sponsored by Daltile, focused on surface preparation for floors and walls, large-format tile installation for walls and floors, grouting for floors and walls, installation of membranes for tile and stone, shower pan preparation and installation, glass tile installations, thin tile installations, installation of mud floors and mud walls, installation of mortar for maximum coverage, stone tile installations and heated floor tile installations.

“The momentum is already building for TISE 2016, which will once again be held in conjunction with Design & Construction Week,” said Amie Gilmore, Director of TISE. “Nearly 80% of the show floor for the 2016 event is already sold.”

TISE 2016 will again return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, where it will be held from January 20 to 22, 2016, with the educational program beginning on January 19. TISE East, which was launched last year in an effort to provide an event for industry professionals on the East Coast, will be held from November 3 to 5, 2015 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, with the education program beginning on November 2.

“Overall, we’re very pleased with the outcome of the 2015 event,” said Teague. “We enacted new strategies and marketing programs, brought new features to the show floor, added numerous education opportunities and established a great partnership between TISE and the Design & Construction Week events. Plans are already formulating to make 2016 bigger and better.”

For information on exhibiting or attending TISE 2016, visit www.TISEwest.com.