The International Surface Event (TISE) returned to Las Vegas this year, where it once again was hosted at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Comprised of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, Surfaces and Tile Expo, TISE West is an annual event that aims to bring together various stone, tile and flooring professionals to network and showcase the newest, most innovative products. This year’s edition was held from January 19 to 22, 2016, where the layout was adapted to feature everything on one floor, opposed to two floors, alike previous years.

“The quality of the attendees was outstanding, and having the exhibits all on one floor added to the overall atmosphere,” said Bart Bettiga, executive director for the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), who explained how TISE was a great event for both the NTCA and the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), which is heavily involved in certifications, live demonstrations and installations at the show.

“The Informa team, [the organizers of the show], did a great job of tackling the challenges of the migration to having everything and everyone on one floor,” added Scott Humphrey, President/CEO, World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). “The WFCA was extremely pleased by the activity at our booth and the buzz throughout the entire convention hall. This was our most productive show since the industry downturn in 2006-2007. As one who has been in the industry my entire life, I have to say that it was great having practically all of the industry under one roof.”

With 750 exhibitors and thousands of attendees, TISE West was also part of the third annual Design & Construction Week, an initiative that featured four different trade shows throughout the city during the same time period, which attracted more than 125,000 attendees collaboratively. It was apparent this collaboration affected TISE’s attendance, since the aisles and booths were packed throughout the three-day event, confirming the overall success and growth since the show’s inception in 2014.

“A constant buzz of business occurring on the floor could be heard from every corner of the newly expanded, one-floor exhibit hall; the positive energy was contagious,” said Amie Gilmore, director of TISE. “[A total of] 72% of the exhibit hall was booked on-site by exhibitors for the 2017 event. We are really looking forward to building on the success of this year for the industry in 2017.”

Show highlights

TISE’s ultimate goal is to showcase the newest products, hands-on demos, inspiring trends, key manufacturers, industry suppliers, along with unmatched education and networking. As one of the largest floor covering, stone and tile industry events in North America, the exhibition brings together buyers and sellers from all over the world to see the latest products, trends, services and technologies the industry has to offer.

Total attendance increased by 10%, with national and international attendees present from all segments of the industry, including distributors, buying groups, retailers, designers, architects, installers, fabricators and more. The relatively new Ignite Education Program, a unique program that offered participants proven strategies for increasing a company’s profitability and productivity, which was sponsored by Floor Focus, Floor Covering Weekly, Stone World, Contemporary Stone & Tile Design and Floor Covering News, also showed significant growth since last year when it was developed, with standing room only in many sessions. With over 55 new classes, 100 speakers and 282 obtainable continuing education (CEU) credits offered, the program saw a 7% increase in participation.

“The 2016 Ignite program was incredible, raising the bar and expectations of attendees on the information they can and will receive through the program,” said Jennifer Hughes, TISE education manager. “It is our goal to be an unparalleled resource for industry education that is unique and game-changing for industry professionals. We are really looking forward to seeing the incredible entries submitted for the 2017 program.”

“There was a buzz of optimism at TISE West about the market and the show,” added James Hieb, CEO of MIA+BSI. “It was clear that attendance was up and the educational programming offered was excellent.”

New features

This year, TISE launched the Installation Showcase, an area with four stages that showcased live demonstrations detailing the most common installation issues for bathrooms, kitchens, living spaces and bedroom remodels; as well as the latest techniques and tricks for installing carpet, flooring and tile. According to the majority of attendees, this show feature was a huge success. “The installation stages were packed with interested attendees, and led to great leads for both membership and certification,” Bettiga explained.

Also new this year was TISE’s “Living Magazine” — a new twist that was added to a popular show feature, The Trends Hub. The Trends Hub was essentially transformed into a sleek, modern “Living Magazine,” where attendees had the experience of taking a 3-D walk through a magazine-experience featuring the forecasted trends and colors for interiors for 2016 and 2017, product samples, and interactive social media and trends sessions.

“The 2016 International Surface Event (TISE) in Vegas was a hit,” said Ted Skaff, vice president of marketing for Lackmond Products, Inc. “The attendance, booth traffic and energy was the best we have seen in several years. Not only was the traffic heavier than the last few years at TISE West, but there were many qualified buyers ready to purchase. The building and construction cycle is certainly favorable and the TISE team does an outstanding job of building on that, marketing their show and bringing in quality attendance through the doors. We look forward to the 2017 show.”

Looking toward the future

One major announcement made during the show, aside from all of the accolades, was the official joining of the Marble Institute of America (MIA) and the Building Stone Institute (BSI). Both organizations’ presidents, Dan Rea of the MIA and Rob Barnes of the BSI, held a ceremony to recognize the formal signing of the agreement, which forms the new organization/partnership known as “MIA+BSI.” “TISE west was the first major 2016 event for the new joint venture between the Marble Institute of America and the Building Stone Institute which included a member networking reception that broke all previous records for attendance,” said Hieb.

With all of the new partnerships, show features and educational programs being developed over the last couple of years, it’s apparent TISE is starting to focus on more than just new product introductions. At this year’s edition, TILE observed more of a focus on networking and education, which was confirmed by the various manufacturers we spoke to. “TISE 2016 provided me with the most applicable and up-to-date business leadership educational seminars as compared to any other event I’ve attended,” said one attendee. “This is a must-attend event.”


The next edition of TISE West will be held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, from January 18 to 20, 2017. For more information, visit