ATLANTA — The ISH North America partners agreed in December to make their show an every-other-year event. The move answers the complaints of several manufacturers in plumbing, heating and related fields who were unhappy that the annual ISH-NA show had replaced a biennial event, the North American Expo.
In response to this and other feedback, the ISH-NA show partners announced that the show would be held on an every-other-year cycle starting with the 2004 show Oct. 14-16 at the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The next show after Boston will be in 2006 in Chicago.
“It is our mission to listen to our customers and to make changes whenever such a need arises,” said D.L. “Ike” Casey, executive vice president of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association, one of the ISH-NA partners. The others include the American Supply Association, Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating and Radiant Panel Association.
In May 2003, the RPA board decided to co-locate its Radiant Expo trade show with ISH-NA, starting this year. RPA Executive Director Lawrence Drake said, “While RPA has only recently joined the partnership, we are excited to be part of an industry coalition that is fully dedicated to the goal of show consolidation and committed to meeting and exceeding their customers’ expectations.”
Along with the biennial show schedule, a new combined industry conference in “off” years is another key component of the new format, which is designed to make the events more convenient, cost effective and productive for exhibitors and attendees, according to show organizer Messe Frankfurt. The combined industry conference will include the annual conventions of the participating partners and a comprehensive program of educational, business and social events.
Rather than full-size product exhibits, booths will be limited to a table-top format, providing a venue for vendors and service providers to meet with their customers. The partnering associations intend to offer a program that will allow the attendees to choose events in a “cafeteria style.”
The combined approach will offer an educational curriculum with several tracks that will include an increased diversity of topics and speakers, according to Messe Frankfurt. Jointly hosted social events and prominent keynote speakers will add further highlights resulting from the cooperative approach to the concurrently held events.
The second ISH-NA took place Oct. 1-3, 2003, in Las Vegas. Messe Frankfurt said it surveyed all 540 exhibiting companies in the fields of kitchen and bath, plumbing, industrial PVF, heating and air conditioning as well as thousands of attendees. To provide a representative base, some non-exhibiting companies also were included in the survey, which covered much-debated industry topics as well as show-specific details such as the timing of seminars.
“ISH North America was created with the vision to provide a consolidated, comprehensive industry platform,” said Roland Bleinroth, president of Messe Frankfurt. “Only logically, we put great value on our exhibitors’ and attendees’ feedback and endeavor to constantly improve the event.”
When questioned about ISH-NA’s importance to their respective industries, 33% of exhibitors said that ISH-NA has become their most important or one of their most important marketing platforms during its short history. This group of exhibitors explained that they do not exhibit in any other or only one other national event in the United States. Among attendees surveyed, 66% said that they attend no other or only one other competing U.S. national show.
On the question of an annual vs. an every-other-year show cycle, 63% of the exhibitors preferred a biennial event. Along product segment lines, the PVF sector was the strongest proponent of a biennial event with 79%. However, the majority of HVAC/hydronics and kitchen-and-bath/plumbing exhibitors also preferred every other year by 55% and 66%.
The current show length covering 212 days received strong approval ratings from exhibitors and attendees and will remain unchanged.
“The results of our survey efforts indicated that the show enjoys a strong industry base,” said Inge Calderon, ASA’s executive vice president. “However, when we see room for improvements, we will not hesitate to take the appropriate action.”
CIPH President Ralph Suppa added, “Moving to an every-other-year format provides exhibitors and attendees with an extremely focused event and dramatically reduces their cost to participate in ISH North America.”