DALLAS – Attendees and exhibitors filled the Morial Convention Center with energy and excitement during the recent 2012 Int’l Pool | Spa | Patio Expo. Taking place in New Orleans for the first time since 2003, the show took place Nov.6-8, with the educational conference taking place Nov. 2-8.
Total attendance was 10,202, a 5 percent increase over the 2011 show, marking the third year in a row the show has seen an increase in total attendance. Attendees represented all segments of the industry, including pool/spa builders, retailers, service companies, designers and landscape architects.
“We are very pleased with the number of attendees and with the enthusiasm they brought to the buying and selling activity on the show floor,” said Lindsay Roberts, Director of the Expo. “New Orleans was a real draw for attendees as exhibitors enjoyed steady traffic as they introduced hundreds of new and innovative products to high-caliber decision-makers.”
In attendance were representatives from the industry’s leading retailers and pool builders, including Leslie's Poolmart, Blue Haven Pools & Spas, The Pool Doctor, Dolphin Pools, Claffey Pools, J Tortella Swimming Pools, Perry Pools, Gohlke Custom Pools, Platinum Pools, Backyards of America, Olympic Hot Tub Co, Mermaid Pools & Spas and Pinch-A-Penny.
Attendees represented all 50 states, with the largest number from Texas, Louisiana, California, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, New York, Mississippi and North Carolina. The largest number of international attendees came from Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, Venezuela, Belgium, Columbia and Ecuador.
The show floor was comprised of 1,555 booths, 548 exhibiting companies, and 155,500 net square feet of exhibit space, a 26 percent increase over 2011, with an additional 10,000 net square feet of educational and training space.
Of the 548 exhibiting companies, 107 were first-time exhibitors including Aspen Spas, Tallman Pools, Easy Dome Pool Covers, Green Mountain Grills, Panama Jack Outdoor and Lyon Financial.
“This was our first time to exhibit and felt the overall quality of attendee was far greater than expected," said Daniel Epple, director of marketing and business development at Only Alpha Pool Products. "Given the explosion of growth Only Alpha Pool Products is experiencing, we will certainly be exhibiting at the 2013 show with a larger booth space."
Returning to the show were several key manufacturers who have not exhibited in several years, including Hayward Pool Products, Zodiac Pool Systems, Cal Spas, Imperial Pools, Marquis Spas, Saratoga Spa & Bath and Maax Spas.
"Hayward was proud to exhibit at the show again," said Bruce Porter, director of marketing communications at Hayward Pool Products. "We had great traffic at our booth and attendees were excited about our new product lines."
Exhibitors were pleased with the number of leads and inquiries that were generated. "We were overwhelmed with the amount of international attendees who were interested not only in our services, but the possibility of purchasing a franchise,” said Adam Gray, marketing director at american leak detection. “No other show offers such an eclectic mix of people in one space."
In addition to the show floor’s buying and selling activity, the show’s conference program offered 74 business, technical and “hot topic” seminars designed to improve skills through best practices and the latest technologies.
“The conference program was exactly what I needed. Each seminar provided more than enough information,” said Corey Biron, owner at Moxie Pools. “It was a great opportunity to learn about new products and meet key manufacturing contacts that I have already tapped to help us resolve customer issues.”
"We attend primarily for the seminars that help us grow our business," said Brian McGarry, president at Sapphire Signature Pools. "We know that our products and service are better than the competition who does not attend."
"I attended the show for the first time and found all the valuable information learned in the seminars extremely useful,” said Igor SIsteroli, Interior Designer at The Gib-San Group. “The seminars have been a great help to my career.”
In addition to the show’s core educational program, advanced, pre-show educational programs were offered for pool/spa builders/designers and service company professionals through the APSP Builders Institute, APSP Technical Service Institute, APSP Hot Tub Technician Certification, Genesis 3 Design Schools, Genesis 3 Elements of Construction and Genesis 3 Introduction to Perspective Drawing.
Show floor highlights and special events. The APSP Live Zone encompassed the APSP booth, the hands-on live workshops and classroom presentations where attendees learned additional product information about some of the products being demonstrated in the workshops.
Once again the Product Showcase, sponsored by AQUASALT, offered the hottest industry trends and the latest new, cool and green products. From a selection of more than 96 products, a panel of industry experts awarded Natural Current the “Best New Product” for its Savior 5000, a floating, submersible, portable, solar pump and filtration system by Aqua Sun Ozone. The panelists also awarded SNTech with “Best Green Product” for its Infinity 2.8 VS pool pump motor.
The opening night Welcome Party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, was held at Mardi Gras World, located next door to the Morial Convention Center. Sponsored by Strong Pools and Spas, attendees and exhibitors networked while browsing the floats, sculptures and props used in the Mardi Gras parade, before moving to the Plantation-styled Mansion, filled with delicious Cajun hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and soda.
Saber Grills hosted the Saber Grills BBQ & Jazz Fest on Wednesday, Nov.7, and drew a standing room only crowd of attendees and exhibitors who enjoyed tasty grilled treats cooked on the new infrared Saber grills.
The Genesis 3 Lifestyle Program hosted a variety of networking and educational opportunities on the show floor, including seven design, business and engineering classes, as well as a winetasting with Gary Eberle of Eberle Winery.
Save the Date for 2013
The 2013 Int’l Pool | Spa | Patio Expo will be held November 12-14, 2013, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The educational conference will be held Nov. 9-14. Housing and online registration will open in late June.