2014 IPSPE Trade Show In Orlando Seen As A Success By Most Attendees!
November 7, 2014
The 2014 International Pool, Spa & Patio Expo was held this week in sunny Orlando, FL. The annual trade show exhibit hall was open Wednesday November 5 through Friday November 7, 2014. Thousands of attendees from the swimming pool, hot tub and backyard industry were there to check out all the new 2015 products offered by literally hundreds of vendors covering the gigantic Convention Center floor.
The weather was particularly nice for Orlando, often known for their occasional rainy downpours in the afternoons. But this week was bathed in sun with the temperatures in the 80’s.
Pool and Spa guys and girls started arriving to town as early as Sunday. Mostly because of the many educational seminars being offered for a few days prior to the Exhibition Floor opening up on Wednesday.
The close proximity of the Orlando Convention Center to many other popular attractions like Sea World, Disney World and the Universal Studios Theme Park made this IPSPE Convention a bit more “family friendly” than many of the other venues the IPSPE has been held at over the past few years. This week, many attendees brought their kids along as well.
Normally, the annual pool & spa trade show is held in locations such as Las Vegas, New Orleans or Atlantic City – which are great places to hold conventions – however are not particularly “family-friendly” venues. One exhibitor said “That (fact) is a bit of a double edged sword. While a lot of the attendees brought their families to this convention, that often includes young kids.” He added that “The Orlando area is great for families and kids, so a lot of the attendees are not sticking around the trade show for as long as they normally do – when the show is held in Vegas or New Orleans.”
One show attendee we spoke to echoed that sentiment saying “Normally I go to these shows with my wife and 4 or 5 of my guys from our store. We normally go to a few seminars and then try to hit the show floor for a few hours each day. However when my sons heard that this years’ show was going to be in Orlando, of course the topic of Disney World came up – and before you know it – my wife and I brought the kids, and the other service guys had to stay home.”
A very happy exhibitor noted that “Although the traffic at this show was a little lighter than we normally get at an International level Expo, the folks who we did speak to were definitely here to buy. There were not as many “lookie loos” (sic) and tire kickers as we are used to seeing. A lot of the guys who came to this show were serious. They knew what they needed to see or buy, and they did it. They were a bit more business-oriented than many of the pool & spa guys we see in Las Vegas or Atlantic City who sometimes just want to go out gambling and partying. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a different group here in Orlando than we are used to seeing compared to Vegas or Atlantic City.”
However one New York hot tub dealer was a bit disappointed. He said that “We normally look forward to the IPSPE show each November because historically, this show featured a lot more hot tub manufacturers than the other national shows. We came here specifically to look for another spa line to carry, and were somewhat disappointed to see so few spa manufacturers here. Many of the spa companies we had hoped to check out were nowhere to be found.” He continued that “It seems like the West Coast manufacturers were very under represented here for some reason.”
Another pool guy tends to disagree. “I thought this show was great because I was in and out in just a few hours. I got to speak to all the companies I had on my list, and we found a new swim spa manufacturer to feature in our stores. I loved the large array of manufacturers we could network with here. I couldn’t be happier.”
A representative from a large swimming pool manufacturer we spoke to reported that “I just think a lot of people were tired of having the show each year in Las Vegas. Nothing against Vegas at all – I personally love going there, but the change of venue this year makes the show seem kind of fresh and new.” She continues saying that “The economy is getting better, and this is the first show I can recall where so many of the attendees spoke about having a great year, or their best year ever. Gosh, I have not heard words like that come out of a dealer’s mouth since like 2007 (laughs). I hope this upward trend continues in 2015!”
However some folks were not quite so happy. Not happy about the venue. Not happy about the attendance. And not happy about the lack of after hours entertainment typically found in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Atlantic City. One somewhat bitter show exhibitor put it bluntly when he said “Look…. let’s call a spade a spade. I think this show sucked. I think Orlando sucks. I think the attendance here sucks, and there is no place to go gamble right outside the Convention Hall. God I miss Vegas!”
Although his feelings may be a bit extreme, there was definitely an underlying longing from many folks to be back in Las Vegas. One longtime trade show exhibitor said “We are a West Coast spa manufacturer, and obviously having the IPSPE show in Vegas is better for us for numerous reasons. It is closer, it pulls more of a hot tub crowd, the whole feeling of the “show week” is a bit more relaxed and laid back, and we always get more leads from that show than any other one we do all year. From what I understand, the show will be back in Vegas for 2015. I certainly hope so.”
And yet, just feet away, on the other side of the Convention Floor aisle, another hot tub manufacturer – also from the West Coast – told us that “This has been a great show for us. I love Florida, and the weather has been great this week. I also have to give a lot of credit to this Convention Center. This is a terrific place to hold a show. I also think that many of the booths are very well done this year. I enjoyed the fact that there were a lot of backyard and patio exhibits here as well. This show seemed a bit fresher to me, and less mundane than the other shows I’ve been to.”
She also added that “We got a lot of great East Coast leads over the last two days. Being from California, that is excellent for us. We normally don’t exhibit at the Atlantic City show, so them moving the IPSPE show to Orlando opened it up a bit more for us. I hope they have this show here again soon.”
Another group of bubbly sales reps told us that “This show is beautifully done. Take a look at some of these booths. They are top quality. We love all the patio products too.” One said “I am soooo gonna buy that guy’s whole fire pit display on Friday once the show closes. That will look great in our store in Jersey.”
Booths of special note were those of Premium Leisure LLC, Cal Spas, Spa Retailer, Coast Spas, Bullfrog Spas, Artesian Spas, Marquis Spas, the LaMotte Company, Latham International, Pool Cover Specialists and Strong Spas… among others…
One exhibitor’s unique promotional idea was to take 40+ attendees back to their hot tub factory in Saint Petersburg, where they could see the plant where their hot tubs were produced!
A great time was had by all, at the Premium Leisure facility, where prospective customers could check out their actual manufacturing facilities! What a great marketing idea on the part of Premium Leisure!
So in conclusion, it seems like this show was an overall success. Sure there are always going to be some people who don’t like a particular venue or a specific town.
And while Las Vegas still remains one of the top Convention destinations in the world, having a change once in a while is not a bad thing. Although not as many West Coast folks came to this show, there were definitely a lot more East Coast people here. And they seemed to really enjoy their first glimpse at a huge International show of this nature.
Overall, most people seemed to have had a great time this week, and the folks at Hanley Wood should be congratulated for organizing such an impressive event for our Industry!
Take a look at some additional photos from the show:
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