NKBA, Nielsen Host Forums to Evaluate Ideas for Enhancing KBIS
Hackettstown, NJ — To address some of the issues facing KBIS, an extensive research project was initiated by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) and show producer Nielsen Expositions last year.
According to 2010 NKBA president Mark L. Karas, CMKBD, CR of Stoneham, MA-based Adams Kitchens: "Immediately following the show, Nielsen – which is probably the biggest statistical company out there when it comes to things like this – actually hired a third party [unrelated to] Nielsen and said, ‘Here are our exhibitors, get some feedback.'" Third-party focus groups surveyed retailers, designers, dealers, distributors and other industry leaders.
As an extension of the NKBA and Nielsen's commitment toward improving KBIS, a select group of industry professionals were also invited for a summit in October, 2010 to meet with NKBA officials and share their thoughts about ways to improve KBIS.
Among them was Ann Rottinghaus, marketing communications director for Oak Brook, IL-based Elkay. Rottinghaus believes that the show "lacks sizzle," and feels action needs to be taken to restore the excitement and buzz that KBIS once had. As it stands, she says, "We don't know that there is a compelling enough reason for attendees to spend their money to go to the show. In the past, I remember there being a lot more activity, but I'm not sure that alone is going to solve the problem."
In Rottinghaus' opinion, the format itself needs to be addressed. "Our main recommendation [at the summit] was to move to an every-other-year format."
To further jazz things up, she suggests: "Perhaps more sizzle can be achieved through a lot more multimedia on the floor, sponsored by the association or by its partners. Let's bring this show into this century."
She adds: "Why not create an education pavilion on the floor, where exhibitors can book time or buy time in 20-minute segments and have industry experts speak to design topics, not products. It would become a real centerpiece for what the NKBA is all about – promoting good design."
While NKBA refused to comment about the suggestions for an every-other-year format, NKBA did incorporate many of the suggestions relating to technology into KBIS 2011. Karas notes: "We have enhanced the KBIS 2011 experience under the theme ‘Collaborate.' ‘Innovate' ‘Inspire,' " and he points to several technological "firsts" for the show.
For instance, the show will introduce mobile applications, interactive, hands-on displays and new educational forums, according to Karas. Additionally, attendees and exhibitors will be able to utilize KBIS Connect, an online scheduling and mapping tool that will allow them to plan and update meetings and classes as well as research and review exhibits and products.
A KBIS smart phone app, launched last month, will also be available, and attendees will be able to download a KBIS QR (quick response) code to access show guides and materials throughout the venue, NKBA concludes.