K/BIS Heads Back to Las Vegas

Professionals in the kitchen and bath industry gather every year at the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show to learn about new products and to get ahead of the curve. This year K/BIS will be center stage in Las Vegas after a two-year absence.

The conference begins May 7 with the show floor opening May 8. “[We expect] there to be 40,000 professionals that will be in attendance over the three-day show,” says Sean Ruck, manager of public relations and editorial services for the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

This number is an increase from last year with attendance growing every year, Ruck adds. “The industry itself is growing and people see a benefit of getting in front of all the people we have there,” he says.

With K/BIS in Chicago last year, there are a few changes for the 2007 Las Vegas edition. Anyone who has attended a convention knows the difficulty and challenges of relying on buses and taxis, so a shuttle is available which runs from the convention center to a number of different hotels. “The shuttle is handy and good to keep in mind, definitely when trying to get to and from hotels. It’s more cost-effective and quicker than a bus in some cases,” Ruck says.

This year K/BIS will feature more than 900 exhibitors, more than in any year before. “We are in three halls this year. Last time we were in Las Vegas, we were in the north and central halls, and now we are in north, central and upper-level south. There’s more walking involved to see everything, but on the plus side it’s because we have more exhibitors than ever, and more to see,” Ruck adds.

A returning feature is the Design Idea Center found at NKBA’s booth N1237. At the Design Idea Center, NKBA has partnered with Meredith Corp. and will display five rooms by designers from NKBA and Meredith Corp. Center Stage is another returning feature where a multitude of presentations on hot topics and trends will be available. “It’s like a forum where professionals can learn about things such as green design and universal design,” he says.

A change at the show is the time and place where the design awards are presented. “In years past, we used to reveal it at the board of directors gala the day before the show. But this year we decided for those awards to be presented and winners honored the first day of the show at Center Stage,” Ruck says. “Along with the professional competition, we have student design competition winners who will be honored there, too.”

For those attendees looking for new products, the New Product Pavilion is a great resource. “It shows products that are just coming out in the market and are all located in one spot. There’s a link for the New Product Pavilion at the K/BIS website, kbis.com, under attendees,” he says.

Education conferences are also important to NKBA’s members. “For those people who are looking to expand their knowledge in design or business management, we offer all of those [classes] throughout the show schedule,” Ruck says. “We have professional courses such as the Kitchen Starter for people getting into the industry, and courses for people who have been in the industry for a long time.”

NKBA has partnered with multiple associations to offer better and more information to its members. “We’re partnering with companies that make sense,” Ruck says. “There’s really something for just about any type of interest in the industry.”