Design & Construction Week at the Orlando County Convention Center Surpasses Expectations

ANDREA DOYLE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR

ORLANDO – The International Builders’ Show, hosted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), owned by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), recently held their first in-person shows in two years.

NKBA and NAHB joined forces for the annual Design & Construction Week (DCW), which drew more than 70,000 attendees.

Together, the connected shows featured 1,200 exhibitors occupying 750,000 net square feet of exhibit space in the Orlando County Convention Center (OCCC).

“There is no question our industry is alive and well,” said Suzie Williford, Executive Vice President, Industry Relations and Chief Strategy Officer, NKBA. “The numbers tell the story. We were so pleased to welcome 70,000 attendees, including guests from Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy and more. After two long years, it was pure joy to meet people in person and get down to business with a little fun thrown in. Design & Construction Week is a leading indicator of industry strength and clearly confirms the value of in-person events.”

KBIS, owned by the NKBA and produced by Emerald Expositions, is the largest North American trade show for the kitchen and bath industry. KBIS 2022 featured 375 exhibitors, 85 of whom were first-timers. The ratio of attendees to exhibitors was up 9% over the 2020 show, the last and one of the strongest in-person KBIS events pre-pandemic. Of the KBIS attendees, 48% were new to the show.

The NAHB International Builders’ Show is the largest annual light-construction trade show in the world. More than 45,000 home-building professionals attended  IBS in 2022. Exhibit space for IBS totaled 425,000 net square feet, where more than 800 exhibitors displayed the latest in building products and technology.

“DCW surpassed all of our expectations,” Jason McGraw, Group Vice President and Show Director for KBIS, said. “We knew we had put everything in place to create a safe event. We knew the exhibitors committed to the show would bring their ‘A’ game. We expected a strong showing of attendees, but when we beat our attendance plan we knew we had a winner. The business done at this show will drive the industry for the balance of 2022 and beyond. And we are poised for a super 2023 event with 83% of exhibit space already sold.”

Excitement Undeniable

“The excitement on the trade show floor was absolutely undeniable. Attendees were able to get out to network with industry colleagues, learn from numerous educational offerings, and see an incredible show floor filled with the top products and innovations,” Jerry Konter, 2022 NAHB Chairman and past Chairman of the NAHB Conventions and Meetings Committee, said. “With more than 70,000 attendees, Design & Construction Week was a huge success and even better than anticipated. We look forward to an even more robust show next year in Las Vegas.”

Geoff Cassidy, NAHB Senior Vice President of Exhibitions and Meetings, agreed. “The attendance at this year’s show exceeded our expectations, and reflects the enthusiasm of the home building industry to collaborate and discover the latest products and technology solutions for their customers,” Cassidy said.

Carrie Freeman Parsons, Chair, Freeman, was on hand for Design & Construction Week in Orlando and was inspired by what she saw.

“This is a show I’ve had a special connection to for pretty much my whole career, so it’s an understatement to say I was excited about it being back. Similar to the other shows I’ve attended as in-person events come back, I expected to see familiar faces and to relish just in the opportunity of being together. Things have seemed a little muted so far, so what I didn’t expect was the level of energy I found buzzing through the OCC — the aisles were full and the atmosphere optimistic. We’re back!” she said.

Building and remodeling has thrived during the pandemic, but not without the challenges of labor shortages, supply-chain issues and COVID-related restrictions.

“What I was reminded of was the unique power of events to not just bring people together, but how doing so addresses the real life challenges of an industry — to meet face-to-face with suppliers, learn about the work the association is doing, try new products, network with experts in lots of areas, hear about trends and new technology. Events advance business,” Freeman Parsons said. “I’m so happy for all our clients and happy for our industry, and very encouraged by what I experienced about how we as an industry are showing up. In all we’ve been through, Design & Construction Week was a great reminder to never underestimate the power of events and the impact of the events industry. Wow! Just look at what we do!”

Reach Jason McGraw at (770) 291-5435 or Jason.mcgraw@emeraldx.com; Geoff Cassidy at gcassidy@nahb.org; Jerry Konter at ethompson@nahb.org; Carrie Freeman Parsons at (214) 445-1150 or carrie.parsons@freemanco.com