KBIS: This is our Super Bowl

Grace Tatigian

Last issue, we were looking forward to WMS, and unfortunately, that was rescheduled for February. So this issue, we’re choosing to stay optimistic and looking forward to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS). I chatted with Show Director Jason McGraw about what we can expect, as well as the unexpected. We spoke about COVID concerns, particularly in Florida, but McGraw was confident.

“About 80% of B2B trade show attendees are vaccinated,” explained McGraw. “And besides that, the vaccination rate in Orange County, Florida is almost 70%.”

While that information is reassuring, they’re not just going to be counting on vaccination rates.

“We’re still evaluating our health and safety measures. Our goal is to create the safest environment that we possibly can, going above and beyond CDC guidelines,” he explained. “But it’s a very personal decision, whether or not people feel like they’re ready to travel and go to a trade show.”

So McGraw does want to have options for people who aren’t up for travel and crowds just yet. This year, KBIS is introducing some hybrid components to the show. This helps everyone, not just the people who can’t get to Florida for the show. This way, people can come back to the content they missed after the show is over, they can share it with the others in their office, or they can rewatch some of the more valuable presentations. While the online components are a big added benefit, McGraw knows this can’t replace the in-person experience.

“About a third of our attendees are new every year,” he explained. “And you get something from being there that you don’t get online. The networking, the connections – people are eager to get back to that. Someone once said to me, ‘this is our Super Bowl.’ This event is important to people in this industry.”

The KBIS 2022 expo will include over 380,500 square feet and feature an expected 450 exhibitors; more than 40 new exhibitors will occupy nearly 20,000 square feet of the show. More than 85 global brands will also be present, showcasing unique and unusual products not typically found at the Orlando event. This includes four new pavilions that are more relevant than ever.

  • Healthy Living: In the face of a global health crisis, the quality of the spaces where we live is more important than ever. The pavilion will focus on products and conversations around stress-free and sustainable living and the more profound connection with nature happening in the home, and how to integrate responsible renovation into your business practice.
  • Connected Living: The need for increased human interaction, information access, and a connection with nature are just a few examples of how connected living impacts design. The pavilion will focus on new technology innovation solutions and the essential conversations and relationships between manufacturers, design pros, and home technology integrators.
  • Global Connect: This new pavilion is bringing the international stage together at KBIS Virtual. It will feature networking lounges and provocative programming, including a keynote address on the Four Pillars of the Caring Economy, Behind the Brand talks on Euro trends, and the European edition of the always popular Global Design Bites.
  • ICFF: This pavilion will be the place to find edgy, unique, one-of-a-kind, and compelling kitchen and bath products from manufacturers not typically at KBIS. Exclusive stage programming will be curated by Design Milk celebrating the individual makers and established producers, all with one common focus on “High Design.”

Registration for KBIS is open, and the event will take place from February 8 to 10, 2022, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

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