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KBIS and IBS Are Coming! Are You Ready?

Our mini guide to Design and Construction Week will help you get the most out of your trip

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Grab your tote bag and comfy shoes and get ready for a whirlwind of previewing new products, hearing expert industry speakers, networking and even socializing — in person! The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and the International Builders’ Show (IBS) will be held concurrently Feb. 8-10, 2022, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, comprising Design and Construction Week. Tickets are available now, and early birds get the best pricing. You can also sign up for the Houzz VIP list to get a free show pass!

The shows promise to be a wonderful chance to meet vendors and fellow pros face to face as well as to find new solutions for your design or construction business. But with more opportunities than any single person could take advantage of in just three days, and with a few changes this year, the shows might seem overwhelming to navigate. Fear not. We’re going to share tips from the organizers of both shows that will help you manage them with ease, as well as share the highlights you won’t want to miss.

Top Tips From the Show Organizers

Whichever trade show you’ll be attending, these tips will help ensure that you show up best prepared and leave satisfied.

1. Pre-plan. Both shows have info-packed websites with schedules, educational and social events, exhibitor lists, floor plans … you name it. And it’s well worth your while to settle in and take a deep dive. “With so much to see, great programming planned etc., the key is to plan ahead,” says Suzie Williford, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), which owns KBIS. “Take a look at the floor plan and create your own personalized navigation, hitting areas of interest, areas of discovery, making time for key events and programs.” And since there will be about 800 exhibitors and brands at IBS and 450 at KBIS, consider noting must-visit vendors so you don’t get swept along randomly with the tide. Plan for some downtime too — you don’t need to hit everything! Download the show app to get all the info you need at your fingertips, updated in real time. 

2. Reserve early. Tier pricing makes it worth getting a jump on buying tickets. Top events are likely to sell out, so get tickets early for your must-dos as well. “The IBS House Party, the Young Pro Party and the closing concert are all ticketed events, and they all sell out,” says John McGeary, who handles marketing and business development for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which runs IBS. “As of right now, we’re 50% sold on all those items, and those are great — not only are they fun, but they’re great networking opportunities.”

3. Ask yourself, “What do I want to get out of this show?” Since you can’t see and do everything, focus on priorities. Do you want to network, get a jump on emerging products, learn about industry trends or just come home with a whole lot of new inspiration? It’s worth taking the time to figure it out. Also ask, “What solutions does [the show] need to solve for my business?” McGeary advises.

4. Come visit Houzz! We’ll have a big presence at both shows. Meet our team, hear from experts on panels and get a demo of Houzz Pro, the all-in-one software solution for everything from marketing and lead management to estimating and creating proposals. And if you sign up for the Houzz VIP list, you’ll get a free floor pass plus the chance to win some great giveaways.

“I start by visiting KBIS.com to see which vendors are exhibiting, understand what learning opportunities I would like to attend and register for the must-see events of the show,” says expert show attendee Kerrie Kelly, fellow and former board chair of the American Society of Interior Designers. “At the same time, I book my flight and accommodations, using the discounted rates and recommendations the website offers.” While she builds her itinerary to include must-do events, “I also leave small blocks of time between events to catch up with industry friends and colleagues over coffee throughout the day,” she says. And comfy shoes are a must for Kelly: “I now pack ‘tennies’ for the exhibit floor and party shoes for the dance floor — the balance keeps me energized throughout the entire show.”

Now let’s look at each show individually.

IBS

This once-a-year event for the residential construction industry is put on by NAHB, which has more than 140,000 members and advocates for policies that make housing a national priority. While it’s always special — with hundreds of exciting product and service launches, construction demos, talks by industry leaders, workshops, educational tracks, parties and of course plenty of networking — this year it may feel even more so.

“We haven’t had the show in two years,” McGeary says. “There’s two years worth of innovation and new technologies that have been introduced that [people] haven’t been able to see in person. They may have seen it online, but they haven’t seen it demonstrated in person.” He adds that attendees will “want to spend [time] on just pure discovery,” as there will be more than 175 brand new companies out of 800 presenting at IBS in 2022.

Along with exhibitor booths, the expo has pavilions (DCW Outdoor Living Pavilion; Home Technology Solutions Pavilion), zones (IBS Jobsite Safety Zone; High Performance Building Zone) and a Home Technology Stage. A few other highlights open to all attendees (some require separate tickets):

  • Outdoor Show Village. Has demo homes, interactive programming and new product demos
  • NextBUILD. Showcases the latest home and business technologies.
  • IBS Centrals. These programs let you explore ideas, refine business skills and gain knowledge in a more informal environment than the education series.
  • IBS House Party: Tuesday, Feb. 8. A chance to network and let loose on the dance floor.
  • IBS Young Pro Party: Wednesday, Feb. 9. Pros 40 or younger can kick back after show hours with entertainment by country singer Craig Morgan.
  • Closing concert with Trace Adkins. The country music star takes to the stage.
  • The New Product Zone:  NEW for 2022, a one stop shop to see the industry's latest products and services in one location
  • The Start Up Zone:  NEW for 2022; presenting new companies with cutting-edge  products presented for the first time at IBS.

IBS is offering a great deal for first-time attendees, by the way; those who meet the criteria can attend for just $150. First timers and others can register here.

KBIS

You may already know that KBIS is the largest trade show in North America for kitchen and bath pros. How large? In 2020, KBIS welcomed over 33,000 qualified attendees including a variety of design and construction professionals from designers, dealers, architects, showrooms to custom home builders and remodelers; 2022 expo space covers more than 380,500 net square feet, featuring 450 exhibitors from around the world. Numbers aside, KBIS is a great chance to preview innovative products, to network, and to earn continuing education units (CEUs) through the NKBA Voices from the Industry Conference as well as learn from the industry pros speaking at the KBIS NeXT Stage, slated to deliver 20+ programs over the three days.  Here are a few event highlights open to all attendees (note that some require separate tickets):

  • A Night of Elegance, Featuring NKBA Design Competition & Industry Awards: Monday, Feb. 7, 6:30-11 p.m. Shake out your snazzy party attire for this kickoff event with dinner and an open bar.
  • NKBA Voices from the Industry Conference. The conference includes more than 80 live and on-demand CEU approved sessions featuring workshops as well as professional development courses.
  • DCW opening ceremonies. Tuesday, Feb. 8, 8-9 a.m. Featuring basketball legend turned businessman Earvin “Magic” Johnson. 
  • NKBA State of the Association/State of the Industry: Wednesday, Feb. 9, 8:30-10:15 a.m. NKBA CEO Bill Darcy will discuss challenges, initiatives and results achieved amid the pandemic, and  provide a road map for the future. He will welcome Ginny Clarke,  former Google executive who will speak to a holistic, five- dimensional approach to leadership.
  • The Bash: Wednesday, Feb. 9, 8:30 p.m-1:30 a.m. Dancing and drinking in style.

You can see all the ticket pricing and packages for KBIS here and register here.

Safety Protocols

While all of the usual international exhibitors and pros won’t be attending due to travel restrictions, a big turnout is a given. And that means certain COVID-related policies will be in place to help keep everyone safe. These apply for all parts of DCW, including KBIS and IBIS.

All attendees and exhibitors must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within five days of the event, or proof of full vaccination. Everyone must also wear a face mask regardless of vaccination status when riding on an official show hotel shuttle and indoors at the convention center. Cleaning and hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the center. 

Following the safety protocols, along with pre-planning and downloading the show app, will give you the best show experience possible. And don’t forget to stop by the Houzz Pro booth and say hi!

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Comments (3)

Join the conversation by commenting or asking a question below. The Houzz team reads every single comment, and we’ll get back to you by email if you need us!

  • Isaiah Brown
    9 months ago

    Hi, @Pine Park Kitchens, Inc., do you remember the topic of the presentation?

  • PRO
    Pine Park Kitchens, Inc.
    9 months ago

    there was an amazing speaker at the the houzz booth

    who was he?

  • PRO
    Kuche+Cucina
    11 months ago

    Exciting!