By Marcelle Dibrell
With the trade show season nearly upon us, some of those in the service industry will be forced to make some choices.
Due to the seasonal nature of work inside the pool and spa industry, regional trade shows are commonly scheduled in the winter and early spring months. And this year, as has been true for many years lately, three of the largest regional trade shows have chosen the same weekend for their event, and a fourth show is scheduled a week later. It appears that mid January must be the most ideal time for a pool and spa show.
In February, two additional shows are also scheduled for the same weekend.
For a lot of service technicians who generally attend trade shows in their own vicinity, this may not be a problem. However, for those who think of attending trade shows as a vacation in which the business foots the bill, the scheduling conflicts might be a little disappointing.
The conflicts might not matter to the larger manufacturers, who have both the resources and personnel to manage displaying and explaining wares in three different parts of the country.
But a big problem is presented to the smaller manufacturers and services firms who, despite their best wishes, simply can’t be in three places at once. There has to be an attractively displayed booth, with plenty of products to showcase, and an informed person behind the booth who can explain what they do. There are plenty of smaller businesses that just can’t manage all of that.
There’s a similar issue felt by guest seminar lecturers, who sometimes travel the tradeshow circuit, informing all the major trade shows in America about best practices and modern technologies. They also can’t be in three places at once.
Oh well, maybe next year…
Attending trade shows is an important way to access information about the latest equipment and products in the industry. Colorful exhibit halls feature the latest innovations in the industry, and service technicians are presented with an exclusive opportunity to handle the latest gadgets.
Manufacturer displays offer the chance to see demonstrations of the products. The booths are staffed with friendly experts who can’t wait to answer questions about their products, such as installation, troubleshooting and repair. Treasures abound in the form of free samples, tote bags, t-shirts, test strips and more!
The shows all boast of their educational rigor. Manufacturer-sponsored seminars provide service professionals the information they need to install heaters, pumps, filters, lights and more. These are great classes for beginner service professionals, and are also good places for veterans to brush up on this knowledge.
And as science progresses, products available to the pool industry have progressed as well. It’s a good idea to know about them because some of them make work a lot easier, including enzymes to assist chlorine, products that actually remove metals, a type of muriatic acid that doesn’t burn the skin. The list goes on and on.
Trade shows provide service technicians with an opportunity to see these products in the exhibit halls, and learn more about them in the seminars.
The classes are typically taught by industry veterans who know how to explain chemical information or product installation and repair in an easy-to-understand language. Questions are welcomed, and discussions frequently result, leading to an even greater growth of knowledge.
Business classes are also offered and for those looking to expand their business, these may be considered more important than ever.
The continuing education units are also a plus, and the certification courses and testing covers a wealth of topics. The value of certification cannot be overstated, especially since more and more pool owners are aware that the certification exists for service technicians. The certification helps meet consumer demand for trusted training and accreditation.
In addition, networking opportunities are endless at regional tradeshows. The shows give everyone a chance to develop useful relationships that can benefit long-term businesses, usually in a beautiful setting, and at a great price.
This year, exciting venues range from Atlantic City to Orlando, San Antonio, to Long Beach and more. In such great locations, this year’s shows are valuable business decisions and mini-vacations in one.
For this special regional trade show issue, we have assembled information for shows that occur between the months of January and March.
Later in the year, two additional shows will occur, including the Pool Industry Expo, Sept. 24-26 in Monterrey, California, and the International Pool, Spa, & Patio Expo, Nov. 7-12, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Watch for details on these shows as they approach. ■