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Industry trade shows and conferences can on one hand be painfully long, but on the other hand, they can result in very promising lines of revenue if managed correctly. In the beginning part of 2008, the flooring industry will come together to celebrate the previous year and to plan for the next. In Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, on January 30th to February 1st, the SURFACES conference will take place. It is at this location that nearly 50,000 flooring industry decision makers will gather for educational purposes and for deal making. Builders, retailers, distributors, manufacturers, designers, architects and installers will all come together under one roof where it is certain that business contacts will be made and potential relationships established. This is an event where the cost of not attending is significant.

According to the sales manager for the conference, veteran exhibitors are this year requesting for even more space for their displays, and new exhibitors are lining up to see how they can get involved. This is very exciting for everyone, as the more people that can gather together under one roof, the more productive the event will be as a whole. This is also a wonderful learning opportunity to become familiar with all the new products and all the new trends in the flooring industry. It is important to see what people are buzzing about and to try and stay ahead of the curve and on-top of the next best seller and the next best hit.

Manufacturers also find that the SURFACES conference is a great place to connect one-on-one with their retailers. This may include just a quick face-to-face conversation, or this may include a more formal business dinner. Nevertheless, personal human interaction is really the key to a successful business relationship. It is important to know your clients on a level beyond email or voice mail. This is how strong and lasting alliances are forged.

One of the main highlights of the SURFACES conference is the New Products Pavilion, which will highlight those innovations that have been launched to the marketplace since the conference took place the previous year. This pavilion will be strategically located so that the highest level of traffic will pass by. This is a wonderful opportunity for manufacturers to get in contact with potential buyers and distributors. This is also a great place for retailers to become acquainted with what their customers may be asking for in the near future.

Two new pavilions have been added to the SURFACES conference in 2008 – one devoted to decorative concrete and another to handcrafted tile. It seems that these two sectors are in periods of growth and the response from last year warranted a change to the venue.

The official sponsor of this event is the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). This organization is a pinnacle piece of the industry in terms of supplying unbiased and reliable research and data. Specifically, they provide certification programs while also working to influence public policy pertaining to any aspect of the industry. Furthermore, WFCA focuses on providing additional information to consumers by way of their webpage, which includes everything from decorating tips to a virtual room designer.

The details of the SURFACES conference are as follows: the hours of the event are Wednesday and Thursday from 9am until 5pm, and Friday from 9am until 4pm. This leaves plenty of time to make it back home before the weekend, or enough time to hang around and frolic in Las Vegas. A wide range of speakers are scheduled to appear at all times throughout the conference, which is a great opportunity to gain some additional information on a particular topic that you are not completely familiar with. Speaking topics range from advertising to installations. Do not miss out on the opportunity to learn from your peers, and perhaps you will be able to avoid mistakes that they have made in the past, thus allowing you to better prepare for your future.

The SURFACES conference is 500,000 square feet of networking potential. Missing this industry event is simply unadvised. Statistically, 82% of the SURFACES attendees either make a buying decision or influence a buying decision at the conference. Historically, this event has sold out, so do not delay in getting registered. This is certainly the place to meet and greet. According to past attendees, 50% are there to make connections with new floor suppliers. Anyway you slice it, all members of the flooring industry have the potential to benefit from attending this conference. In reality, after weighing the upside of attending versus the downside of not attending, it is obvious that you will be planning a trip to sin city. Do not miss out on this networking opportunity and the possibility to increase your business in an exponential manner. Register today as spaces are filling up quickly.

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