Following three days of highly-targeted, business-oriented educational sessions and displays from unique floor covering companies, the second annual DOMOTEX USA closed on Friday, Feb. 7. A total of 101 flooring and floor covering technology suppliers from more than 12 countries unveiled their latest products across 39,800 square feet of exhibition space. From top U.S.-based floor covering manufacturers to new international exhibitors and installation technology providers, the innovations that were on display at DOMOTEX USA will inspire the flooring industry in 2020 and well beyond.
“We broadened our partnerships with key floor covering and design industry associations to triple our educational offerings and to launch accredited continuing education sessions at this year’s event,” said Larry Turner, president and CEO of Hannover Fairs USA (HFUSA), the organizer of the event. “Though we faced some global challenges around this second iteration of our show, we are committed to DOMOTEX USA’s success. Over the next two months, HFUSA will conduct market research and will survey our target audiences to reshape and improve the show for 2021,” he added.
DOMOTEX USA 2021 will take place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta from March 1-3.
Keynotes at DOMOTEX USA
Alan Beaulieu, international economic analyst and president of the Institute for Trend Research kicked off the show’s education program on Wednesday, Feb. 5 with an in-depth look at economic indicators. His keynote speech highlighted the residential industry forecast to outline what the flooring industry can expect in 2020 and beyond. He also advised the audience to think enthusiastically about future plans for prosperity in anticipation of the projected upswing in the economy.
Prior to the show opening on Thursday, Feb.6, brand leadership expert, Denise Lee Yohn, gave a rousing keynote free to all attendees about how floor covering experts can develop a brand experience that really connects with their customers. “I wanted the audience to understand how to run their businesses differently to attract more profitable and more loyal customers. My goal was to help each professional embrace a more targeted and focused approach to developing a great brand and customer experience,” said Yohn.
Immediately following Yohn’s presentation, the show’s popular state-of-the-industry panel was held on the DOMOTEX USA Plaza stage located at the center of the show floor. Distinguished industry experts Piet Dossche, president of USFloors, Neil Poland, president of Mullican Flooring, and Bruce Zwicker, floor covering distributor consultant, offered an optimistic outlook for floor covering product sales in 2020.
On the final day of the show, featured speaker James Dion, founder and president of Dionco Inc., shared his expertise on consumer trends, retail technology, selling and service, retail merchandising and operations, as well as best practices for sustainable retail and store management.
Educational Offerings Triple in 2020
HFUSA strategically increased DOMOTEX USA’s educational offerings to address industry challenges in 2020. The program featured more than 50 speakers, offered CEU and CCU credits, and included more tracks to educate and inspire interior designers, flooring retailers, installers, builders, contractors and remodelers.
“I came to DOMOTEX USA because of one main reason: the education,” said Jermie Roberts, co-owner of Custom Floors Design, Inc. “The show offers a lot of opportunities to learn about the industry. What makes DOMOTEX USA unique is the ability to network with other industry partners. You have the ability to meet others from all over the world; in fact, I met people from India and China. I looked forward to seeing new products and to seeing what we can use and what we can bring home.”
Through its partnership with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), DOMOTEX USA offered continuing education sessions to help installers to learn how to address common issues that impact solid wood and engineered wood flooring. NWFA sessions also focused on how to operate a successful hardwood flooring business and explored issues related to both site-finished and factory finished wood flooring. “All NWFA accredited sessions were well-attended with highly engaged audience participation,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO of NWFA. “We applaud DOMOTEX USA for offering an excellent platform for technical discussions and skills building,” he added.
The show’s new partnership with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) featured ASID CEU-approved sessions that connected products to the design process. DOMOTEX USA brought together top ASID members and interior design professionals, authors, speakers and educators to explore six hot design topics: organizational skills; authentic style; relationship building; living models to accommodate the aging culture; the inclusion of nature into design; and the impact of materials on human health in interior spaces.
The popular Emily Morrow Finkell design panel and luncheon returned in 2020 with a larger line-up of top interior design professionals. Finkell, the CEO of Emily Morrow Home, led a lively discussion about how to listen to the customer and turn floor covering trends into design realities for their homes.
“DOMOTEX USA is a really well organized, beautiful trade show and a wonderful platform for interior designers to connect with each other, retailers and the brands on display,” said Finkell. “All of the designers on our panel and in the audience were excited to walk the show to see and feel the many new flooring products on display this year.”
For 2020, DOMOTEX USA featured new retailer educational sessions to maximize the in-store experience. “As we look ahead, it is important to have enthusiasm versus fear about what the brick and mortar showroom experience can offer floor covering consumers,” said speaker Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder and publisher of RetailMinded.com. Reyhle’s sessions explored how flooring retailers can gain clarity for their store positioning utilizing select online and in-store marketing and operational initiatives.
Other retailer-focused sessions covered a broad range of topics, including how to compete more effectively to keep customers; staff recruiting, training and retention best practices; how to attract and keep the best installers; improving digital marketing strategies; and how to sell more flooring in 2020.
The well-attended builder/contractor/remodeler session, “Solutions to the Labor Crisis & Keys to Reliable Labor: Recruiting, Training and Retaining,” led by Daniel Hicks, INSTALL’s southeastern carpenters regional council representative, provided solutions to recruiting, training and retaining a reliable labor force.
Returning Manufacturers Launch New Products at DOMOTEX USA
Leading American manufacturers such as Anderson Tuftex and COREtec (both divisions of Shaw Industries), The Dixie Group, and Mullican Flooring returned in 2020 to display their latest soft and hard flooring designs.
Milliken & Company exhibited both years and in 2020 the company unveiled its latest broadloom products, new luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) and carpet tile products.
Vancouver-based XL Flooring, a distributor of luxury vinyl tiles and planks, returned to DOMOTEX USA in 2020 to educate attendees on the value proposition of its products and to expand its sales in the U.S. “Our participation at DOMOTEX USA last year was an eye-opener for us,” said Paul Riches, President of XL Flooring. “We developed some very strong national retail and distribution contacts in 2019 and have built on that success this year. We have just introduced a selection of unique rigid core products to compliment the quality of our LVT lines, spending approximately 75 percent of our marketing dollars attending trade shows. The face-to-face selling at DOMOTEX USA is crucial to raising awareness and growing sales of XL Flooring products in North America,” he added.
Loba-Wakol, suppliers for adhesives and finishes within the wood and resilient flooring industry, again launched its latest innovations at DOMOTEX in Hannover this January. The U.S. division of Loba-Wakol showcased products at the inaugural U.S. show and came back to display in the 2020 show in Atlanta.
The latest innovations in application and installation technologies were also on display at this year’s show as well as at the launch in 2019.
New Exhibitors at DOMOTEX USA
“Manufacturers from around the globe utilize our DOMOTEX portfolio of shows to introduce innovative flooring products to their target audiences,” said Sonia Wedell-Castellano, global director of the DOMOTEX brand at Deutsche Messe Group. “Even though the overall number of attendees at DOMOTEX USA 2020 did not reflect the measures and efforts undertaken by HFUSA, we are fully committed to the success of the show in 2021. We believe our North American show far exceeds other U.S. floor covering exhibitions across a number of areas,” she added.
Italian company Filomaestro, the creator of a unique, highly technical carpet fiber, showcased its new carpets at DOMOTEX USA for the first time in 2020. “We connected with a good number of quality attendees in our display during the show,” said Francesca Mulongwe, customer manager of Filomaestro. “Because our carpets are new to the U.S. market and quite unique, we garnered a lot of curiosity during the show and are happy that we signed up for DOMOTEX USA in 2020,” she added.
North Carolina State University’s Department of Forest Biomaterials exhibited at DOMOTEX USA this year to expose its students to the floor covering industry and to promote its students and its science of floors program to the industry. “Our booth gained a lot of traffic from attendees and manufacturers interested in learning about our studies into the uniqueness of flooring materials,” said Guillermo Velarde, wood products technical services at NC State. “We also wanted to showcase how we are actively working with many of the floor covering industry associations to help them harness the results of NC State’s program.”
Netherlands-based I4F, a global leader in flooring IP and technologies, exhibited again at DOMOTEX Hannover and displayed its new technologies at DOMOTEX USA in 2020 for the first time. “I4F is focused on connecting with U.S. manufacturers and suppliers to raise awareness of our technology and to sign contracts with this target audience during the show,” said I4F’s CEO John Rietveldt. “The U.S. is a core market for our locking technology, surface finishing and digital printing technology. We plan to return to DOMOTEX USA next year as we are impressed with the quality of the floor covering manufactures and understand that the show is in development,” he added.
For more information on the show and to register to exhibit at the show in 2021, visit DOMOTEX USA.