The 2011 Int’l Pool | Spa | Patio Expo was the gathering place as the pool, spa and backyard industry met in Las Vegas recently for the annual tradeshow and conference, exceeding the expectations of attendees and exhibitors.

Held November 2-4, in the Bayside Halls at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, with the educational conference taking place October 30- November 4, the show exceeded the expectations of attendees who found a wide collection of products, services and technologies, while exhibitors were impressed with solid attendance.

Total attendance was 9,717, a 5% increase over the 2010 show. Attendees represented all segments of the industry, including pool/spa builders, retailers, service companies, designers, and landscape architects.

“Despite continued economic challenges, we are very pleased that the show generated an increase in attendance for the second consecutive year,” said Lindsay Roberts, Director of the Expo. “There was a real energy on the show floor that was shared by both attendees and exhibitors resulting in an all-around compelling event.”

In attendance were representatives from the industry’s leading retailers and pool builders, including Leslie's Poolmart, Blue Haven Pools & Spas, Dolphin Pools, The Pool Doctor, Claffey Pools, Perry Pools, Platinum Pools, J Tortella Swimming Pools, Mission Valley Pools & Spas, Olympic Hot Tub Co, Mermaid Pools & Spas, Backyards of America, Pinch-A-Penny, and Gohlke Custom Pools.

Attendees represented all 50 states, with the largest number from California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The largest number of international attendees came from Canada, Mexico, Australia, United Kingdom, Brazil, Sweden, Japan, and France.

Exhibit Hall
With 1,225 booths and 484 exhibiting companies, the show floor was comprised of 122,250 net square feet of exhibit space, with an additional 10,00 0 net square feet of educational and training space.

Of the 484 exhibiting companies, 125 were first-time exhibitors including All-Safe Pool Safety Products, Galaxy Outdoor, GPS Mobile Solutions, DesignMaster Fence, Suction Guard, American West Windmill & Solar, PayByLead, Lion Premium Grills, Filter Flosser, Patio 2 Pool, Resodyn Pool & Spa Finishing Systems, Saber Grills, Green Machine Solar Pool Heater, Spider Tie, Trident Ultraviolet Corporation,
Water Park Toys, and Wood Stove Pools.

“We had a 25% increase in leads over last year's show,” said Robert Marchwinski, National Sales Manager at Grosfillex Contract Furniture. “The show definitely exceeded our expectations.”

“This was our first year exhibiting at this show and the response could not have been any better. Booth traffic was terrific throughout each day, even on Friday,” said Kevin M. Lane, Director at Resodyn Engineered Polymeric Systems. “We are extremely glad we chose this venue for the successful launch our new pool and spa finishing system.”

Returning to the show were several key manufacturers who have not exhibited in several years, including Almost Heaven Saunas, American Express, Arctic Spas, Coyote Spas, Apollo Spas, Crystal Fountains, Dolphin Waterslides, FatTowels, Loop-Loc, Outdoor Great Room, RokQuest, Spa Dolly and Waterco USA.

Exhibitors were pleased with the number of leads and inquiries that were generated. “This show generally meets our expectations, but this year it even surpassed them,” said Mark Raisanen, National Sales Manager at Finnleo Sauna. “The quality of the leads was better than normal.”

“We received some great quality leads, were able to spend time with many existing customers,” said Rich Simpson, Pool Products Sales Manager at Custom Molded Products. “Our new products were well received from builders, dealers and distributors at the show.”

“The show was an awesome introduction for our waterproof electronics cases into the pool/spa industry,” said Jordan Messick of DryCASE. “The show drew major pool/spa companies which opened a completely new market segment for us.”

“This show provides us the single largest product exposure opportunity of the year,” said Rob Olney of Therm Products. “Exhibiting provides the best value for connecting with customers, even those overseas and out of our normal realm.”

“Reports from exhibitors of solid business, coupled with rave reviews from attendees about the show floor and educational offerings make this show was a real success,” said Bill Weber, President and CEO of APSP, the show’s official sponsor, who had a 2,500 square foot booth at the show.

Educational Conference
In addition to the show floor’s buying and selling activity, the show’s conference program offered 76 business, technical and “hot topic” seminars designed to improve skills through best practices and the latest technologies.

“All the seminars I attended were right on target for my needs," said Michael Miller of Miller Pools. "The show also gave me new ideas and plans for helping my customers to be "greener" and more efficient."

Each targeting a specific niche, a series of three one-hour Power Panels were held simultaneously prior to the opening of the show on November 2, providing thought-provoking, spirited discussions with panelists sharing their opinions and recommendations on what they are doing to ensure business success.

This was our first time to attend the Expo and was greatly surprised by how informative the seminars were,” said Ryan J. Schlottmann, President at Wet Feet Pools - Service, Repair & Supply. “You just can't get this kind of education on the internet. You guys hit it out of the park.”

“As a new owner of a pool and spa business, the show was invaluable, said James Robertson, Owner of Interior Pool & Spa. “The seminars were fantastic! I just wish I could have cloned myself in order to attend more.”

In addition to the show’s core educational program, advanced, pre-show educational programs were offered for pool/spa builders/designers and service company professionals through the APSP Builders Institute, APSP Technical Service Institute, the Genesis 3 Design Schools.

“The education we received in the APSP Builder Institute is broad, comprehensive and implementable upon return to our jobs,” said Brian McGarry, President at Sapphire Signature Pools. “We feel our training makes us better prepared to compete in our market. The class has surpassed our expectations three years in a row.”

“The Genesis 3 Design School was eye opening,” said Lea Frederick, Designer at Signature Aquatics. “It really gave us wonderful tools to think out of the box and really set ourselves apart from typical pool designers.”

Show Floor Highlights and Special Events
The APSP Live Zone was a new dedicated section of the show floor that encompassed the APSP booth, the hands-on live workshops and the first-ever classroom presentations where attendees learned additional product information about some of the products being demonstrated in the workshops.

Once again the Product Showcase, sponsored by AQUASALT, offered the hottest industry trends and the latest new, cool and green products. From a selection of more than 70 products, a panel of industry experts awarded Industrial Test Systems with the “Best New Product” for it Pool Check-i. The panelists also awarded APSP with “Best Green Product” for its ANSI/APSP/ICC-14 2011 Standard for Portable Electric Spa Energy Efficiency and ANSI/APSP/ICC-15 2011 Standard for Residential Swimming Pool and Spa Energy Efficiency.

Debuting this year was the Energy Efficiency & Green Pavilion, a designated area on the show floor that provided education and resources to attendees about this innovative and cutting-edge segment. Featuring exhibits and a product showcase area, this new pavilion also provided a two-day series of 45-minute educational demonstrations.

The opening night Welcome Party on Wednesday, November 2, was held at LAX Nightclub at the Luxor Hotel. Sponsored by Strong Pools and Spas, this high-energy event attracted 1,000 show participants who enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and soda, while mixing and mingling with old friends, networking with industry leaders and innovators.

Saber Grills hosted the first-ever Saber BBQ & Beer Bash on Thursday, November 3, and drew a standing room only crowd of attendees and exhibitors who enjoyed tasty grilled treats cooked on the new infrared Saber grills.

The Genesis 3 Lifestyle Program hosted a wine tasting with Steve Dooley from Stephen Ross Wine Cellars, book signings by Eric Groft and Anthony Archer-Wills, as well as an educational seminar on construction standards for natural swimming pools.

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