KBIS 09 Impressions

Just back from KBIS and I'd like to share a few impressions. I've gone to KBIS for 18 or 19 years (I'll assume 18) which gives me an interesting perspective.

My first observation was "hmmm", when I asked the hotel clerk at the Omni, across from the Atlanta convention center, on Friday, if I could add a night if we wanted and he said, sure, they have rooms available. I thought that was odd for that hotel in that location to have rooms available.

My first stop on Saturday was the press room. Here, I was very surprised at what I saw. There were many empty boxes (freestanding shelving with square openings on both sides for press kits.) There were far fewer press kits than at previous shows. Strikingly so.

The difference was felt on the show floor too. Far fewer attendees. Perhaps by close to half. Far fewer exhibitors. No question. The exhibits were smaller. There were fewer events, cooking demonstrations, fewer fabulous exhibits. The whole show was a huge step backward, at least in regard to glamour and excitement, which, after all is fun to be around. The high energy in the air was gone. It felt like a Monday morning rather than a Saturday night! It was a vastly different show than last year or any recent year.

I think the party's over. I think one must take one's medicine, keep a stiff upper lip, carry on and all that.

That was my next feeling after absorbing the contrast of last year vs. this year. So what? This year's show should be considered an anomaly, and that's ok.

The companies who were not there made the right decision for their company, since I'm sure finances were the reason they were not at the show. That's being responsible, and hopefully, when they recover, they will again come to KBIS in a stronger position all around, having cut the fat from their expenses, product lines, whatever. That's a good thing.

It's also good for the companies who exhibited at the show. With less people at the show, there was more time to form relationships and explain their products, which probably meant a better show than in years past. And, it was easier to get their products noticed by attendees and media.

It also made the show much more manageable for attendees. I certainly did not see a shortage of innovation or creativity, and I'll talk more about that this week.

But, I sure did miss the "glam" part of KBIS. Such a pity...