As an Industry Consultant and self-described Ruggist, I find it important to try and stay up on the goings on in the world of rugs. As such, I was looking ahead the other day, beginning to plan out my annual excursion to Atlanta in January to attend (of course) the North American Rug Show, only to find a horrid selection of hotel availability!! A quick search of the Americasmart website, rather their friends at Ambassadors, and then a subsequent search of nearly every travel site revealed that unless you want to stay at least .5 miles away (if not more) you’d have to be on a wait-list for hotel rooms at this point.
Why? Apparently in an effort to bring more foot traffic to the January rug show, it was decided (presumably by the folks at Americasmart and/or ORIA) to move the NORS to coincide with the gift show, instead of immediately following as it has been. The result is, as already alluded to, a lot of people needing hotels, and apparently already having them. Now, considering it is a good five (5) months out, I didn’t think it too unreasonable to be able to book a room in the immediate vicinity of the mart. Alas, I was wrong.
What do I think of all of this? Before I answer that, I will preface my opinion with the statement: It is entirely possible that by using demand shaping Americasmart and/or Ambassadors has created an artificial shortage of rooms in the immediate area only to be able to make those rooms available at a later date. But back to my answer…
First and foremost I don’t think by combining the shows, the exhibitors at the NORS are going to see any appreciable increase in business. For the most part, gift buyers are gift buyers and rug buyers are rug buyers. Sure some people sell throw rugs at the gift show already, but thats not the kind of business I am talking about. Nor is it, I hope, the kind my readers are after. Likewise, I can almost categorically say no rug showroom owner will be shopping the gift show.
Secondarily though, I do think this will bring increased foot traffic to the combined show. Both in the statistical, “Look at the attendee increase” way, and in the factual, more people physically walking into showrooms way. But returning to my first point, I think it is just going to be a lot of “tire kickers”, to borrow a phrase.
Overall, we have to give credit to Americasmart for attempting to breathe new life into a show which from my perspective has been running from the light at the end of the tunnel for a few years now, especially since the advent of Metro Market Week and the NYICS, as well as competition from other shows. Kudos to them for adapting and not being afraid to try new things. Who knows? Come the end of January I may have to admit I was wrong.
Of course, staying .5 mile or even 1 mile away is not the end of the world, and if you walk to the mart you might just improve your health. Given the number of parties in Atlanta, the fresh air might be nice. See you then!!!
*** Update on Last Poll ***
Thanks go out to the people who voted on the last poll. It was a bit more for fun than the first one. Eighty (80%) of voters knew to ask if I meant washed or unwashed wool. Great attention to detail. If I knew who the voters were, I’d buy from them.