Plans Proceeding to Reprise KBIS as In-Person Event

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ — Plans are underway to return the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) to its traditional in-person format in 2022, after being forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to be staged as a digital-only event in 2021, show organizers told Kitchen & Bath Design News last month.

According to both the National Kitchen & Bath Association, owner of the annual trade show, and longtime KBIS producer Emerald, plans call for KBIS 2022 to be staged as a live event Feb. 8-10, 2022 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The trade show and educational conference, as in recent past years, will run concurrent with the International Builders’ Show (IBS) as part of Design & Construction Week, the premier annual trade event for the North American residential design and construction trade.

“The kitchen and bath industry, as well as the remodeling and construction businesses, are doing very well, and we’re looking forward to coming together and celebrating in-person,” said Suzie Williford, executive v.p. & chief strategy officer for the Hackettstown, NJ-based NKBA. “It’s so great to be planning for live events again.”

Trade shows, educational conferences and other in-person events have faced unprecedented challenges in the past 12+ months due to the impact of COVID-19. Indeed, more than a dozen domestic and overseas industry-related trade shows were either postponed, cancelled or converted to digital formats as the 2020 global pandemic increasingly resulted in travel restrictions, social distancing and widespread concerns over attending large, face-to-face gatherings. Among the impacted events were both KBIS and IBS, both of which were forced in February to be delivered as digital-only events.

While KBIS 2022 will be primarily in-person, organizers plan to continue offering virtual programming as a complement to the on-site experience, for those who aren’t comfortable traveling or aren’t able to attend, Williford noted.

“As we learned from the last show, the integration of virtual components expands our audience reach and is a great way to broadcast educational content, exhibitor product launches, as well as to create a variety of smaller networking opportunities for the global kitchen and bath industry,” Williford said.

According to Brian Pagel, executive v.p, for Emerald, a comprehensive series of health and safety plans is being developed to safeguard the wellbeing of show attendees, exhibitors, contractors and vendors at the 2022 event.

“Safety is always our number-one priority,” Pagel said. “Since the start of the pandemic, we have remained in ongoing communication with our partners at the Orange County Convention Center, and with local authorities, to design a safe and successful experience for all of our attendees,” Pagel said. “We will continue to monitor the progress and status of vaccinations and travel restrictions and adapt our plans to meet CDC standard and federal guidelines.”

According to Pagel, Emerald has successfully produced several in-person events this year, three of which ran at the Orange County Convention Center. “All these events developed specific health and safety plans that adhered to city, state and venue requirements,” Pagel said.

“There continues to be a very positive outlook as the general population is given access to vaccines,” Pagel observed. “We will continue to monitor the recovery situation, but we are incredibly optimistic about the event next February.

The “biggest unknown,” he added, is if there are still travel restrictions at the start of 2022.

“However, as restrictions continue to lift nationally and even internationally, plans are in full swing to bring our community back together in-person in 2022, Pagel said.

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