2012 Orlando Show Offers Tempting Industry Destination

photo of Orlando highway sign

It's a new year for the pool and spa industry, and things are looking up — especially for the 2012 Orlando Pool and Spa Show. Wendy Parker Barsell, executive director, has great expectations based on what she saw at the 2011 show and early booth sales.

"Everyone was much more optimistic about where we were going with the pool industry last year," she says, "and I think we are building on that this year. The exhibit hall is selling much faster than it has in many years — it's going to be a sellout, and that's exciting."

Convening once again at the Orange County Convention Center, the 2012 Orlando Pool and Spa Show is set to give all its attendees just what they are looking for. From fresh educational offerings that coincide with major industry happenings to prize giveaways, no one will leave Orlando empty-handed.

The 2012 show's education schedule has been given an overhaul as more than half of the course offerings are new this year, says Parker Barsell, and they focus on two major topics affecting the industry today — energy efficiency codes and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the deadline for which is March 15.

"We are always trying to keep the education fresh for everyone," says Parker Barsell. We've added energy- and ADA-oriented classes this year because they are very timely right now with what's going on in the marketplace. We want to make sure there are plenty of different perspectives on how to comply and how to make pools much more energy efficient all the way around."

Also in abundance will be business classes, such as the "Fifteen Things All Successful Companies Have in Common," a financial management class offered many years ago that was brought back because of its timely message for today's pool market.

Classes begin at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, while the Exhibit Hall opens at 11:30 a.m. on Friday and 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. Both days will be filled with product-specific hands-on courses offered by Zodiac, Hayward and Nirvana, as well as cash prizes for attendees. And if you're feeling really lucky, be sure to enter the drawing for a Journey spa courtesy of Dimension One.

For those who like to kick back, the Friday night industry party will make its triumphant return at Howl at the Moon on Feb. 24. For only $25, you get dinner, open bar and a chance to mingle with colleagues.

As with any trip to a trade show, it's important to maximize your time and make the most of your visit. And the best way to do that, suggests Parker Barsell, is to plan ahead.

To help chart your course to Orlando this year, visit the show's Web site at www.orlandopoolshow.com, where you can see a list of the new and returning exhibitors; extensive course descriptions broken down into builder, service, solar energy, retail and subcontractor categories; and show times and days. You'll also want to visit the site to find more information about registration and the Orlando area, including hotel, dining and entertainment options.

But don't forget to take a few minutes to stop by and say hello to the AQUA people at booth 210. It's a great opportunity to share your insight for the new year and to let us know how your business is doing.

To The Moon And Back

Even though NASA launched its last space shuttle mission in 2011, the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral is still up and running and welcoming visitors. If space travel has ever interested you at all, KSC is a great resource to learn more about America's past and future role in space exploration. Attractions include a shuttle launch simulation experience, guided tours around KSC and its launch pads, IMAX films, and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

If you have an extra day in Orlando and are looking for something a little different to do while you're in town, KSC is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and costs $43. For more information, visit www.ksc.nasa.gov.

Schedule At A Glance

(As of Dec. 11, 2011. Times subject to change)

Wednesday, Feb. 228:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Limited Education

Thursday, Feb. 238:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Exhibitor Move-In8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Educational Sessions9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Show Registration Open6:30 p.m. Welcome Reception/Design Awards at Rosen Plaza Hotel

Friday, Feb. 246:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Show Registration Open8:00 a.m. - 1:50 p.m. Educational Sessions11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. Private Industry Party at Howl at the Moon

Saturday, Feb. 256:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Show Registraton Open8:00 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. Educational Sessions10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open3:30 p.m. Exhibitor Move-Out

For more information, visit www.orlandopoolshow.com. You can also follow @OrlandoPoolShow on Twitter and become a fan of the Florida Swimming Pool Association on Facebook.

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

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