Five Things I Learned at Piscina Barcelona

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It’s morning on day three of the four-day Piscina Barcelona show, and I’ve had a couple days to get my head together.

I’ve never been to the Barcelona show before, and I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly had a number of misconceptions about the event itself; mostly, I thought it might be a waste of time for someone from this side of the Atlantic. 

I’m happy to admit I was wrong about almost everything. Here are a few things they set me straight on.

1) Piscina Barcelona is a high-quality show — well organized and presented. The show logistics (registration, structures, food, transportation, etc.) are very well managed. We usually take these things for granted, but they don’t happen by themselves, sometimes they happen badly, and other times they hardly happen at all. (Remember the fiasco in Phoenix?)

They build the booths on site; they’re not boxed and shipped like most of ours. And they use sleek designs that give the showfloor a clean, almost cinematic sheen. Very professional.

Screen Shot 2013 10 17 At 8 55 26 Am

2) It’s actually a global pool and spa market we work in, not a regional, continental one. We tend to focus on what happens in North America, and perhaps hear rumors of Europe, but after 10 minutes on this show floor, it hits home that there’s a great big pool world out there.

Besides the attendees from all the established markets, there are a surprising number of people from emerging pool and spa markets around the world — Argentinians, Brazilians, Emeratis, Russians, Ukrainians, Indians and Chinese, just to name just a few. It’s clear by their questions they are looking to Europe and North America for answers as they fashion their individual growing markets.

3) Spain itself is a huge pool market; in the top five world-wide. Why? Because, climate-wise, it’s a lot like Southern California. Damp, cloudy Europe likes to take its vacations in warm, sunny places. 

4) Piscina Barcelona is a show that has time; literally, plenty of time. It runs for an amazing 36 hours — 10-7 for four days! We’re used to about a third of that. 

So when you step up to a booth, you immediately notice this pleasantly unfamiliar lack of haste.  Nobody is trying to get their words out in a rush before the window of opportunity slams shut.  Piscina Barcelona as a whole seems to say, “We’re all going to be here for a while, so let’s relax, and besides (the question presents itself the minute you arrive in Barcelona) what’s the hurry?”Screen Shot 2013 10 17 At 8 55 40 Am

5) If you come, make yourself presentable. At first, I couldn’t figure out why there were no attendees. There were people in the aisles, but they couldn’t be pool and spa people. I know what pool and spa people dress like.

Turns out that here, even people that make their living digging and installing and maintaining and selling, get dressed up for a trade show. Or maybe they look this way all the time? I’ve still got two days and 18 hours of show left. I’ll see if I can find out.

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