by Joanna Taylor, Marketing Manager at Beyer Brown
Last week, I was able to go to BDNY for the very first time. Beyer Brown has been attending BDNY for years, and with almost 44 years in hospitality, of course we would. I’m relatively new to the hospitality industry though, and it was still incredibly apparent to me how important this conference and event show is to everyone involved. Not only is there a showroom full of incredible pieces, but there is an energy of friendships and in-person conversations that you can’t get through a digital connection.
In visiting so many vendors on the show floor, and talking to so many attendees, I have a few thoughts. What is important, what does this convention bring to the industry, and why are people there?
Conversations Are Better In Person
Whether you’re a supplier, designer, owner, or developer, I think we can all agree on one thing. Nothing is a substitute for in person meetings and introductions. This past year and a half has shown us that no matter how great the technology is, and it did help a lot, there is nothing like shaking hands, grabbing a cup of coffee or a cocktail, and just talking with each other. No matter which side of the industry you are on, the connections made and maintained at BDNY are crucial.
I had a chance to talk with some of our project managers while at the convention, and one of the main things they talked about was how they love to meet with people in person. Often times it’s the first chance to meet face to face, rather than just an email signature. Other opportunities are meeting other people at companies that we work with, knowing who to talk to if there is an issue, and how to best navigate around them.
Having the ability to maintain relationships is a huge benefit, for sure, but without a doubt, everyone there is looking for new business as well. Of course, vendors are looking to showcase their products to new designers for new future projects, but it goes beyond that. Outside the show floor there are endless dinners, cocktail parties, and networking events held by individual companies in the evenings as a way to connect for the first time or reconnect.
It goes without saying that while BDNY offers its own level of fun and casual conversations, the work is definitely not left at home. Conversations about future projects, proposals, and transactions happen during the conference, furthering the strength of the industry.
New Products, New Inspirations
Designers and project teams alike both find great inspiration just walking around the show floor. For designers, it’s all about finding things for current projects or projects in the near future. Thinking about specific things can sometimes help narrow and specify what to look for as they walk the floor. Alternatively, there are so many innovative and creative things that vendors are always presenting that it helps to know what’s out there when future projects come around that could be the perfect fit.
For our project managers, they are looking for vendors that fit specific criteria and can expand our resource network. Depending on the project, lead times, manufacture location, and ability to create custom products makes a big difference. Knowing those things about specific companies can help when vetting out pricing and suggesting things for a project. It is also helpful to find solutions to a current circumstance they are experiencing with a project.
Industry Trends Outside of Product Lines and Panel Discussions
Another great feature of BDNY that I experienced this year that was a little different from other similar-type events I’ve been to in the past was the panel discussions. While the standard convention panel format may seem a little over-done with little to no new information, I found the format at BDNY to be quite refreshing. There were several vendor areas built specifically to showcase products and was a combined effort between multiple companies, but also to house some discussions right on the show floor.
It’s the perfect atmosphere to discuss industry trends in regards to space use. Topics such as, how many properties are converting from one purpose to an entirely different use. What is the best way to convey that warm feeling of home and hospitality in new ways. How some people are facing and working with the widespread freight and supply complications. The atmosphere and set up inside a booth is so welcoming in itself that it conveys hospitality in a much better way than just a stage in a ballroom. They did tend to be smaller, but I found them to be more intimate and maybe a bit easier to attend as you wandered the floor.
That type of panel discussion was something I hadn’t seen before, and I thought it fit perfectly within hospitality.
Final Thoughts on the Conference
As a first timer to BDNY I obviously didn’t have any years prior to compare, but I have been to similar events. There was a feeling of excitement in the air that was just unmatched. I don’t know if it was because it was one of the first, and largest, industry gatherings of it’s kind in nearly two years, or if the event is always this way. Either way, it had an electric energy to it. So many people greeting industry friends for the first time in a while, the energy of being in a group of like-minded professionals, was something that I hadn’t experienced in this magnitude in quite some time.
In a span of only two days, there were so many events and introductions made on my part that it felt like it lasted an entire week. It was an exciting, fast-paced, and crucial event that I can now see why it is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Sure, there were a few minor operational hiccups, but those were mostly due to the attendance being much higher than anticipated. And those things were minor and did not overshadow the event by any means.
I personally am thrilled to see these types of events returning, and cannot wait to attend the next one. View our photos and posts on our social media for more photos and information as we attended the event!