Chandler, Ariz. - Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) had two good reasons to celebrate at its annual Spring Meeting this week at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass outside Phoenix.
First, the buying group
for specialty A/V dealers,
custom installers and system integrators turned 15 this year, and second,
business has finally turned a corner.
"The mood is definitely up tempo," executive director Richard Glikes told TWICE. "Business is starting to feel better. You still have to go out and get it, but ever since November business has been good, and the members and vendors are happy."
Some 210 HTSA members and manufacturers attended the meeting, where they mixed presentations, discussions, keynotes and store visits with jeep tours, go-cart races and golf.
Among the former were a series of presentations by members and vendors on "The Greatest Opportunities in 2011." For Paul Sandquist of HiFi House, the greatest opportunity lies in devoting more resources to high-end audio. Brian Hudkins of Gramophone described how taxing Internet transactions and employing standardized specs industry-wide would level the playing field.
Leon Shaw of Audio Advice pointed to customer service, using the Disney Institute as a reference point, while Runco's Adam Schmidt spoke to the benefits of digital signage. Brad Whitehead of Paragon Technology Group suggested becoming a technology expert in all areas for one's clients, and Sonance CEO Ari Supran urged members to form alliances with architects and dry wallers in addition to builders.
Dealers also provided the how-to's of mounting successful marketing events, based on their own in-store promotions, and the membership was briefed on HDLiving.com, the group's new online technology and entertainment magazine for consumers that was launched in March. According to Glikes, the site has drawn 13,000 unique visits and 100,000 page views in the seven weeks since its launch.
Members also exchanged best practices on such topics as apps and control, security, high-end audio, marketing and customer relationship management, and 3DTV.
A highlight of the week was a trip to nearby Scottsdale to visit member Cyber Sound & Security. There, attendees toured the company's 3,300-square-foot Savant Experience Center, a multi-room whole-home mockup built upon Savant and Apple platforms.
The keynote was delivered by "Socialnomics" author Erik Qualman, described as a "digital Dale Carnegie," who spoke about the importance of social media and other digital trends.