Valuable Things to Know about the 2016 NEXT Conference

NEXT conference logoThe home furnishings industry garners $150 billion each year. To continue its success, industry groups host annual forums, such as Progressive Business Media’s NEXT Conference. Taking place at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa in September 2016, the NEXT Conference will include discussions on topics ranging from leadership to retail technology. The following is some information that will help you navigate and enjoy the event:

Who should attend the NEXT conference?

The event caters to professionals in the home furnishings industry who will positively shape the future of retail through innovation and leadership. You will benefit from the forum if you strive to be amongst forward thinkers as well as those who make it a regular practice to incorporate new ideas. Also, if you enjoy an interactive environment that encourages exploration of modern concepts, the conference will offer a valuable experience.

When is it happening and where?

Legends of Golf in Savannah, GA April 19, 2010

Image courtesy Keith Allison | Flickr

The NEXT Conference will take place at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa, located at 1 Resort Drive in Savannah, Georgia. The event kicks off with registration beginning at 1:00 pm on September 14 and concludes with a cocktail party at 7:30 pm on September 15.

Where can I stay?

Attendees may stay at the venue at a reduced room rate of $192 per night (plus taxes) if you make arrangements before August 10th. Check-in and check-out are at 3 p.m. and noon, respectively. You can make reservations by calling (800) 228-3000, or you can book a room online at

How do I get around?

If you are arriving at Savannah Hilton Head International, visit the airport’s website to view the available transportation options, including taxi, limousine, and shuttle services. Expect roughly a 25-minute commute to the Westin Savannah Harbor. If you will be renting a car, you can self-park for free. However, the resort also offers valet parking services for $23 per day. Prior to your final night, you should schedule a seat on the hotel’s Mercedes Airport Shuttle by calling (912) 201-2000. The one-way transportation service to the airport costs $25. Additional riders are $15 each.

What should I know about registration?

You can register online at To do so, you must provide a valid e-mail address and select the type of registration you prefer. Signing up as a retailer requires a fee of $295. If you are not a retailer, you can sign up as a manufacturer or a supplier for a $995 fee.

To register as a group, follow the traditional registration process and submit the names of other members within your party when prompted. When you finish registering, you will be asked to pay the registration fee for all registrants. If you want your group members to pay their own fees, you must register each person individually.

What is the appropriate attire?

You should wear business casual attire. Keep in mind that the venue typically keeps rooms cooler than outside temperatures, which average in the mid-80s during the day and the high 60s in the evening, so dress appropriately to remain comfortable during the sessions. Event organizers also suggest bringing a jacket or light sweater.

What can I expect in terms of education?

Until this year, the NEXT Conference was known as the Future Leadership Conference. It has featured industry experts like Home Accents Today Editor in Chief Jenny Heinzen York, Whereoware mobile marketing guru Teya Flick, and John V. Schultz Furniture founder John Schultz, who have given keynote addresses and tackled a variety of educational topics, such as efficient collection and use of customer data as well as integration of unique home furnishings to boost profit margins.

NEXT Conference coordinators plan to offer the same caliber of education during its 2016 event. Ms. York will return to welcome attendees before they head to breakout sessions. The conference will also contain five “NEXT Idea” classes that cover topics like leadership, the future of home furnishings, retail experience, technology, and innovators. In addition, home furnishings manufacturer and distributor Surya will be on site to give the 2016 opening keynote address.

What networking and socialization opportunities are available?

Throughout the conference, you will be given numerous opportunities to network and relax. Make sure to take time during the team brainstorming lunch, Storis-sponsored networking breaks, and Acceptance Now-sponsored networking cocktail party to connect with your peers and meet influential members of the industry. On the last day, you can socialize and congratulate the winners of the team brainstorming challenge at the closing cocktail party.

Whom can I contact with questions?

If you have additional questions about the conference, contact Heather Thompson, Progressive Business Media’s senior manager of conferences and events, at (336) 605-1061 or