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Though dwindling sales across the industry have trimmed staffs and reduced travel budgets, registration remains steady for the 2009 International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo.

Online registration for IPSPE, which is slated for Nov. 13-18 in Las Vegas, has helped boost numbers in the past month. Organizers expect attendance on par with last year’s show.

“Our conference registration is actually higher than it was last year at this time,” said Donna Bellantone, IPSPE director. “The people who are coming are the serious buyers and those investing in their future.”

The Expo’s educational tracks address multiple platforms, offering attendees the chance to catch up on the latest products, business strategies and technical know-how. More than 60 conference sessions surround the event, coupled with on-floor seminars, day-long specialty programs and a set of Power Panels that will replace the traditional keynote speech.

“So many people have downsized and changed some of their services, so we really concentrated on identifying the areas [that] would be the most beneficial,” said Tracy Beaulieu, conference manager for IPSPE. “[The industry is] going to be on a slow climb, but they need education that is current and relevant within this economic time to get back on track.”

Sign-ups for business classes aimed at service technicians, who generally have had more success in weathering the downturn, have been especially brisk thus far, she added.

Anticipation also is high for the Executive Academy, a three-day educational program designed for managers.

“It was an inaugural event last year, and [attendees] just raved about it,” Beaulieu said. “It’s an awesome program for owners and anyone in the top echelon of a company.”

On the more technical side, plenty of questions and interest still surround the federal Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which will be addressed in IPSPE’s new VGB Pavilion. This area will feature a three-day mix of safety seminars and product tutorials, as well as a table-top display for exhibitors.

“One of the classes is how to use the ANSI checklist for VGB, so that’s going to help service [techs] and installers look at their pools and know if the equipment is compliant,” Beaulieu said.

As always, the Expo will feature hands-on product demonstrations, in addition to building and service programs presented by APSP. The Genesis 3 Design Group also will return to IPSPE with four design schools for all levels of experience.