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Here we are again in the lovely city of Las Vegas. And, as the show gets ready to open its doors at the Sands Expo Convention Center once again, there are a few changes in store. First of all, there’s the name of the show. Known for years as the Car Care World Expo™, it is now called The Car Wash Show™. Also, this year’s show will feature a lot more educational sessions. The sessions are broken down into four “types,” including: Business Management; Marketing and Brand Strategy; Operations; and New Investor, and there are more than 25 hours of educational meetings planned. So, in order to best maximize your time at the show and get the most out of your visit, we have outlined the necessary keys to tradeshow success.
Grab a map and outline your path
The Sands Expo Convention Center is a very large arena, with more than 1.8 million square feet of meeting and event space, so it is imperative to have a mapped out footpath in place. If there’s an exhibitor at booth #100 you said you would meet with at 10 a.m., and you’re at booth #1691 and it’s 9:59 a.m., you’ll have a lot of terrain to cover hurriedly. Therefore, use the map on Page 16 that we have provided for you, highlight the booths you would like to visit and make sure you pace yourself. If you do visit a booth and would like to talk to an exhibitor and they’re not available, mark it on your map to go back and check on it when you’re in the parallel row.
Checklist before walking the showroom floor
✔ Business cards
✔ A folder to carry the business cards you’ll accumulate
✔ Comfortable walking shoes
✔ Pen and paper to take notes
✔ Map of the showroom floor
Make as many connections as possible
The networking opportunities will abound and you’ll hopefully be making some key connections to better your business. It will be important to visit booths with a good attitude and friendly demeanor. This is also a good time to network with other carwash owners and operators. They will share with you the secrets to their success (as they’re not your direct competition), and let you in on what works, and what hasn’t worked, for them. But, how do you do that? Well, for starters, outside of the showroom floor, look for people wearing the badges and simply talk to them whether it’s in line at a restaurant, in the elevator or at one of the cocktail receptions. This is your greatest opportunity to meet others in your line of work who aren’t competing with you for customers.
Choose your education wisely
With more educational sessions being offered than ever before, how can you go about picking which ones to attend? You can start by coming up with the one issue or concern you have right now with your business. Is your staff your number one concern? Then consider the “Driving Employee Performance” session. Are you considering starting a carwash club membership? Then you might want to check out the “Evaluating the Business Case for Unlimited Wash Clubs” session.You will also want to see who the speaker will be for each session and read their biography. For instance, Ken Banks is the CEO of KAB Marketing. You might not be familiar with his name, but chances are you have heard of PetSmart, Circuit City, Eckerd and Procter & Gamble. Banks has over 30 years of experience working with them as a retail marketing executive. His session is called, “Building a Brand that Keeps Customers Coming Back.” So, before you make any decisions be sure to read over each of the sessions offered.