An unconvention-al experience
Attending this year’s Car Care World e-Xpo doesn’t mean dressing up, taking a flight, or buying a new briefcase to carry around business cards, but some fundamentals remain. Sure, you might be dressed in your boxer shorts, but education, networking and fun are still at the heart of the industry’s second, Internet-based convention and tradeshow.
This year, over 2,500 industry professionals from around the globe are expected to attend. They won’t physically be anywhere near each other, but they’ll each be warmed by a similar glow of the computer screen from their respective offices and homes.
Jeff Bonynge, operator of Images Auto Spa in Orlando, Fla., described the networking experience as “priceless.” And this year, they’ll be even more features to add value to the unconventional convention.
The e-Xpo is going to be equipped with a new profile matching function that connects attendee operators looking for specific products with the manufacturers and suppliers who can provide them.
Also, the International Carwash Association (ICA) is unveiling its latest multimedia, online carwash tour. The tour features Harvey's Corner, located in Country Club Hills, Ill.
This location is a 2.2 acre “megasite,” with a conveyor carwash, full-service and express detailing center, three-bay oil lube and tire rotation center, 3,000- ft. convenience store, gas station, two restaurants and a dry cleaner.
The tour will explore various profit centers to consider for your wash, fast lube and/or detail shop.
The ICA will announce details about a new peer-to-peer operator networking program during the e-Xpo that car care business owners can participate in to share best practices and gain lessons learned.
“It was great to be able to browse all of the exhibitors' products and services, and speak with the company representatives without having to cross the pond from the U.K.,” stated Collin Russell, Laser Wash, United Kingdom. “Sometimes it's difficult to warrant the cost of flights, hotels and time to come to an annual trade show”, he added. “The e-Xpo showcased new products that are being launched and could be viewed in a more leisurely time window.”
Maximizing your e-Xpo e-Xperience
- Communicate. Use the unique online communication tools available at the e-Xpo to network and meet new people, including enhanced online discussion/chat capabilities, direct e-mail, new group chats, as well as the chance to engage in voice over Internet Protocol (IP), which enables telephone communications to be carried over any network that uses IP.
- Participate. The more you participate by attending educational sessions, exchanging V-cards (virtual business cards) and visiting booths, the more points you can earn toward valuable show prizes in the expanded prize center.
- Learn. Visit the Education Center and join in on first-rate educational sessions designed to provide you with insight that can take your operation to the next level.
Sessions at this year’s e-Xpo will cover such topics as surveillance, exterior washes, site selection and marketing techniques. Not only will you learn a lot, each presentation you attend earns you points.
- Own it and have fun. The best part of the e-Xpo is that you’re in the driver’s seat in the comfort of your home or office – the more you engage in the show’s many cutting-edge features, the more people you will meet, the more solutions for your operation you will discover, the more you will gain from the entire e-Xpo experience, and the more fun you will have.
Education at your fingertips
This year’s eXpo offers plenty of educational opportunities to attendees. Topics included in the schedule are:
- Additional profit center ideas;
- Appraising your carwash business;
- Drive-in business through innovative marketing techniques;
- The importance of surveillance systems at your wash;
- International Carwash Association Consumer Study;
- Investing in the carwash industry;
- OSHA for small businesses;
- Quick Books 101;
- Site selection for your carwash;
- The value of smart marketing; and
- Customer service and the recognition by your customers as a superb service provider.
Navigating Car Care World e-Xpo 2006
As a teaser, here’s a look at some of the features/tools that will be available to help you navigate through the show in order to maximize your e-Xperience.
HOME: Select the “Home” icon and you are returned to the main tradeshow hallway. From here you will be able to access everything the show has to offer – trade show floors, education center, prize center, and more!
PROFILE: The “Profile” icon takes you to your profile page. Here you provide contact information such as address along with your company information.
In this section you can also assign the show character that you want to use while touring the show floor. Choose from a variety of characters or insert a picture of yourself. You will receive points for completing your profile which will increase your chances to win a show prize!
COMMUNICATE: Select the “Communicate” icon to write an e-mail, start a chat with another attendee or exhibitor, or give someone your V-card (virtual business card).
In addition, when you select “Communicate” you will be able to check your emails and pending chats.
SEARCH: Select the “Search” icon to search for specific vendors, products, or individuals.
EDUCATION: Select the “Education” icon to visit the Education Center where you will have 24-hour access to more than 10 hours of education.
PROFILE MATCH: Select the “Profile Match” icon to launch to the Profile Matching Tool. This unique tool will allow you to find others who are attending the show with similar profiles.
Be sure to update your profile first. Then use this tool to identify others with similar areas of interest (i.e. self-serve owners, multiple site owners, c-store operators, etc.)
BRIEFCASE: Select the “Briefcase” to view the items that you have collected from booths that you have visited (PDFs, PowerPoint Presentations, Word Documents, etc.). When viewing your “Briefcase” you can choose to download files you have picked up onto your computer to you can access them after the show ends.
This information also will be available in the Help Desk and on the International Carwash Association’s Web site – www.CarCareCentral.com during the show.
Sarah Menke is an associate with the International Carwash Association. She will be a participant in e-Xpo.