Log on and learn
This summer, the International Carwash Association (ICA) announced plans to host its first electronic trade show venture, Car Care World e-Xpo 2005, in hopes to drive more members and industry professionals to its electronic headquarters at www.carcarecentral.com, and to provide an additional trade opportunity to its members.
The show is scheduled to run for four days spanning November 9 - 13 in order to give an adequate time for both weekday and weekend attendees, and is expected to offer much of what the physical trade event provides attendees each spring, along with the modern conveniences incorporated with electronic commerce.Ease of use
What may be considered the most convenient feature for this upcoming show is the fact that the trade show floor will be directly delivered to a carwash operator's office or living room via Internet.
By simply logging on to their computers, car-care professionals can expect a virtual show that will include:
- Carwash industry vendors in a virtual marketplace;
- More than 20 educational sessions;
- Networking opportunities for attendees; and
- Prize giveaways.
The ICA started on the web about four years ago and, according to ICA Executive Director Mark Thorsby, the association has set a goal to have 1000 attendees and 30 exhibitors for the online event.
"We will continue to explore the online delivery of commerce between buyers and sellers in this industry," said Thorsby. "We'll continue to look at it in a holistic way that combines both in person and electronic delivery of both trade show, commerce and educational material."
When attendees enter a "booth," they will be presented with tailored content describing an exhibitor's company, their products, services and show specials.
These online booth spaces will feature not only text but also:
- Graphics (static and flash);
- Videos; and of course
- Links to websites.
"We believe that this show will stimulate a lot of curiosity, that people who are not regular internet users will log on and attend the show just to see what a virtual trade show looks like, and how easy it is to be a part of it," Thorsby added.Gearing up for Vegas
Since e-Xpo will be held in November, it may keep members and other curious online attendees up to speed on what some vendors are offering before the winter months, while also giving vendors a chance to launch new technology instead of waiting until the spring like so many carwash companies have done for the past decade.
Naturally, the online concept encourages the carwash community to become more web-savvy, and the timing of the show creates a virtual mid-year event for the industry as a whole.
In fact, up until 1993 the ICA conducted two shows per year.
A reduction in the number of annual events was partially due to the fact that having one major show a year helps to build value on that event, and also reduces the stress for everyone involved, making things, easier for vendors and attendees.
The timing, according to Thorsby, was selected to avoid overlapping any other regional or statewide shows, and will coincide with the launch of the ICA's Car Care World Expo 2006 advertising effort to help drive the numbers for next year's show March 13-15 in Las Vegas.
November's online event is open to anyone interested in attending, and is free of charge. The ICA is asking for those interested to contact them by logging on to www.carcarecentral.com and provide the attendee's name, address, city, state and zip code, or visit www.CarCarCentral.com/e-Xpo as a direct registration link.