The Car Wash Show™, presented by the International Carwash Association (ICA), brings together carwash vendors, distributors, owners and operators under one roof to network and learn more about the latest and greatest trends impacting the professional carwash industry.

ICA, according to its website, “is an indispensable business partner providing relevant information, commerce and best practices to the car wash industry and its members.”

At The Car Wash Show™ 2016, over 70 educational programs were offered to more than 7,500 attendees, representing nearly 10,000 car care locations around the globe. This year, over 130,000 net sq. ft. of products and services will be on display at the largest trade show for the professional carwashing industry.

The ICA, in partnership with the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) and the Western Carwash Association (WCA), will welcome the professional carwash industry to Las Vegas, Nevada, for The Car Wash Show™ 2017, which will take place from April 4-6 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

As the carwash industry prepared for this year’s show in Las Vegas, we spoke with Claire D. Moore, the chief operating officer (COO) of ICA, to learn more about what the association has planned for the 2017 event and beyond.

In this exclusive Q&A, Moore shares insight into the history of the ICA, current challenges facing our industry and what attendees can expect during their time at The Car Wash Show 2017.

PC&D  |  Can you please explain the functions and purpose of the International Carwash Association® (ICA) in the professional carwashing industry?

CM  |  ICA functions as a resource for carwash operators all across the country, providing networking and learning opportunities that bolster a vibrant community of carwash professionals. We consider ourselves the voice of the professional carwash industry and strive to be the industry’s spokesperson to business and consumer media, investors, governmental agencies, allied associations and related industries.

We’re constantly evolving and keeping pace with industry changes; recently, we expanded our research and advocacy efforts to help provide relevant industry information to our association members and to represent industry interests.

PC&D  |  Since last year’s show in Nashville, how has the association worked with lawmakers and auto manufacturers to ensure that the carwash industry is properly represented?

CM  |  We have been working closely with a company called Schwartz Advisors over the last year to address some of the issues that have been surfacing with automated sensors in new vehicles that are causing issues in the carwash.

Schwartz conducted a survey earlier this year to understand the issues operators are facing. Schwartz is presenting the issues identified in the survey to the automobile manufacturers in order to educate them on the issues operators are finding in the carwash. Finally, the company is also building a database of vehicle handling procedures for carwash operators that will be available in the second half of this year. Schwartz will be presenting the results of that survey as well as its observations and next steps during the educational program at The Car Wash Show in Las Vegas.

PC&D  |  Overall, how will The Car Wash Show 2017 compare to previous events? Are there any new additions being offered this year?

CM  |  We are excited for all that The Car Wash Show 2017 has to offer to the car care industry, including the continued integration of the fast lube community into the show. The show features 400 exhibiting companies over three days of trade show hours, 48 education sessions, two comprehensive seminars, new and enhanced networking events and a dynamic keynote from Tom Ridge, the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the former governor of Pennsylvania and the chairman of Ridge Global.

Our mindset for this year’s show is simple: Make it easy and convenient for the industry to participate. From the moment that an attendee first visits the show’s website to register until his or her final moments on the trade show floor in Las Vegas, we strive to make the experience seamless. We want attendees to be able to focus on gaining valuable insights and building relationships.

ICA greatly values feedback provided by attendees and exhibitors from previous years, and we use that important information to continually refine and enhance the show. Each year, we raise the bar in terms of the education and networking offerings. The strong state of the industry has created positive momentum heading into this year’s show. On top of all that, our attendees enjoy returning to Las Vegas, a city that never disappoints in entertaining and captivating all who visit.

PC&D  |  Are there any new attendee convenience features added for this year’s show that our readers should know about? How are you increasing the attendee experience this year?

CM  |  One new initiative for 2017 is the creation of a VIP upgrade to the All Access Pass. This VIP add-on allows attendees to avoid registration lines by receiving their badges in the mail prior to the show, gives them access to the Century Club lounge, a complimentary shuttle ride to the airport after the show and (my favorite) gives them an extra two hours of trade show floor time.

We understand that our attendees and exhibiting companies want unique, interesting ways to network with one another, and we strive to develop events that meet those needs. This year’s show features a Welcome Reception and a new Booth Crawl, both on the trade show floor.

PC&D  |  How can attending the planned education seminars and the Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) co-located show help attendees increase their show attendance ROI?    

CM  |  In 2017, AOCA and its educational iFLEX offerings have been fully integrated into the show. We welcome and encourage AOCA members to take advantage of all the education and networking benefits of the show. This year’s show is all about redefining how attendees see their businesses, and education plays a key role in that process. While the trade show features the newest technologies and innovations in the industry, the education sessions will provide attendees with a more holistic view of their businesses.

Half of the 48 education sessions developed for this year’s show are relevant to fast lube operators. Many of our long-time attendees also own fast lubes, so having a robust iFLEX education program only provides additional value for those attendees also.

We encourage attendees to think about the areas of their business they want to strengthen and then choose their sessions accordingly — that’s how you’ll see the largest return on your investment in coming to the show.

By categorizing our education in two ways — by topic and by audience — attendees can easily identify the sessions that are relevant to them and their businesses. This streamlines their decision-making process, which will allow them to focus on the show, not trying to figure out which session to attend.