Car wash professionals gathered in New Orleans in October for 24 hours of fun, food, friends and education at International Carwash Association’s Splash! event.
Splash! offers a unique twist on the trade show concept, providing a more casual and fun atmosphere to help create opportunities for those in attendance to connect and learn. This year’s event built on the success of last year’s inaugural event in Las Vegas.
“This is our second time at Splash. We were there last year and loved it,” said Jimmy Starnes of Wash Me Fast in Atlanta. “We love the concept of being able to get away with a group. I love Splash because it’s not a full-blown show but bursts of energy and information in a fun environment where you can make new friends and learn a ton about car wash trends.”
“I love Splash because it’s not a full-blown show but bursts of energy and information in a fun environment where you can make new friends and learn a ton about car wash trends.”
And for Benny’s Car Wash, it provided an easy way to bring a large number of the team together to get a broader sense of the industry, and connect with the vendor community. Benny’s brought nearly 30 people to the event in New Orleans.
“This is my first [car wash event] and I didn’t know what to expect,” said Wayne Sullivan with Benny’s. “I didn’t know what to expect and I’m noticing some of the vendors we use. It’s nice to connect faces to names.”
In just 24 hours, Splash! attendees were treated to 15-minutes Wash Talks from car wash experts on a variety of topics, ranging from the Future of the Industry, to Safety Planning for your Wash, to Consolidation and your business.
“We love the Wash Talks that go on throughout the days,” said Donka Djordjevic, who works in marketing at AVW Equipment. “I love hearing about interesting new topics.”
The event format featured two different types of sponsor kiosks, and very little equipment, creating a different style of vendor-operator interaction.
“I’m excited about the casual environment,” said Jeff Wizer with Innovative Control Systems. “It’s a little more spread out than a traditional show and it’s nice because you can have conversations with customers and not get bogged down in equipment.”
The event also featured interesting entertainment options like alligator handlers and stilt walkers, as well as a number of prize giveaways. And, a 50/50 Raffle benefitting Wash Away Thirst.
“It was a great opportunity to support clean water,” said said ICA Director of Marketing Matt DeWolf. “It gave people a chance to give a little back to a good cause, and for one lucky winner to walk away with a little extra spending cash.”
This year’s 50/50 raffle raised $1,228 for Wash Away Thirst.
For ICA, this event is a key part of the organizations ongoing strategy to bring the car wash community together. “In this second edition, what still remains exciting about Splash! is that we are seeing unique attendees - who haven’t gone to The Car Wash Show in recent years - and the feedback about the concept remains quite high,” said ICA CEO Eric Wulf. “Offering an event that is efficient, information-laden and fun for car wash operators is a model that we think has great opportunity for ICA and regional association partners.”
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