Trade Shows : Going Local

Trade Shows : Going Local
Todd Bourgon is the Executive Director of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA)

While American trade shows attract dealers from across North America, consider the advantages offered by Canadian events.

As I put pen to paper, the TADA, in partnership with Consolidated Dealers, has just hosted the fourth annual Ontario Dealer Day, which took place in Woodbridge, Ontario on April 11th.

This year, our trade show was bigger than ever, dealer registration was higher than ever, and our booth space sold out faster than in the previous three years.

With Canadian content, and exclusive show specials offered by the vendors, we know our dealers are finding it worthwhile to stop by, speak one-on-one with an entire roomful of suppliers, and find out about the newest products and services available for the dealer community.

When we asked the dealers why they come out to the event every year, many of the regulars said they appreciate the one-stop shopping experience. Our trade show allows them to cover a lot of territory in a very short period of time. Others said they come for the show specials, while others still said they appreciate the fact that they can speak face-to-face with suppliers, without having to worry about time constraints.

Key benefits

But how can a Canadian trade show compete with some of the shows our American friends put on every year? The point is, we’re not trying to compete with them. In fact, we think very highly of the major shows in the States, and we encourage Canadian dealers to attend as many as they would find beneficial.

Having said that, we also recognize the fact that not all Canadian dealers are able to attend American trade shows. Finding the time to do so can be a challenge, especially when you factor in travel, whether by car or by plane. That’s why many dealers appreciate a local event, like ours, that allows them to minimize travel time and maximize productivity.

Then there’s the value of the dollar. Not only is the cost of travel a factor, but with the low Canadian dollar we’re paying a premium for the cost of a hotel and accommodations, as well as the price of admission. That’s why many of the dealers who do attend American events will opt to send only a single individual from their store, thereby minimizing the overall cost.

Attending a Canadian event, on the other hand, can cut expenses dramatically. That’s why some of the dealers who attend our trade show often bring along a number of key employees, thereby allowing as many as possible to benefit from the experience.

Keep in mind that we don’t charge admission to Ontario Dealer Day, which makes coming out with your team as affordable as possible.

We hope to encourage Canadian dealers to continue expanding their knowledge about the latest technologies, products and services, both south of the border, and across Canada as well.

Canadian content

Another key factor to consider is content. As we all know, although the American and Canadian automotive markets are very similar, they’re also very different. Products and services available to American dealers often aren’t available north of the border.

This means Canadian dealers have to navigate their way through American trade shows as they try to figure out what applies to them, what’s available in Canada, and how much the product or service will actually cost when translated into Canadian dollars.

Attending a Canadian trade show, on the other hand, is nowhere near as complicated. Whatever products and services are advertised and promoted on the show floor are definitely available here in Canada. Furthermore, there’s no question about Canadian pricing, or about Canadian laws and regulations. And if you attend a trade show like ours, you’ll also benefit from show specials, which makes the experience that much more appealing.

Best of both worlds

Let me be perfectly clear. In no way am I saying that dealers should only attend Canadian events. The Americans offer a great product, and we hope that as many Canadian dealers as possible make it a habit to attend trade shows, conferences, and other events hosted by our friends south of the border.

But the fact remains that doing so can add up when you factor in all the expenses, the value of the dollar, and if you hope to send more than a single individual from your store to benefit from the programs.

Canadian events, on the other hand, are much more cost-effective, while offering you Canadian content at Canadian prices, with a one-stop shopping experience that allows you to maximize productivity while minimizing time away from the office.

We hope to encourage Canadian dealers to continue expanding their knowledge about the latest technologies, products and services, both south of the border, and across Canada as well. Going local certainly has its benefits.

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