By Patrick Flannery
The Rental Mart will have to take a hiatus, but will return.
By Patrick Flannery
Regret to inform you that the Canadian Rental Mart will not take place in 2020. That’s probably the least surprising news you’ve heard in months. Despite most businesses returning to normal-with-masks-and-distancing, getting hundreds of people together indoors doesn’t look like something public health authorities are going to allow any time soon. And we are all holding our breaths to some degree to see what the effect will be of letting kids go back to school, which hadn’t happened as of this writing. Maybe school will cause a spike and maybe it won’t, but the uncertainty makes it impossible to go forward with our Oct. 20 date for the show.
Instead, we’re looking at various online options. Maybe you’ve already caught one of our Rental Summits, where we offer some education and a look at technology, all focused on one popular equipment category. Our first one was presented with the help of Bomag, and Tom Watson did an incredible job of giving us an overview of compaction principles coupled with advice on which compaction equipment to recommend depending on the customer’s job. Then we got a nice video walkaround of Bomag’s lighter tampers and plates – perfect for the backyard DIYer that has time on their hands these days. All in all, it felt a lot like a visit to a Bomag booth at a trade show, which was the intention given that’s something we won’t be doing any time soon. If you missed it, never fear, a recording of the Summit is available online at canadianrentalservice.com > Webinars.
We’re planning more of these, with focuses on aerial equipment, construction heat, generators and more. The idea is to give you a quick hit of information and education that your staff can access without having to travel and dedicate days away from the store. It’s all possible because of the massive advances in online video streaming technology that we have all had to become so familiar with in the last months. Good grief, what would have happened to the economy without Zoom?
That said, there’s no replacing a live event like the Rental Mart with anything online. We’ll be getting back to live trade shows just as soon as we can.
We’ve all been forced to learn a lot about online communication this year and one thing that has emerged is that there are pros and cons. On one hand, event organizers like us are actually seeing larger audiences. It’s not hard to understand why: attendees don’t even have to get out of their pyjamas to drop into an event half way around the world. The quality of seminars and education sessions has gone up for the same reason. The top experts in the world are a link-click away, whereas in the past we would have had to fly them in from wherever they are. For these reasons, I think online conferences will be a bigger part of our offering going forward, even after live events become possible again.
But we will return to live events as well because one thing you can’t replicate online is the element of serendipity. You don’t know who you’re going to bump into at a live event. You don’t know who you will end up talking to or what you might see. I don’t think I’ve been to a trade show yet where I didn’t meet someone new, find out about a company I hadn’t heard of before AND learn something I wasn’t specifically looking to learn. When you’re online, you often only find the information you are looking for. When you attend a live event, you might find out something you didn’t know you didn’t know.
I promise our online Rental Mart will be worth your time. And I’m also looking forward to the excitement we will all feel when we can get together again in person.