A follow-up to: I Never Thought I’d Say This, But I F*cking Miss Parking Conferences.
Humans of the parking industry, how I’ve missed you! I’m typing this up as I sit through my second flight in less than 72 hours. Yup, I’m on my way to Vancouver for the Canadian Parking Association’s annual conference and tradeshow after a quick 3 days at home that followed 3 days in Las Vegas for the National Parking Association’s show. Exhausted? Yes. Motivated, rejuvenated, and on a bit of an extrovert’s high? Yes yes YES!
I wrote an open letter 18 months ago when the world as we knew it had drastically changed — everything had come to a halt, and suddenly virtual was the new reality. At that time, I couldn’t help but reflect on an aspect of the parking world that I didn’t realize was such a pivotal part of our industry: in-person conferences.
The truth is, I look forward to them every year. Seeing old friends, making awesome connections, and enjoying good food & drink while on the job? What can I say? Work hard, play hard for the win!
And coming back from Vegas from NPA’s Expo I can finally say… They’re back, baby! (And so are we!)
While there’s no denying that shows this year are different — masks and hand sanitizer and social distancing (oh, my!) — the sense of excitement you feel as you walk the tradeshow floor is like nothing else. Zoom meetings can’t compare. People were just ready to be back together. I know I was. There’s just something special about all being in the same room – an energy that follows you wherever you go.
These past 18 months have shown us how strong and resilient our industry is. We’ve been as hard-hit as anyone in this pandemic, but walking the tradeshow floor and seeing the innovation, the thought leadership, the collaboration, it was intoxicating – and this is before the drinks! ;).
To the folks that made sure these conferences happened: I think I speak on behalf of the entire industry when I say, we can’t thank you enough for bringing in-person conferences back to life — and bringing them back safely.
And to everyone else – I don’t know what winter or who-knows-what will bring around the corner. But I do know that, as long as it’s safe to be together, we’ll be there. The world has changed, but we haven’t. We are still people people. And I look forward to seeing you all again soon.
What happened in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas. Let’s keep the momentum going. Let’s get out. Let’s get together. Our Honk team is fired up and ready to go. Conferences, we’re back baby!