AADA 2020 Moving Forward, AADA’s first-ever completely online National Dealer Convention & Expo, was a resounding success, with high participation rates in both workshops and feature sessions.

Hosted by industry veteran David McCarthy on 10 and 11 November, the online event was of course made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions on travel and gatherings. Instead of our usual influx of overseas guest speakers and delegates from around Australia converging on a single location, the convention operated as business has for much of 2020 – via video link.

NADA chairman Rhett Ricart sent a video message from his dealership in Columbus, Ohio, while Australian Senators Deborah O’Neill and David Van joined AADA CEO James Voortman in conversation, and session presenters from around Australia and the United States presented live via video link.
Over the two days, 977 delegates tuned in, of which 498 were Dealers. At 51% of attendees, that was a better rate than a normal convention, with very high Dealer Principal numbers.

In total we had 1070 workshop participants over the two days, while our day 1 feature sessions attracted an average of 300 viewers per session.
With workshops limited to a maximum of 50 viewers at a time, many maxed out, with some, like Facebook, totalling 80 unique attendees as viewers came in and out of their session. The workshops generated more leads for our exhibitors than a normal convention, so the rate of engagement was high. Almost every Expo exhibitor conducted a workshop and reaped the benefits.

Naturally, we missed the social and networking highlights of our traditional convention, and nothing beats in-person experiences for connection and enjoyment, but all in all, considering we had never done it before and the amount of work it took to change plans from our traditional format to online, the event was a resounding success. AADA thanks all attendees, exhibitors and speakers for their time and engagement, and we hope to see you all in person at the 2021 AADA National Dealer Convention & Expo.

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