As the chairman who hails from the great "Centennial State," I would be remiss if I didn't officially invite all dealers to our Centennial Celebration next January in New Orleans. Yes, in 2017 your national association will proudly turn 100 years old! On behalf of all of us at NADA, I invite our members, automakers, industry allies and partners and the media to celebrate at the NADA100.
There is no better place than the lively and historical city of New Orleans to celebrate a legacy of serving the public for the past 100 years. And our invitation list is long. We expect more than 24,000 people-including over 3,000 guests from other countries-to attend our birthday bash; and to accommodate them we have booked some of the best hotels throughout the city. I encourage you to register for the convention and book your trip now, as we expect all available hotel rooms to be fully booked by November. Register online to access immediate hotel availability and receive confirmation of your transaction in minutes. You'll save $100 if you register by September 9.
Once you arrive in New Orleans, you can be sure to experience a CAR-nival! It isn't a party without food and entertainment. Be ready to enjoy some of the best food and music in the nation. Our gala birthday party on January will feature musical guests Foreigner, Cowboy Mouth and other New Orleans favorites.
And, of course, you'll also find hundreds of exhibitors on the expo floor and over 100 workshop sessions geared for dealers and their managers to optimize their performance and profitability throughout the year.
More than 20 franchise meetings give dealers a prime opportunity to discuss marketing plans, sales outlooks and product launches with OEM execs. In short, it's a great time to build relationships. All meetings will be held in the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
True to the New Orleans spirit, you'll see things that you've never seen before. NADA is excited to launch the Exchange: The Modern Dealership Experience, which will provide dealers an overview of how the auto retail world is evolving and how we need to adapt and thrive in a changing world. This is a great time for us all to discuss strategies, share ideas and open dialogue with other industry innovators. We'll have the chance to explore critical topics like the online consumer buying experience, the showroom and service lane experience, and best-in-class technology.
New Orleans is one of our favorite cities. It's tough and resilient just like our industry, just like all of us. Come January 26-29, I hope to see you in one place: the Big Easy.
There are five more months until we turn 100 years old. It won't be a party without you, so I'll see you there!
Carlson is chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association and a Ford and Subaru dealer in Glenwood Springs, Colo.