In the movie “Jerry Maguire,” the protagonist sports agent has a late-night epiphany on the business he’s in. He scribbles his thoughts onto a pad that ultimately become a manifesto that he circulates to his entire company.
The film only uses a few snippets from the manifesto, yet the writer/director, Cameron Crowe, created it in its entirety. It’s completely fictitious, but still pretty awesome.
As we head into our fourth annual Auto Rental Summit (ARS), it’s time to hit the reset button to clear up any misconceptions and set a clear direction for the event. So here’s our own manifesto, minus anything as glamorous as Tom Cruise.
To understand what ARS is about, part of the answer concerns what it isn’t: it’s not about legislative activism, nor about exploring ancillary business models. It isn’t trying to figure out the future of car rental. Those topics have an important place at the International Car Rental Show, but they’re not part of the ARS curriculum.
ARS is also not a place where counter employees are trained. It’s not Car Rental 101. (However, similar to the Car Rental Show, Jim Schalberg does offer his certification class training at Auto Rental Summit.)
Then, what is ARS about? It’s about People, Process and Profits.
Your people are your human capital, the backbone of your business, the ones directly interfacing with your renters. ARS will show you how to get the most out of your team — and motivate them to buy into your mission.
The process is how you run your business: From fleet buying and selling to counter procedures and sales tactics, at ARS you’ll learn how to streamline your operations to improve customer service and your bottom line.
And profit: ARS is about stepping out of the day-to-day maelstrom to think big picture, to understand new concepts that will add to your bottom line. At ARS, we'll collaborate on those revenue-generating concepts: the big picture stuff, the new business opportunities, the light-bulb ideas that allow your business to turn the corner.
We started Auto Rental Summit in 2012 because we thought there was room for another event for the car rental community. This was at a time when the Car Rental Show was just getting back on its feet after the Recession. The industry was consolidating. With strained budgets, would the calendar support another event?
At that point, we weren’t 100% sure, but we did know that this industry does business through personal interaction. That’s ironic, understanding that our main form of communication these days is electronic — which only furthers the need for another face-to-face forum.
Yes, the industry has consolidated yet again, with a few recent high-profile buyouts of independents. But the industry is not constricting. There is a difference. The public’s need for personal mobility is greater than ever, and the means to do it is transforming. Newcomers are entering the business. There is still room for entrepreneurs in car rental.
Auto Rental Summit is about gaining inspiration and learning from those entrepreneurs — from the keynotes to our individual and company award winners. The people that join Auto Rental Summit are the motivated ones.
In publishing this manifesto, we’re openly setting the goal high, and we expect you to keep our feet to the flame. We don’t always get it right. If you sit in on a seminar that doesn’t deliver on the content we put in the show guide, let us know. If you have a great idea for a speaker or seminar, please tell us.
Jerry Maguire’s manifesto got him fired, but it was the catalyst to turn his career around. Heck, we just want to create a better event. See you in November.