Can we as an industry band together for a common cause?
This question was posed again and again to more than 400 industry professionals attending the 2008 Car Rental Show March 31-April 1 at the Las Vegas Hilton.
This year, the rallying cry was not only to continue battling unfair excise taxes, but to consider other issues affecting the industry as a whole: cancellation fees, car class standardization, the public perception of car rental, new metrics to measure the health of the industry and, of course, rate sanity.
Keynotes: Insights from the Inside
The keynote speakers, heralding from various corners of the industry, propelled the theme of a unified call to action while giving insight into the future of car rental.
BILL CONNORS of the National Business Travel Association opened the show with an outlook on business travel.
NBTA predicts an increase in travel spending in the car rental sector of 5-7 percent for 2008, Connors reported. NBTA predicts that travel will continue to grow faster than overall GDP, though consumer and business travel behavior is altering in the face of rising air fares, hotel rates and high gasoline prices.
“The media loves to hear the bad news and doesn’t often print the good news,” Connors said. “However, most of the news is pretty positive in our sector.”
SEAN BUSKING, director of the American Car Rental Association, presented the “good, the bad and the ugly” in this year’s excise tax fight.
Wins include the defeat of a $15 car rental fee to fund a light rail system in Southern Wisconsin. However, 71 potential new excise taxes are being monitored.
Incoming ACRA President BOB BARTON of U-Save Car & Truck Rental challenged attendees to consider adopting standards for car classifications and implement reservations deposits.