Rent Alert: Program Finalized for 2011 Car Rental Show

Technology, sustainability and “the new normal” will take center stage at this year’s annual industry conference.

The program for the 2011 Car Rental Show, taking place March 8-9 at the Las Vegas Hilton, has been finalized. Here are further details.

Car Rental and Technology

This year's opening keynote speaker, Larry De Shon of Avis Budget Group, will discuss how technology is not only changing car rental processes, but also changing the traditional business model itself. De Shon's address, titled "Rethinking Car Rental in a New Era of Technology," is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8 at 1:15 p.m.

De Shon will guide car rental operators on how technology is providing new opportunities for the industry, but with these opportunities come new challenges in areas such as PCI compliance, customer information security, fleet safety and environmental regulations and standards. Will you be able to harness technology to avoid the potholes and better your business?

De Shon, executive vice president of operations, oversees all domestic car rental operations as well as quality assurance and field security for Avis and Budget. Prior to joining Avis Budget Group, De Shon was senior vice president of airport operations at United Airlines Inc., leading an organization of 23,000 employees in 29 countries.

The New Normal

Automotive industry entrepreneur Jack Fitzgerald will deliver the closing keynote address, scheduled for Wednesday, March 9 at 4:15 p.m.

Fitzgerald's keynote, titled, "From Bailouts to Cash for Clunkers: the New Normal in the Car Business for Dealers and Rental Operators," will examine today's issues by drawing on his more than 50 years of experience in the auto industry.

Fitzgerald will touch on the upheavals of the last several years and how his organization has dealt with the changing landscape of the car business. Fitzgerald will present his unique perspective in the context of a franchised dealer, a retail car rental operator and a franchisor leading a car rental system. 

Fitzgerald owns and operates 15 car sales locations and 35 manufacturer franchises in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida, as well as Mid-Atlantic car rental company Nextcar. In 2006, he acquired Rent-A-Wreck of America and sister company Priceless Car & Truck rental, the franchisor of more than 200 car rental locations across the United States and abroad in Scandinavia.

Sustainability Now

In a special Wednesday morning breakfast session, Lee Broughton of Enterprise Holdings will highlight "the triple bottom line"-global economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Broughton, who heads up corporate sustainability at Enterprise Holdings, will address the need for the car rental industry to develop a sector-specific position on sustainability reporting and transparency. He will discuss how car rental companies must embrace new, clean fuel and engine technologies to help ensure that the passenger vehicle remains relevant. As well, the industry must work together regarding sustainable best practices before environmental regulations and legislation mandate the industry to do so.

International Operators Seminar

The International Operators seminar is back by popular demand! Hosted by Angela Margolit of Bluebird Auto Rental Systems, this pre-conference, two-hour session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to noon. In this jam-packed, hands-on session, CRS international attendees will learn about the latest trends and techniques to implement in their operations.

Margolit will present the newest technology for going mobile, including signature pads and handheld devices.

Roy Bricker, COO of Element Payment Services, will discuss how important new security mandates in the credit card industry will affect car rental. In the U.S., new Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) influenced the development of technology solutions to ease the cost and complexity of compliance. Outside the U.S., countries including the U.K. and most recently Canada are now mandating chip-and-PIN technology at the point of sale. Bricker, who was involved in the development of smart cards (chip and PIN) at MasterCard, will demonstrate devices.

Joe Knight, vice president of business development for Fox Rent A Car, will introduce Fox's new affiliate program, which gives overseas operators the opportunity to align with this growing discount brand and offers them access to the Global Distribution Systems (GDS).

Where and how do you source top-notch talent these days? Join Jim Davis and Tom Sabol of Leslie Saunders for a session full of hiring and training tips. Participants will take home ideas on finding candidates for the job, hiring the right team members and training them for success.

Visit www.carrentalshow.com for further details.

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