Photo courtesy of B Resort & Spa.
Now in its fifth year, Auto Rental Summit has a new city and a new headquarters hotel, the B Resort & Spa near Orlando, Fla.
“We’re excited to be moving north to Orlando, a world class destination, reachable with many direct domestic and international flights,” says Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News. “And wait until you see the new property — it’s upscale, modern, and boutique, and will serve the Summit well.”
Of course, Auto Rental Summit (ARS) is really about the agenda. This year’s speakers and seminars will deliver on the theme of “People, Process, and Profits.”
What does that theme mean? “It’s about owners and managers unlocking the potential of employees and motivating them to achieve peak performance,” Brown says. “It’s about improving car rental operations, from fleet buying and selling to counter procedures, from new revenue-generating concepts and sales methods to the light-bulb ideas that allow your business to turn the corner.”
“ARS is not about legislative issues; it’s not Car Rental 101, or the future of car rental,” adds Brown. “It’s about giving owners, managers, and their top employees the tools to achieve sustainability and directly improve their bottom line today.”
Returning for 2016, the Fleet Jam Session — a three-hour, roll-up-your-sleeves deep dive into fleet issues and solutions — kicks off the event Monday morning.
Tom Webb, Cox Automotive’s chief economist, returns to present a high-level analysis of the marketplace as it relates to rental. This year, he’ll be joined by a Cox Automotive general manager to give the 30,000-foot view on down to the auction lanes. This presentation will examine data, trends, and tools to help rental operators adapt and prepare for the next evolution in the used vehicle market.
Popular rental segments have experienced the highest depreciation since before the Recession. In this context, Anil Goyal, senior vice president of operations at Black Book, will show attendees how to mitigate higher fleet costs and improve fleet forecasts with insights into depreciation trends, new and used vehicle supply, and factors affecting volume and demand.
To round out the Fleet Jam Session, fleet gurus and Sixt franchisees Mark Eckhaus and Tim Yopp are ready to bust common fleet myths such as “The longer I hold my fleet, the better my depreciation,” and “I can’t make money renting economy cars.”
The Fleet MythBusters will share their on-the-ground strategies for choosing the right model mix, advance ordering, spot buying, remarketing opportunistically, and more.
“Employees don’t quit their job, they quit their boss.”
This year’s keynote presentation from Geoffrey Toffetti, president of Frontline Performance Group, asks attendees to examine this uncomfortable truth — and then take the next steps to hone their leadership abilities. In “Critical Steps to Inspired Leadership, Employee Engagement, and Peak Performance,” Toffetti will outline a plan to help attendees define and explain their company’s core belief system, understand key aspects of the employee mindset, and instill confidence in the future of their companies.
Toffetti has delivered this message to senior management teams at Europcar, Universal Studios, Hilton Hotels, and its Waldorf Astoria brand.
“Geoffrey is a sought-after speaker worldwide on the topic of leadership,” Brown says. “Expect an inspirational message, along with take-home tools to improve employee engagement and drive peak performance.”
The balance of the seminars for 2016 directly addresses today’s hot topics in car rental.
Attendees at a seminar at last year's Auto Rental Summit. Photo by Joseph Cancellare.
Both California and New York have recently passed $15-hour minimum wage laws, while Seattle began phasing in $15 two years ago. Prominent employment lawyer Richard Alaniz will share insights into how car rental companies can prepare for the financial, compliance, regulatory, and employee-relations challenges that these changes can bring, as well as offer effective solutions to minimize labor costs.
Internationally, car rental companies have been utilizing brokers for years, though the model has only recently taken hold in the U.S. The seminar “Can Online Brokers Expand Your Reservations Reach?” will show how brokers function compared to GDS-based platforms, who the players are, and how new platforms offer app-based marketplaces to deliver rental car inventory to new customer bases.
New technology solutions promise to boost utilization in rental fleets while providing a look into the future beyond rental counters.
App-based provider Skurt will demonstrate how to leverage excess inventory through delivery of rental cars, while Hyrecar will explain its platform to rent fleet to Uber and Lyft drivers.
As cyber-attacks and data breaches are a fact of life in today’s digital world, ARS will deliver a seminar on the latest methods criminals are using to infiltrate data systems, including best practices in protecting customer data, uncovering and defending against employee theft, protocols for protecting credit card information, structuring access restrictions, and more.
The recall bill became law on June 1. Five months into the law’s real-world application, ARS will present a seminar that tackles the issue from three perspectives: rental operations, dealer servicing, and data and consulting.
Using actual recall repair data and on-the-ground intelligence from the technicians completing the repairs, attendees will come away with solutions to hone their recall game plan.
Other seminars cover various aspects of risk: A seminar on insuring rental fleets will analyze insurance rules by state and various forms of coverages and then show the steps to take to prepare for renewal and lower insurance costs.
How counter employees manage a potentially risky counter exchange will define whether the rental transaction goes from good to bad, or ugly. Using case scenarios and audience participation, ARS will present a seminar that will offer resources and strategies to deal with and mitigate risky behavior.
When selling ancillary products and services, it’s imperative to understand the proper documentation, sale, and regulation of renter coverages such as SLI and CDW/LDW. Using real-world practical suggestions and guidelines, this seminar will provide an in-depth review of the common pitfalls such as inadequate disclosures, incomplete documentation at the branch level, commissions, and incorrect pricing.
Attendees in the exhibit hall at last year's Auto Rental Summit. Photo by Joseph Cancellare.