The 2015 Auto Rental Summit convened this week at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., with a record turnout of car rental managers, executives and employees from corporate, franchised and independent companies.
With nearly 300 registered attendees, Auto Rental Summit welcomed car rental operators and vendors from 14 countries, including the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Canada, Estonia, Cyprus and Costa Rica, as well as a delegation of 23 executives from Brazil.
Tom Webb, chief economist for Manheim, delivered the keynote address. Webb presented a glimpse into the future based on the current economy and market conditions. Webb pointed to a generally positive job market, though one that has produced only 142,000 more full-time jobs than before the Recession.
Webb expects modest revenue growth this year for the car rental industry, along with higher depreciation costs driven by a growth in wholesale supply. Used car values won’t collapse, Webb said, given the robust level of retail demand and dealer profits.
This year, seminars were designed specifically for the Brazilian delegation, Latin American attendees and franchised auto dealers as part of the Auto Dealer Day programming block.
In an Auto Rental Summit first, Jason Fialkov, a Facebook client partner, showed attendees the cutting-edge tools Facebook offers to help small car rental businesses better connect with potential customers.
In another first, the Manheim Fort Lauderdale auto auction designed and conducted a tour especially for Auto Rental Summit attendees. The tour included a visit to the sales lanes, technology center, vehicle inspection areas and reconditioning facilities, and attendees witnessed a demonstration of the writing of a condition report.
A highlight each year and an intrinsic part of Auto Rental Summit, seven individuals and companies were in attendance to receive the Auto Rental News Professional of the Year Award sponsored by American Express and the Renter Rated awards from CarRentalExpress.com.