What’s in store at the 2009 Car Rental Show (CRS) at the Las Vegas Hilton, March 30-31? Now in its 14th year, this year’s conference is themed “Building Your Future,” and the entire program focuses on cost-effective solutions to thrive in the down economy.

The conference is presented again in conjunction with ACRA, the American Car Rental Association.

Those 15 ways to build your business can be divided into two pre-conference workshops, 12 seminars and a Tuesday breakfast roundtable session. Throw in a ride and drive—a show first—and you’ll see that CRS 2009 is packed with more content in the two-day schedule than ever before.

Tennant Group Roundtable
From 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, March 30, the Tennant Group Roundtable will hold a special free session be open to all Car Rental Show attendees.

The Tennant Group Roundtable consists of select non-competing car and truck rental operators who meet to compare financial results to improve efficiency and profits. This Roundtable forum will cover a comparison of actual revenue and expense ratios. Roundtable attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the reasons for the differences, as well as take valuable information back to their businesses.

Additionally, each member of the roundtable will have five minutes to present an idea that will directly improve profits in car rental operations. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote on the best idea, and the winner will receive a prize.

Rental Car Certification
Concurrent with the Tennant Group Roundtable, CIRAS (Center for International Retail Automotive Standards) will present its Rental Car Professional Certification workshop.

This brand-new certification program is designed to educate attendees on a better business understanding, better risk management techniques, marketing techniques to increase retail business and ways to improve success rates for after-sale items.

The certification workshop includes interactive content review, an exam and a beautifully designed industry certificate. The workshop is $300 for pre-registered attendees and is offered first come, first served. [PAGEBREAK]

Breakfast Roundtables
New for 2009, the CRS Tuesday breakfast will feature food for thought. Grab your breakfast, choose a table and a subject that interests you and break bread with industry experts in a one-on-one environment.

PricewaterhouseCoopers will lead a discussion on the economic stimulus package, including related tax benefits and how they can be utilized by companies in the car rental industry.

Other topics include how to stay PCI compliant, turning toll violations into a profit center and new ways to reduce fuel purchase cost.



5 Things You Can Do to Improve Creditworthiness
New TARP legislation doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the loan, especially if you can’t prove creditworthiness to a lender. Roger Bernskoetter of Kline Corporation presents this session, which will take a hard look at the steps you must take to position yourself for potential funds that may become available to rental car operators.


Reservation Systems—New Opportunities for the Independent Operator
All Web sites are not created equal! RAC operators face a spectrum of Web capability and cost. In this session, moderated by Craig Parmerlee of Ace Rent A Car, the panel will discuss a range of technical capabilities and marketing ideas that others have found affordable and successful.

Preventing ID Fraud at the Counter What do you do when you sense a possible fraudulent transaction at your counter? Learn how to leverage the Web and technology to identify and prevent suspicious transactions and isolate this costly and increasing business burden.


Next Generation Distribution System At No Cost to Operators

Has the traditional GDS model frustrated your access to new potential customers?

CarTrawler, an award-winning technology company with a pure focus on car rental distribution, has developed a way for smaller, niche-oriented car rental companies to connect more cost effectively and increase both premium and incremental sales.

This seminar will show operators how they can use CarTrawler to increase revenue immediately by accessing new sales channels, tapping into new source markets, targeting specific customers and accessing free car rental booking engines with tailored content.

Using Rate Management Strategies, Procedures and Systems to Drive Revenue
To survive in today’s markets you must monitor and adjust your rates as well as arm yourself with the systems and strategies necessary to compete. If you do not, you are most likely “leaving money on the table.” If you do, even in a tough economy, you can increase revenue and get “all the juice from the orange.”

Steven Neudorff, vice president of consulting and sales for Rate Highway, will discuss pricing strategies, competitive rate analysis, increasing revenue through rate automation and developments in rate management systems that address the needs of airport and local market operations.

Fleet Planning—More Important Than Ever
Your fleet is your largest asset. Proactively managing this asset is the difference between profit and loss.

Mark Eckhaus, Jack Goode and Tim Yopp of Eckhaus Fleet, and Wayne Yocum of Automotive Finance Corporation will dissect the radically altered fleet marketplace and provide attendees with the skills to help navigate these dangerous times.


Everything I Know About Rental Agreements
Michael LaPlaca, Esq., of LaPlaca Law, has created rental agreements for hundreds of companies for 35 years. Learn how to make rental agreements understandable, legally compliant and protective of your business.

Enhancing Customer Service in a Down Economy
Rental fleets with high mileage, customers haggard from a bad flight experience and negative auto industry press: Your frontline sales team deals with these realities daily.

In this session, team members from the Khoury Group will give participants customer service techniques, strategies and day-in-the-life exercises that can be applied immediately to their respective operations to increase their competitive advantage.

Will Rent-to-Own Work for You?
The “rent-to-own” concept is not just for furniture anymore. In this age of tight credit, more and more customers are looking for alternative ways to get into a car. Likewise, operators are looking for secure and alternative ways to capture profit.

Allen Lentsch of Northland Auto Enterprises pioneered rent-to-own for autos in 1990. Lentsch will head up a panel that will discuss the rent-to-own concept and show you how to make $7,400 profit on a $5,000 used vehicle using Northland’s Ren‘T’Own business model.

ACRA Operators’ Panel Discussion
Join Sean Busking, executive director of the American Car Rental Association, and the ACRA Board of Directors for an update on ACRA’s mission and the current legislative efforts ACRA is pursuing on behalf of the American auto rental industry.


How to Maximize Your Return at Resale
The used car market is changing rapidly. Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to maximize end-of-term revenues?

Our panel of remarketing experts will help you to understand: market cycles, proper remarketing channels for your situation, types of reconditioning to give you the best return, when to hold and when to take the hit, what buyers want in a used car, how to approach dealers with your inventory and how to plan for resale when you purchase.

Closing Keynote Funding Panel
The funding landscape is in a state of flux. Are banks still lending? Are there new avenues for funding?

This panel discussion will feature key rental fleet lenders providing their perspectives on funding issues and opportunities in this unprecedented era of tight credit and limited liquidity.






Matt Darrah, senior vice president of North American Operations, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Rent-A-Car and Alamo Rent-A-Car, will provide a strategic industry overview from the perspective of North America’s largest and most comprehensive car rental company, which collectively operates a U.S. fleet of more than 850,000 vehicles and a coast-to-coast network of more than 6,800 neighborhood and airport locations on behalf of all three brands.





Eckhaus Fleet, in conjunction with Zenn Motor Company, will have a Zenn electric vehicle available to drive during CRS. Visit the Eckhaus Fleet booth to sign up to drive—and experience for yourself an important mode of future of transportation.



Chris Brown is executive editor of Auto Rental News. He can be reached at chris.brown@bobit.com.


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