If you think you’ve done enough to improve your business, stop reading. You don’t need to go to the Car Rental Show! My guess is that you’re still reading.

In conjunction with the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), the 2012 Car Rental Show (CRS) will convene at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on March 12-13.

If you’re a regular, a first-timer or haven’t been in years, why come to this year’s show? We could tell you it’s going to be the best show ever. But, such superlatives are a dime a dozen, so we won’t make that claim. Instead, we’ll let the lineup of keynotes, seminars, workshops and networking opportunities speak for themselves. If you make it to the show, then you can tell us if indeed it was “the best show ever.”

Connect the Dots
This year’s keynotes and general session addresses will connect the dots between your auto rental business, mobility, travel and the future. 

Mark FrissoraPresident & CEO, Hertz Corp.

Mark Frissora
President & CEO,
Hertz Corp.

Sam GravesU.S. Representative (R-Mo.)

Sam Graves
U.S. Representative

We are delighted to have Rep. Sam Graves, sixth district of Missouri, open the Car Rental Show with a special address. Graves, author of the Graves Amendment that eliminated vicarious liability of owners of rented or leased vehicles, will discuss the road to passage of this historic legislation as well as new challenges to the Graves Amendment.

Bob BartonPresident & COO, U-SavePresident, ACRA

Bob Barton
President & COO, U-Save
President, ACRA

Gary RappeportPresident & CEO, Donlen Corp.

Gary Rappeport
President & CEO, Donlen Corp.

A member of the transportation committee, as well as chairman of the small business committee, Graves touches the business lives of all in the auto rental industry, from the major companies and its franchisees to the independent entrepreneurs.

Directly following, Mark Frissora, chairman and CEO of The Hertz Corp., and Gary Rappeport, CEO of Donlen Corp., one of the nation’s largest vehicle leasing companies and a Hertz subsidiary, will together deliver the opening keynote address. Frissora and Rappeport will discuss the imminent convergence of auto rental with other vehicle mobility solutions, ranging from car sharing, traditional car rental, and long-term auto, truck and equipment rental and leasing.

In a Tuesday morning general session, Geoff Freeman of the U.S. Travel Association will guide car rental operators on working together with hotel, airline and destination partners on a grassroots level in the fight against excise taxes and other issues — before a crisis hits.

To close the show, Bob Barton’s keynote address will answer the question, “why is car rental the ugly step-sister of the travel world?” Barton, president and COO of U-Save, president of ACRA, board member for one of Europe’s largest tour operators and a 26-year veteran of the travel industry, is uniquely qualified to answer this question. Barton will challenge CRS attendees on what the car rental industry can do to improve service, the customer’s experience and ultimately, profitability.

Leslie Pujo of LaPlaca Law will update attendees on the laws, regulations, legal challenges and proposed legislation that impacted car rental companies in 2011, and she will provide a look at what’s on the horizon for 2012.

To round out the general sessions, join Sharon Faulkner, the executive director of ACRA, and the ACRA board of directors for an open forum on some of the issues currently being tackled by ACRA and pending issues facing the industry, from legislation and taxation to standardization and policy consensus. This session is your chance to cause action and affect change through your association.[PAGEBREAK]

Pre-conference Workshops
Now a Car Rental Show staple, our Monday pre-conference workshops are opportunities to deep dive on subjects in two- and three-hour sessions.

The CIRAS Certification program will take place from 8 a.m. to noon. This certification course will equip employees with the proper knowledge to run a profitable car rental company.

The Tennant Group is back for another year, but in a unique new format. Get ready to roll up your sleeves in the two-hour Idea Workshop! Participants can attend three of four tables on the subjects of fleet planning and acquisition, fleet disposal, personnel and marketing. Open to all operators and to preapproved interested vendors, each table, facilitated by a Tennant Group Roundtable veteran, will be a forum to contribute and receive ideas and working solutions to directly improve your bottom line.

In a Car Rental Show first, both car dealers and car rental operators will share the room on the subject of dealer rental operations. Presented by the operations experts at Frontline Performance Group, this two-hour workshop will detail the financial metrics for a successful dealer operation and provide insight into the decision-making process on whether to keep dealer rental operations in house.

Breakout Seminars
Technology-driven seminars will play a key role in this year’s show.
Our Internet marketing seminar will give you battle-tested website positioning intelligence, with a focus on search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). You’ll also get social media marketing strategies as well as email campaign ideas.

The mobile computing seminar will teach you how to free yourself from the office using the latest tech tools such as smartphones, tablet PCs, plug-in credit card readers and web-based rental management solutions.
We’ll also dive deep into Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking.

Experienced operators will guide attendees on best practices regarding issues such as disclosure of devices, establishing “geofences,” vehicle recovery, working with law enforcement, assessing penalties for violations, legal rights, and precedents for both the customer and operator and more.

Get ready to tackle no-show rates! Representatives from ACE Rent A Car will walk attendees through its live, functioning guaranteed reservations program.

How current is your remarketing plan? With the dramatic changes in the used car landscape in 2011, the “same old, same old” doesn’t cut it anymore. Get tips and tactics to effectively sell your used fleet.

On the customer service front, Jim Schalberg will help you retune and refine your customer touch points in an interactive, lively format. Attendees will also gain customer service insight from ACE Rent A Car, winners of the 2011 JD Power & Associates North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study.

In our damage recovery seminar, find out how you can recoup what isn’t listed in your profit-and-loss reports, such as diminution of value, loss of use, administrative costs and credit card chargebacks, to name a few. Plus, David Purinton will walk you through his recently decided landmark loss-of-use case, Purco v. Koenig, and its implications for the auto rental industry.

Click here for an article wrap-up of our 2011 Car Rental Show.

Looking for other features from our January/February 2012 issue? Go to our magazine page here.