For two days in April 1996, the car rental industry gathered at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando for the first incarnation of an event co-sponsored by the American Car Rental Association (ACRA) and Bobit Publishing.

From April 7-8, 2014 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, ACRA and Bobit are proud to present the 19th edition of the Car Rental Show (CRS), the only trade show that caters to the entire car rental market in the U.S. and abroad.

The years in between that first show and today saw ACRA disband and a new association emerge, only to see that association disband and a new ACRA reborn. Meanwhile, Bobit changed its name to Bobit Business Media, a reflection of the company’s move into the digital age.

Today, the partnership between Bobit and ACRA is stronger than ever, and this is reflected in a five-year trend of steadily increasing show attendance, programming and exhibit hall space. For 2014, we anticipate close to 800 attendees from 25 countries and 75 exhibitors showing off the latest products and services to the car rental industry!

With ACRA’s support, Bobit convened a new event in 2012, the Auto Rental Summit (ARS). For its second year, ARS was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Nov. 4-5.

ARS is growing, complementary to the Car Rental Show — a testament to the benefits recognized by the industry of interactive, face-to-face education and networking.

Here’s a preview of what’s in store for the 2014 Car Rental Show.

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THE BIG PICTURE

Greg Stubblefield, chief strategy officer and executive vice president of global sales and marketing for Enterprise Holdings.

Greg Stubblefield, chief strategy officer and executive vice president of global sales and marketing for Enterprise Holdings.

The Car Rental Show is delighted to have Greg Stubblefield of Enterprise Holdings deliver the opening keynote address on Monday April 7.

Stubblefield leads the strategic growth of the Enterprise, National and Alamo brands in North America and Europe, as well as the expansion of the company’s franchise network abroad.

He also oversees Enterprise Holdings’ marketing and communications organization, the company’s global sustainability strategy as well as its car-sharing and vanpooling programs.

In his keynote address, “The Future of Auto Rental: From Global to Local,” Stubblefield will provide perspective on car rental’s role in this new era of transportation, set forth the opportunities for smaller companies in today’s consolidated market and highlight the growth challenges for car rental overseas.

The Tuesday morning breakfast keynote will offer new insights for CRS attendees.

“All things being equal, the mentally tough win every time,” says Dr. Craig Manning, author, pro tennis player, coach and Olympic sports psychology consultant. Manning will guide attendees through his “The Fearless Mind” methodology, designed to build confidence, expel anxiety, increase efficiencies and accelerate productivity as well as overall profitability.

In the first of the show’s two other general sessions, Sharon Faulkner, executive director of ACRA, along with members of the ACRA board of directors, will conduct ACRA’s annual open forum on the issues currently being tackled by the association and pending issues facing the industry.

On Tuesday afternoon, Leslie Pujo of LaPlaca Pujo PC will update attendees on changes in rental vehicle law over the past year. Topics include Internet reservations, electronic agreements, credit/debit card and deposit practices, vicarious liability challenges and car sharing.

CRS is taking a different approach to close the 2014 show. Instead of a speaker, CRS will convene a panel on prepaid reservations. Stick around for this one: the final seminar will show attendees how corporate, independent and franchised car rental companies are taking advantage of prepaid opportunities right now and are seeing no-show rates cut in half.

NUTS AND BOLTS

You could call the educational seminars the “meat” of the Car Rental Show. For 2014, be prepared for a 20-ounce filet mignon.

To kick off the educational portion, CRS is instituting a two-hour roundtable session from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday. The roundtable discussions are designed to explore a variety of topics in an interactive, one-on-one setting with a group facilitator and other colleagues.

Participants will rotate between 10 tables and 10 discussion topics every 20 minutes, allowing a visitation of six topics in the two-hour session.

Topics include “customer service in the age of social media,” “wage issues and the Fair Labor Standards Act” and “obtaining financing through better financial statements,” among many more.

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CRS presents concurrent sessions on both Monday and Tuesday. Never an easy choice, here’s a quick hit of topics:

Using actual auction values and specific vehicle case studies, Eric Ibara of Kelley Blue Book will provide insights into the factors affecting residual values for popular rental car models.

David Purinton, who championed the outcome in the landmark loss-of-use case Koenig v. PurCo, and Steve Christiansen, lead counsel for PurCo on the Koenig case, will take attendees on a Car Rental Show first — a deep dive into the nuances of loss-of-use recovery.

Detective Kraig Palmer of the Orange County, Calif., Auto Theft Task Force will use actual case histories to show car rental companies ways to spot potential fraud and protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated crime tactics.

Learn how to estimate your 2014 tax hit, take advantage of like-kind exchange (LKE) programs and secure federal and state tax incentives available to the auto rental industry.

Understand your customers’ available data using technology and analytics to improve your marketing campaigns, gain more control over no-show losses and minimize renting to high-risk customers.

Learn how affiliate systems work to help you determine if joining one is the right step for your business.

Experts from Frontline Performance Group will help you go deeper into measuring sales metrics with real-world examples that will help reshape your associates’ behaviors, drive revenues and improve the customer’s experience.

Learn how integrated systems can use rules-based decisions to automate rate management, facilitate prepaid reservations and enhance membership programs for better business.

SCHMOOZE TIME

For many, the Car Rental Show is one of the few chances in the year to reconnect with industry friends.

And there are plenty of opportunities to do that, including our Welcome Cocktail Reception on the Sunday before the show, our Opening Reception on Monday night, exhibit hall times and networking breaks on Monday and Tuesday, and concluding with our Closing Reception on Tuesday night.

Yet we understand that first-time attendees may want more guidance on their CRS experience. If you’re a first-timer, we encourage you to attend an orientation especially for you on Monday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. We’ll make you feel at home and guide you on how to maximize your education and networking opportunities at the show.

In a first for CRS, you can also join our mentoring program, which pairs veteran car rental operators at the show with first-time attendees to “show you the ropes.” We suspect those relationships may last beyond CRS. Look to sign up for the mentoring program on the CRS registration form.

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"THE MORE THINGS CHANGE ..." AGENDA SNAPSHOT OF THE 1998 SHOW

Keynote Speaker:

Bill Lobeck of Republic Industries' Automotive Rental Group

Seminars:

  • Running a Successful Insurance/Dealership Replacement Operation
  • Credit Card Processing and Compliance
  • Issues to Look at Before Joining a Franchise System
  • Trends in Remarketing Management
  • Working with Insurance Companies to Create More Replacement Business
  • Using Navigation Systems for Fleet Control and Customer Service
  • Internet Marketing and Reservation and Delivery Issues

 

CAR RENTAL SHOW EXHIBITORS, 1996 AND 2014

  • ACE Rent a Car
  • Bluebird Auto Rental Systems
  • Khoury Consulting/Frontline Performance Group
  • Lancer Insurance Co.
  • N/S Corp.
  • PurCo Fleet Services
  • Toyota Motor Sales USA
  • TSD Inc.

Congratulations to our vendor partners that have not only supported the show but have also prevailed in business over the last 18 years. 

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