The Auto Rental Summit, which takes place Oct. 29-30 at the Hollywood Beach Marriott in Hollywood, Fla., announces roundtable discussions in a unique new format along with a varied list of discussion topics.

Roundtable participants will be divided into working groups based on discussion topic. Each working group will have a problem to solve together, and then each group will present their solutions to all attendees.

The roundtables will take place on Monday, Oct. 29 from 4:30 pm to 6 pm.

“The roundtable discussions present a fantastic opportunity for Summit attendees to share and gain best practices on the problems they face on a daily basis,” says Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News. “This new ‘idea lab’ format is sure to generate real-world solutions that operators can take back to their businesses.”

The 2012 Auto Rental Summit is a gold-level training and education conference designed to improve customer service of car rental operations. Auto rental managers, executives and employees from corporate, franchised and independent companies from North America and overseas are invited to attend.

Auto Rental Summit Roundtable Topics

Challenge: How to protect yourself from the low-rate game (and still keep utilization high).

Discussion topics:
Strategies to avoid being the lowest rate in your market; staying one step ahead of the majors; managing the car class game; tips to predicting market demand; alternative strategies to fighting for the lowest position.

Facilitator: Richard Oshiro, Director of Customer Care, Rate Highway

Challenge: Making your fleet budget go farther with almost-new cars.

Discussion topics:
How to buy almost-new cars at open auctions from major car rental companies; use franchised dealers to buy GDP cars at factory sales; find car models with lower cap costs; buy from other rental car companies that short-cycle.

Facilitator: Joe Lyons, Remarketing & Fleet Sales Manager, Marple Fleet Leasing, a division of Pacifico Marple Ford Lincoln

Challenge: How to compete with a dominant local market operator.

Discussion topics:
Strategies on building the dealership, insurance replacement and local business segments; identifying your marketing niche.

Facilitator: Tom Diaz, Director of Consulting Services, Frontline Performance Group

Challenge: Harness the power of social media.

Discussion topic:
Understanding when Groupon, LivingSocial, Twitter and other social media marketing are right for you — and when they’ll cost you money.

Facilitator: Kevin Stutz, Business Manager, ACE Rent A Car Reservations, Inc.

Challenge: How to add texting to your marketing arsenal.

Discussion topics:
How to set up your system, text your customers and manage the responses; understanding “text etiquette” and permission-based marketing rules; analyzing the metrics.

Facilitators: Gordon Rozek and Rob Hano, Bluebird Auto Rental Systems

Challenge: What can my company do to lower the number of “no show” reservations?

Discussion topics:
How to make the most of each received reservation using prepaid reservation options, confirmation emails, debit card use and more.

Facilitators: Nick DiPrima, Sales Manager and Eddie Crespo, Strategic Account Manager, TSD

Challenge: How to educate renters on parking and toll violations with customer service in mind.

Discussion topics:
Communicating responsibilities for parking and toll violations in advance; handling a dispute with a frequent customer or VIP; the right way to transfer liability to the renter; dealing with e-tolling roadways with no cash option; knowing the DOT and violations officials in your jurisdiction.

Facilitator: Dennis Round, President, Violation Management Services

Go to for more information.