Year-round, The Rental Show remains a popular topic of conversation. Here are some questions that have been asked recently on surveys sent to 2010 attendees and exhibitors, on The Rental Show’s social media sites and elsewhere. The answers are provided by Allison Box, vice president of association services for the American Rental Association (ARA).
Q. Why was the show floor smaller in 2010?
A. ARA planned to have a smaller show floor in Orlando, Fla., for a couple of reasons. Last year, The Rental Show Work Group recommended adding new locations for The Rental Show in the future. The work group was appointed by the ARA board of directors in the fall of 2008 and charged with evaluating specific aspects of The Rental Show. It’s comprised of volunteers from both ARA general and associate member companies and ARA staff and discussed areas that impact the long-term future of The Rental Show: the duration of the show each year, destinations where it’s held, and the trade show floor size and floor traffic.
To go into new cities as the work group recommended, the overall size of exhibit space needs to be smaller. At the same time, due to the economy, many exhibitors indicated they would decrease their booth size for 2010. So it worked out well to decrease the size of the trade show and make it more manageable. The feedback we received from attendees and exhibitors following Orlando was positive.
The trade show in Las Vegas for The Rental Show 2011 will be about the same size it was this year and all in one hall — Bayside A-D, which is where the entire trade show was located in 2005 and where the Heavy Construction and Light Construction/General Tool exhibits were in 2008. One change due to the size of the floor from 2008, however, is that there will be no seating or concession areas on the trade show floor. There isn’t space to accommodate these. However, there are seating areas in the food court just outside the exhibit hall.
Q. How are the locations for The Rental Show determined?
A. There are several factors involved, starting with the amount of exhibit space needed. A smaller show floor expands the available options, although there remain only a limited number of convention centers that have the available space needed in one contiguous area for The Rental Show. Cities that can hold The Rental Show with these requirements include Anaheim, Calif.; Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Las Vegas; Miami Beach, Fla.; New Orleans; New York City; Orlando, Fla.; and San Diego.
However, not all of these cities are options for The Rental Show, since we also look at the ease of doing business within a city and the costs involved. For exhibitors, the cost of labor in cities like Chicago and New York City is prohibitively high. In addition, travel expenses such as hotel, transportation and food also are taken into consideration. We also know from surveys that some past cities we’ve used for The Rental Show, such as Anaheim and Dallas, rate low for desired locations. We’ve heard from attendees and exhibitors their feelings about Atlanta and will not be returning to the city for The Rental Show.
Another factor in determining destination is the time of year The Rental Show is held. Since it began in the 1950s, it’s been held in a warm-weather location during the winter months. That further limits the available options, as does the fact that February is a popular month for trade shows. Twenty-five of the Tradeshow Week 200 shows are held in February. Orlando and Las Vegas are The Rental Show’s most popular locations and will remain in the rotation. Because of Orlando’s popularity during February, The Rental Show is booked there every third year from 2014 through 2029. The third city will rotate, starting with New Orleans in 2012. The location for 2015 is currently being worked on and will be announced when finalized.
Q. Why is The Rental Show scheduled in February or March? When it’s around Valentine’s Day or in March, my business is too busy for me to attend.
A. The fluctuation of The Rental Show dates from year to year is based on the availability of convention centers. As just mentioned, we will continue to book The Rental Show in a warm-weather location during the winter months since the majority of attendees and exhibitors have indicated this works better for them. We also want to stay with a Southern U.S. location because of the weather, since attendees and exhibitors are flying and driving from throughout the U.S., Canada and throughout the world. We try to eliminate the risk of weather as a complicating factor in getting to The Rental Show, but — as the past two years have proven — weather is not something we can control. Here’s hoping next year is better!
Q. What is the cost to ARA to hold The Rental Show?
A. The Rental Show is ARA’s largest budget item and the revenue derived from it is used to fund various member products and services throughout the year. ARA strives to produce a quality and valuable event for the rental industry. We also strive to keep the registration fees low and subsidize events to make them more affordable for all to attend and take advantage of the networking benefits. For example, attendees paid $40 per ticket for the Universal Studios event in Orlando. The actual cost was $100 per person. Bringing the industry together for a successful event is the goal.
Q. How does the new alliance with True Value affect The Rental Show?
A. The new alliance combines the resources of both ARA and True Value’s respective trade show capabilities under the banner of The Rental Show. That means it will provide the opportunity to have more people from throughout the rental industry attend The Rental Show. Those attending can take advantage of not only the trade show, but also the rental-specific educational seminars.
Q. Why is the food so expensive at the convention centers?
A. Unfortunately, this is not something that ARA controls. Each convention center we use has a contract with a catering company that is the exclusive provider for the building. We are required to use the caterer for all of our events and concessions during The Rental Show. The catering company sets the concession prices.
Q. What will be new for The Rental Show 2011?
A. The details for the schedule are still being worked out and will be announced when finalized, but here are some things you can look forward to in Las Vegas:The trade show will feature new department names: Construction/Industrial, General Tool/Homeowner and Party/Special Event. We’re segmenting the exhibit floor to reflect the commonly used broad equipment categories of the rental industry. Also, as mentioned earlier, the show floor will all be in one hall and remain the same size it was this year in Orlando.
The First-Time Exhibitor Pavilion will return, featuring all the new companies exhibiting at The Rental Show for the first year. In addition, a special area focusing on new products will be on the show floor.
Because of feedback from this year’s attendees, a full day of educational seminars will be held on Sunday, Feb. 27. Events & Tents will begin the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 26, and continue Sunday morning.
We know how important The Rental Show is to ARA’s general and associate members, and our goal is to continue to deliver a quality event for everyone. If you have any further questions, I would be happy to answer them — feel free to e-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 800-334-2177, ext. 231.