The Editor's Page: Feeling the energy
03/06/2013

Not everyone from the American Rental Association (ARA) travels to The Rental Show. A skeleton crew stays at ARA headquarters in Moline, Ill., handling phone calls, taking care of requests and supporting those who travel.

For these ARA staff members, the week usually is a quiet respite from weeks and months of hectic planning and hard work to prepare for the show, which is the world’s largest equipment rental-specific trade show and convention in the world.

This year, even though these staff members were more than 1,500 miles from The Sands Expo and Convention Center, the site of The Rental Show 2013, they could feel the energy and excitement by following the news in Rental Pulse Daily as well as checking the show’s Facebook page and Twitter feed filled with many positive comments from attendees and exhibitors.

Sheila Boyd, our design manager, faces the task of going through thousands of photos taken by Rental Management staff members as well as the professional photographers hired by ARA. This year, she says it was difficult to find a “bad” photo because the pictures told the true story of The Rental Show 2013 — sold-out seminars, an exciting Fabric Fashion Show at Events & Tents, a packed keynote session, people smiling at different receptions and events, spirited bidding at the ARA Foundation Charity Auction, a trade show floor with crowded aisles, and booths with buyers and exhibitor personnel who had clipboards writing up orders.

“When you look at the photos of the booths, it looks crowded in the background, too. You can tell from the pictures that there was an energy and excitement this year,” Boyd says.

Those of us who were in Las Vegas can’t dispute her assessment. Based on the sold-out seminars and packed aisles on the show floor, it is safe to say that the crowd was both the largest and most enthusiastic in recent memory.

For those who attended, you can relive moments from the show with our extensive news and photo coverage of the excitement starting on page 28, while those who didn’t attend can get a taste of what they missed. ARA members who access Rental Management DIGITAL this month also will have access to a bonus photo gallery as well as a video slideshow including pictures we couldn’t fit in
the print edition.

Our coverage of Events & Tents, the one-day educational program for those in the party and event segment of the business, starts on page 66. Events & Tents this year also was sold out for the first time in several years, received rave reviews from attendees and featured its first-ever Fabric Fashion Show with dresses made from tablecloths.

Many companies already have picked up the prospectus for The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla., and are planning booth space now as they see the potential to continue selling more equipment into the rental channel.

By almost all accounts, the equipment rental industry continues to be on the upswing despite a tepid general economy. Rental  companies are feeling it and The Rental Show 2013 punctuated the momentum and high expectations, sending attendees home with a renewed vigor that many believe will help them motivate their staff members and carry them through a more successful year.

Whether you want to call it a positive vibe, a buzz or whatever, most rental companies see an opportunity to expand rental penetration, increase revenue, serve more markets and grow. It could be a very interesting year.

Wayne Walley is editor for Rental Management, the official magazine of the American Rental Association, 1900 19th St., Moline, IL 61265. He can be reached at 800-334-2177, ext. 253, or 309-277-4253; fax 309-764-2747; wayne.walley@ararental.org.