TRS: Answers to frequently asked questions about the The Rental Show

After The Rental Show, the American Rental Association (ARA) sends surveys to those who attended and exhibited. Each year, there are several similar questions that are asked about The Rental Show overall, including locations, dates, the trade show layout and more.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about The Rental Show.

Q: How is the layout of the trade show floor determined?

A: While all exhibitors can request certain booth locations on the trade show floor, the decision of which companies are located where is done by the American Rental Association (ARA) using a priority point system. Each exhibitor receives a certain number of points each year based on the following categories: associate membership, total years of exhibiting, size of their booth, sponsorships for The Rental Show and paid advertising in The Rental Show Directory. The companies with the highest number of points are able to select their booth location first. An exhibitor also is allowed to request that they not be located adjacent to a competing exhibitor.

Q: Why is The Rental Show typically scheduled in February or March?

A: When The Rental Show began in the mid-1950s, it was always held in a warm weather location during the winter months since that was a convenient time for the rental business owners to leave their businesses and travel. Today, all these years later, it still holds true for a majority of the attendees and exhibitors. The fluctuation of the dates from year to year is based strictly on the availability of the convention centers. February is one of the most popular months for conventions overall and particularly in the cities where ARA holds The Rental Show — Las Vegas, New Orleans and Orlando, Fla. The Rental Show also is held on specific days of the week, Sunday through Wednesday, which can further limit the availability of dates in some cities.

Q: How are the locations for The Rental Show determined?

A: Deciding what cities The Rental Show is held in begins with the amount of exhibit space needed for the trade show. Because of the size of the trade show floor — more than 250,000 net sq. ft. in one contiguous area — there are a limited number of convention centers that can fulfill the space requirement. Cities with a convention center that can meet this include Anaheim, Calif.; Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Las Vegas; New Orleans; and Orlando, Fla. In addition, The Rental Show has traditionally been held in a Southern U.S. location as mentioned above. Since attendees and exhibitors are flying and driving from throughout the U.S., Canada and the world to the show destination, it usually works out better with the weather to have a Southern location.

Q: Why is the food so expensive at every convention center?

A: ARA has no control over the cost of the food at the convention center. Every convention center has a contract with a catering company, such as Centerplate, that is the exclusive provider for the building. ARA is required to use the caterer for all the concession stands as well as for all events held at the convention center, such as Lunch With ARA and the Regional Receptions. The catering company sets the concession prices.

Q: Why isn’t free Wi-Fi available throughout all convention centers?

A: Wi-Fi availability is an issue that continues to evolve in all convention centers as demand continues to increase each year. That demand has grown exponentially over the past several years, with the increased use of smartphones and other wireless devices plus the increased technology used by exhibitors in their booths. Convention centers have had to upgrade their own infrastructure to accommodate the demand. For example, the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando recently completed a $1.4 million upgrade. As a rule, though, convention centers charge everyone — convention organizers and exhibitors alike — to use the services within the building except in public areas, with fees based on the number of users. The Orange County Convention Center does have free Wi-Fi in public areas.

The Rental Show 2014 is Feb. 9-12, 2014, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, with Events & Tents on Feb. 8. Those planning to attend can book hotel rooms now by visiting and clicking on “Hotels and Travel.”