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NOVEMBER 2013 issue of
Rental Management

Preparing for The Rental Show 2014

Now is the time to plan

The Rental Show 2014 offers 23 educational seminars, a trade show floor with more than 670 exhibitors and plenty of networking opportunities at what is the world’s largest equipment rental-specific convention in the world designed for those serious about improving their business and profitability.

The event, organized by the American Rental Association (ARA), is scheduled for Feb. 9-12, 2014, at the North-South Building of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

While The Rental Show 2014 is still about three months away, now is the time to start planning to attend to take advantage of discount registration fees, book hotel rooms while they are available at the best rates through Travel Planners, ARA’s official hotel company, and make flight reservations, if needed, to get better flights and advanced purchase air fares.

The Rental Show is the absolute perfect place for everyone in this industry because, as business owners and managers, they strive to increase the profit potential of their business. That’s the value they’ll take home from Orlando,” says Christine Wehrman, ARA’s executive vice president and CEO.

“Think of The Rental Show as providing the foundation of your business, complete with equipment to rent, education to learn and networking to implement,” she says.

Described by ARA as “the show for people serious about profit,” The Rental Show 2014 kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 9, with a full day of educational seminars, including a new dedicated track of construction-related sessions.

Those in the party and event segment of the industry also will have special educational opportunities on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Events & Tents, a one-day workshop with 16 educational sessions, a breakfast with a 2014 trends forecast and a closing reception at Café Tu Tu Tango.

Other educational seminars are scheduled for 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, and a “Wednesday Wake-Up Session” with Scott Greenberg on Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

The show also provides plenty of networking opportunities for attendees to mingle and share ideas, including “Lunch With ARA” at noon on Sunday, Feb. 9; the ARA Young Professionals Network Reception at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Kings Bowl Orlando; the Keynote Session featuring keynote speaker Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, on Monday, Feb. 10, starting at 8 a.m.; Regional Receptions on Feb. 10, starting at 5 p.m.; the International Reception on Feb. 11 starting at 5 p.m.; the ARA Foundation Charity Auction and Reception on Feb. 11 starting at 5 p.m.; and ARA’s Big Splash at SeaWorld® Orlando, starting at 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 11.

The trade show floor, with more than 670 exhibitors, is open Monday, Feb. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on Feb. 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“ARA is excited about The Rental Show in 2014. The demand for trade show booths exceeds the available space, attendee registration looks very strong with hotel reservations being made and being in sunny Orlando in February all point to a dynamic, well-attended event,” Wehrman says.

“I continue to call The Rental Show the ‘showcase event of the equipment rental industry’ for many reasons. It is the only time the entire industry comes together to acknowledge, celebrate and take pride in the contribution the industry makes to the economy and our communities,” she says.

Discount registration available through Dec. 9

If you haven’t registered yet for The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla., then options are still available that provide cost savings for rental business attendees.

The discount registration rate of $175 is available for American Rental Association (ARA) members through Dec. 9. The price is for full registration and includes show seminars on Sunday, Feb. 9, the Keynote Session on Monday, Feb. 10, and three days of the trade show exhibits, Feb. 10-12. The price for prospective members is $300.

The advance registration rate, available Dec. 10, 2013, to Jan. 31, 2014, is $250 for ARA members and $350 for prospective members. On-site registration after Jan. 31 is $275 for ARA members and $375 for prospective members.

Online registration and complete details on The Rental Show are available at TheRentalShow.com.

Young professional events

Special events planned for young professionals at the show

Young professionals working in the equipment rental industry can look forward to two special events at The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla. Both events are scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9.

Working With Baby Boomers: 3:30-5 p.m.

Join Seth Mattison of BridgeWorks in Los Angeles and a key contributor to the book “The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace” for practical solutions for bridging the generational gaps that exist between Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

During this seminar, you will learn how to:

  • Understand who Baby Boomers are and how they differ.
  • Identify Communication ClashPoints™ in your workplace.
  • Manage more effectively by connecting with each generation.
  • Convert generational obstacles into opportunities.

ARA Young Professionals Network Reception: 5:30-8 p.m.

After the seminar, a special networking reception specifically for 18-to-40 year-olds will be held at Kings Bowl Orlando, a retro-inspired venue. Hosted by the ARA Foundation and sponsored by Arrow Material Handling Products and Vermeer, this event will have food, music and plenty of networking opportunities.

Whether you are concerned about succession planning, generations in the workplace or your
role in the rental business, you’ll find people who are experiencing the same situations at this informal event.

“Both of these events are designed to help young rental professionals gain the education, networking opportunities and overall support they need to succeed in the equipment rental industry,” says Jenni Venema, ARA Foundation director of development. “The ARA Young Professionals Network, a program of the American Rental Association (ARA) that is administered by the ARA Foundation, is here to invest in our young rental professionals who are the future leaders of our industry.”

To assist in this effort, ARA and the ARA Foundation developed a membership directory, created a specific Web page and implemented a Member-to-Member Forum site just for those in the Young Professionals Network.

“These tools will help young professionals connect with each other and become more involved in their state, provincial and national associations. The events at the show are valuable outreaches that can further these individuals’ development and leadership skills. That is valuable to them and the entire industry,” Venema says.

Planning your Orlando arrival

Planning your Orlando arrival

With airlines beginning to offer fare sales that include travel in February, here are suggested arrival dates for those planning to attend The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla.

  • If you’re attending Events & Tents: Events & Tents is a full day of education and networking on Saturday, Feb. 8, beginning at 8 a.m. Please plan to arrive on Friday, Feb. 7. Registration will be open at the North-South Building of the Orange County Convention Center from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. if you’d like to pick up your badge that day. On Saturday, Registration will open at 7 a.m.
  • If you’re attending The Rental Show seminars: Those who have a full registration for the show and plan to attend the seminars on Sunday, Feb. 9, should plan to arrive in Orlando on Saturday, Feb. 8, since the seminars begin at 8 a.m. You’ll need your badge for admittance to the seminars, so stop by Registration on Saturday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. or Sunday morning starting at 7 a.m.
  • If you’re attending the Keynote Session: Monday’s Keynote Session, featuring keynote speaker Billy Beane, general manager of baseball’s Oakland Athletics, begins at 8 a.m., so plan to arrive on Sunday, Feb. 9. All attendees with a full registration and all exhibitors are invited to attend the keynote. You will need your badge to enter. Registration opens at 7 a.m. on Monday. The trade show opens at 10 a.m., immediately following the Keynote Session, and that morning tends to be the busiest day at Registration. It’s suggested you register or pick up your badge prior to Monday morning if possible.

— Christine Coleman

Beware of unauthorized hotel offers

Beware of unauthorized hotel offers

Those planning to attend The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla., may have received a phone call from Exhibitor Housing Services or an email or two from Blake Bridge at Room Connections offering you “fantastic hotel room rates” in Orlando, Fla., for the dates of The Rental Show.

Beware — neither of these companies has an affiliation with the American Rental Association (ARA), The Rental Show or Travel Planners, ARA’s official hotel company.

Booking through unauthorized companies such as these often means paying a non-refundable deposit for your room — such as “only a one-night deposit required,” according to the Room Connections email — and then finding out you don’t have a hotel room booked for your entire stay when you arrive on site.

The way to assure everything is secure with your Orlando hotel reservation is by booking through Travel Planners. The benefits include:

  • Exclusive rates and add-ons. Hotels can’t quote you the rates directly that you’ll receive through Travel Planners. They’re only available through TheRentalShow.com or by calling Travel Planners at 800-221-3531.
  • Lowest rate assurance. If you find a rate lower than what Travel Planners has, let them know — they will match or beat it.
  • No hidden fees. The Rental Show and Travel Planners have worked with hotels to waive resort and other fees.
  • Room availability. The Rental Show locks in blocks of rooms, so hotels that appear full if you’re looking elsewhere may be available for show guests.
  • An extra level of service. Travel Planners sends you a confirmation of your hotel booking and is on site in Orlando at The Rental Show registration for personal assistance.

You can reserve your Orlando hotel room now by booking online in the “Hotels and Travel” section at TheRentalShow.com or by calling 800-221-3531 (U.S., Canada and Caribbean) or 212-532-1600.

A pre-show 'buy' list

Putting together a pre-show ‘buy’ list

Planning ahead for The Rental Show is something Mike Baartman, owner, Rent-All, Sioux Center and Storm Lake, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, S.D., has done for years. He says the planning process not only gives him a good idea of what to buy at the show, but helps bring his team together to prepare for the year ahead.

“If you have the time to do the planning, I think it’s time well spent to think about what you want your business to look like next year. It’s easier to plan ahead, than to react to everything that happens,” Baartman says.

Baartman says he takes advantage of the slow season to plan, but that the information gathering goes on all year. The company keeps track of equipment requests from customers at all three locations, as well as items needing replacement. In addition, he sends surveys out to his top customers, including landscapers and contractors.

“In late fall, I send contractors questionnaires to see what they would like to see new in equipment. We talk to our top contractors and landscapers, and we see what they are looking for. We also send questionnaires to customers to find out how the store is doing,” he says.

Once information is gathered and business slows down, it’s meeting time.

“Once the snow flies, I sit down with everyone at each location, and we talk about equipment needs and requests. When we sit down, it’s not just me. We’re making the decision as a group. We’re all in it together. If everybody’s promoting it, you have a 99 percent better chance of making it,” he says.

The main goal of the meeting is to get information together to run numbers on potential purchases, he says. “We keep track of requests throughout the year on the computer. Once we have request lists done, we run numbers on the equipment, to see how many times it would have to rent to make it viable, and then we decide,” Baartman says.

The process helps create goals for the coming year. “We want to add x amount of new equipment. At the end of the year, I’ll price some equipment to sell, so we can buy new. We also want to try something new and we also add things we’re out of or that we know we need. Then we have over-the-counter items — we usually buy two-thirds of what we’ll need for the next year,” he says.

“We basically put together a buy list. I probably have 95 percent of that figured out before we get there,” he says. “I probably put in more time pushing numbers, so when we try something new, we know what it’s going to take to work. For us, that’s a good indicator. Say we bought a tree shear for a skid loader. We have a goal of a 20 percent return for the first year, depending on the size of the item. If we know it needs to go out eight times in the year to achieve that goal, and we’ve had four or five requests, we’re half-way there.”

Once the list is done, he and his employees are ready for the show. Last year he took four employees with him, one from each of his locations, and the company’s marketing person.

“I’ve gone to probably 20 ARA shows already, so it’s nice to have a fresh set of eyes there. I can walk by stuff and they will see it, and think about how we could use it. It’s another set of eyes and another set of ideas. It also rewards employees. This last year, I took one of my mechanics and he attended the Tier 4 session. If you invest in them, they buy into the company. The more they take stock in your company, the easier it is to retain them. I know it costs to take someone to The Rental Show, but we like to use it as a perk,” he says.

The first day that the trade show floor opens, Baartman and his crew hit the aisles. “At the show, I try to walk through the whole thing the first day. On the first day, we do some buying. For two-thirds of the list, you know what you’re going to buy and who you’re going to buy it from, so if they are available, we’ll go ahead and make purchases,” he says.

Then, when the show floor closes, he and his employees talk about options. “The first night of the show, I like to sit down and ask everyone what they saw. We spend a few hours talking and then debate whether we want to tweak our orders,” he says.

The second day, it is buying time. “I would say the majority of the buying gets done the second day and the morning of the third day,” he says.

Baartman says he prefers to shop off the list. “I’ve always thought, you don’t make the best choices with impulse buying,” he says. However, if his employees make a case for buying something new, he listens.

“For instance, last year, we had been talking about linens. During the first night of discussion, linens came up, so we bought linens the next day. We also bought silver trays for punch items. We’ve always had tables and chairs, and we got more into bar tables, so the linens have done OK. The Sioux Center location has done very well with it,” he says.

Once the show is over, and everyone is back home, the work really starts. “We start advertising the heck out of what we bought new. Once we know what we’re coming home with, we start promoting it,” he says. — Whitney Carnahan




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