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Monday, June 18, 2007 

Vol. 3 No. 11


The 2007 Car Rental Show, Las Vegas, June 4-5 – “The Times They Are A-Changing”

A Couple of Later in the Year this Time, Sherb Brown & the Bobit Media Crew put on Another Great Show…

Anyone aware of my day job knows that the changes that are now going on in the car rental industry, as it transitions from mostly “program” (manufacturer guaranteed buy-back units) to “risk” (units that the car rental company is responsible for reselling on their own at turn-in time) vehicles, is the number one priority topic in our upstream remarketing activities these days. Also, anyone that reads this blog (is there anyone, really?), knows how much I like the city of Las Vegas in the summer time. So, once again, when you combine the two in Bobit Business Media’s annual Car Rental Show, June 4-5 this year at the Las Vegas Hilton, you could have wagered on my being front and center. And, I might add, with perfect timing, the annual National Vehicle Leasing Association (NVLA) Convention followed right after, down the street at the Venetian, June 6-9th – (more on that event in a subsequent blog entry).

Unless I’m mistaken, this year’s Car Rental Show was bigger and better than ever – condensed to a 1 ½ day program, it was crammed full of information. The kick-off began withSherb Brown, Vice President & Group Publisher, Bobit Media and the first keynote presentation came from Peter Vroom, Executive Director of the Truck Rental and Leasing Association (TRALA) on the current priorities facing the vehicle rental and leasing industry, and was followed by other excellent presentations and panel discussions throughout the two days. The other special keynote speakers included Bruce Charendoff, Vice President, Government Affairs, Sabre Holdings/Travelocity with a presentation entitled, interestingly enough, “Renting a Car Isn’t a Sin, Yet It’s Taxed that Way,” and noted industry veteran and highly successful automotive entrepreneur, Denny Hecker, Chairman, Advantage Rent A Car and Bill Plamondon, CEO, Advantage Rent A Car, speaking on “An Insider’s Perspective on the Auto Rental Industry.

As to the group presentations, they were all first-rate, as you’d expect at any Bobit Business Media event, offered in concurrent sessions under two broad categories: “Improving Operational Effectiveness” and “The Power of People.” Under the first category, there was a Risk Management Roundtable presentation, and panel discussions entitled, Technology Trends, Fleet Management: Are You’re Smarter than a Fifth Grader, and Risk Vehicle Selection Methodology, chaired by my old friend Dave Funston. Under the second category, running concurrent with the first, were panel presentations entitled, The Other Side of Car Rental Revenue! Counter Sales, Revealing the Customer Experience: J.D. Power Car Rental Study Results, and Incentive Plans and their Legal Implications. Again, while a lot of the information in some of the seminars didn’t apply to what we do directly here at Driveitaway, the more we learn about the current best practices and issues facing our clients, the better we can understand and serve the industry on the remarketing front.

There were also a few specific presentations, in addition to the keynote speakers, that were presented to the entire group, including one by Betsy Synder, Credit Analyst at Standard & Poor’s, entitled, The Auto Industry from a Wall Street Perspective, and one by Michael LaPlaca, Partner, LaPlaca McKenzie & Michael Towers, CEO, Fleet Salvage & Estimating Systems, entitled, Damages: What You’re Legally Entitled to Recover and How to Do it the Right Way.

Of course, in addition to the seminars and keynote presentations, there was an active exhibition floor filled with a variety of vendors servicing the car rental industry. The open convention floor mingling (at lunches, receptions, etc.), is always my favorite part of any conference, as I get to catch up with old friends and meet many new ones. I caught up with both licensees of major car rental licensors like National/Alamo, Avis/Budget, etc., and large independents throughout the country including Advantage Rent A Car (Minnesota), Fox Rent A Car (Los Angeles), Ace Rent A Car (Indianapolis), Midway Rent A Car (Los Angeles), and Triangle Rent A Car (Charlotte).

The best part of this conference for me was finding the man himself, fleet industry legend Ed Bobit, in the exhibition hall on the first night. An honor and a privilege, once again, to talk fleet industry news with the person who, it can be said quite accurately, created the fleet industry media (print, conferences, Web); very few could claim such an accomplishment in this or any other industry, but then again, there are very few the likes of Mr. Bobit… Thanks for another great show, as always, no sooner does this one end, then I look forward to the next one.

Bobit Media & Driveitaway Crews +

People should read this.

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