International Car Rental Show Addresses Unpredictable Future
February 6, 2019
In the case of the car rental industry, looking at the big picture is every bit as important as keeping your eyes on the road. That metaphor will definitely be top of mind when the 2019 International Car Rental Show (ICRS) rolls into the convention space at the Las Vegas Paris Hotel from April 14th to the 16th.
The event’s theme, “Own the Fleet, Own the Future,” isn’t merely a pie-in-the sky slogan, either. It’s geared towards all the industry movers and shakers who face a great deal of trepidation in today’s unpredictable economy. And while technology might be highly touted as a big savior to help larger rental agencies navigate those financial waters, it does carry a lot of intimidating baggage in the eyes of smaller players.
According to trade publication Auto Rental News, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about how accessing the amenities of the current information age can help the bottom line regardless of company size.
“In various educational sessions, we’re excited to give attendees insights into how car rental operators can leverage their core competencies as fleet owners and managers in an exciting future,” said Chris Brown, who chairs the ICRS conference and also happens to be executive editor at Auto Rental News.
“At the same time, we’ll deliver on our primary mission to give attendees the tools they need to operate their car rental businesses today.”
Still one can’t help but feel there’s a Darwinian adapt-or-die vibe woven into the theme, although the ICRS has designed the itinerary to ensure that whatever information being made available at the event will benefit those who attend. The keynote address and panel discussion dubbed “The Connected Rental Car and the New Data Economy” will examine the potential impact of information technology on the industry as well as ways for businesses to absorb the movement into their planning.
For openers, the panel will likely look at the fact that cars connected via wireless can hourly generate up to 25 gigabytes of raw data, information that can be priceless in the hands of those who know what to do with it. Avis has already been conducting wireless connection tests on its fleet in Kansas City, with hopes of cutting down on maintenance costs and improving driver safety, factors that have a positive impact on technology investment.
Whether Avis will be discussed as a case in point remains to be seen. And while technology will be at the top of the agenda, that’s not the only topic up for discussion. The closing address, for example, will deal with how New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission dealt with the emergence of ride-sharing company Uber, offering tips on how the car rental industry can adapt to that company’s entry into the transportation game.
Additional subjects include how companies can detect violent behavior and extremism among clients who rent their vehicles for use in terrorist acts. Workshops will feature proven revenue-generating and cost-reducing ideas to improve the prospects of profitability. Other sessions will examine business models surrounding the likes of decentralized peer-to-peer platforms, subscription services, and mobility service integration.
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