The Rental Show Attracts ’Power Buyers’ to Atlanta

Tue February 27, 2007 - National Edition
Christine Coleman

Momentum was the key word in the promotions leading up to The Rental Show in Atlanta — and on site at the Georgia World Congress Center that word became the driver for everyone in attendance.

The American Rental Association’s (ARA) 51st annual convention and rental trade show Feb. 7 to 10 continued a forward movement, plus provided another overall successful show for rental business attendees and exhibitors alike.

“The industry comes together at The Rental Show to experience the best of the industry — the people, the equipment and the success of each business. It’s all here in one place,” said Chris Wehrman, ARA CEO.

Attendance-wise, this year’s show brought all facets of the industry together to Atlanta from throughout the world.

Education-wise, Construction U and Events & Tents had high attendance, beneficial program content and energizing opening speakers in George Hedley and David Tutera. The Next Generation of Rental Owners workshop drew a sold-out crowd of business owners and successors. Show seminars were mostly filled to capacity for each session.

The special events for the show again proved to be just that. The opening night “Uptown, Down Home Atlanta” on Feb. 7 attracted 2,500 people — a number surpassing the 2006 opening event. The crowd of all ages again was energized by the music and antics of disk jockey Jammin’ Jon and spent much of the night packed onto the dance floor.

“Swingin’ Under the Sea” at the Georgia Aquarium had the sold-out crowd of more than 2,100 at the world’s largest aquarium. The special viewing areas of the beluga whales and whale sharks located in the Oceans Ballroom were especially popular, as was the swing music from Michael Andrew and Swingerhead.

“It was a wonderful setting in a world-class venue,” said David Baxter of JLG Industries, one of five sponsors for the evening. “JLG was pleased to sponsor an event of this quality for all the members of ARA.”

The trade show opened with a rush on the morning of Feb. 8 as attendees streamed down the Congress Center’s many escalators to the show floor. And those attendees did more than just browse through the vast array of rental equipment.

“Power buyers were definitely in attendance,” said Kurt Hixson of Dynapac USA.

The Rental Show proved productive for New Holland Construction.

“We surpassed our goals and are very happy with the results,” New Holland’s Chris Speier said.

This year’s show was “instant ROI at our favorite show of the year,” said Keith Willey of Clarke. “People coming in are interested in learning about new product.”

Clarke is the only manufacturer to exhibit at The Rental Show every year since it began in 1956.

New exhibitors also found success at the show. Birchwood Products of the United Kingdom put a “tentative toe in the water to gauge interest and to see the market for our products in the U.S.,” said Chris Mellor-Dolman. “We established a huge interest with our rental customers. We’ll be back and in 2008 with a larger booth.”

Momentum for next year’s The Rental Show was already building even before the show officially ended Feb. 10 — nearly 60 exhibitors submitted booth applications for the 2008 show.

Next year’s show runs from Feb. 11 to 14 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

(Christine Coleman is the marketing manager of the ARA.)

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