Attendance at The Rental Show 2011 — which was held Feb. 27-March 2 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas — displayed a marked increase over 2010, reflecting a renewed optimistic attitude throughout the rental industry.
“It was a great show for the industry,” said Christine Wehrman, CEO, American Rental Association (ARA). “Attendees demonstrated they were here to buy equipment, strengthen their businesses, and celebrate their industry.”
The number of rental business personnel in attendance increased nearly 40 percent over The Rental Show 2010, while the number of rental businesses represented increased slightly less than 30 percent. Attendees came from the United States, Canada and 39 other countries.
Attendees were actively buying on the trade show floor, with many exhibitors reporting optimistic sales that began as soon as the floor opened. “We had more activity the first two hours of the show than the last two shows combined,” said Steve Groves of Champion Chisel Works, Tacoma, Wash., an exhibitor in the General Tool/Homeowner department of the show floor.
Optimism was reflected in the Construction/Industrial department as well. “The best part of the show in 2011 was the mood of the customers,” said Dave Garton, marketing manager of John Deere Construction & Forestry, Moline, Ill. “After a couple years of heads down, walk-right-past-our-booth traffic, it was great to see some long-time friends stop by to talk about machine purchases. It was even better to meet some new contacts and learn about their business. The best word to sum the show up actually comes from one of our customers who said people seem to have more ‘confidence’ than they have in the past.”
“The booth traffic was tremendous,” said Sue DiGennaro of California Portable Dance Floor Co., Camarillo, Calif. “If this is any indication of what’s going on, the economy is definitely coming back.”
Van Mark Products Corp. of Farmington Hills, Mich., also had a strong show. “It’s the best show in three years. We’ve done more than the last two years combined,” said Michael Eslinger, regional manager. “We’re very optimistic about 2011.”
A statement that perhaps best summed up the attitude of everyone at The Rental Show was made by Tim Ford, president of Terex AWP, Redmond, Wash., who said, “I think the message for this year is that the industry is back. The companies we’re doing business with, the marketplace we serve, and the products that we make are making a rebound as we thought they would. The industry is making a turn. You can feel it in the energy level of our customers. You can see it in the attendance of the show here relative to the past couple of years. This is our 42nd consecutive year, and we are excited to be a part of it.”
Positives for the industry also came from Wacker Neuson. “Across the board, equipment sales were very good during the show, which of course is encouraging not only for us, but for the industry as a whole,” said Johannes Schulze Vohren, vice president of Wacker Neuson, Menomonee Falls, Wis. “We found dealers are interested in new products and innovations, especially when it comes to helping their bottom line.”
Results from The Rental Show also reinforce the latest findings from IHS Global Insight, which reflect an optimistic future for the rental industry. Overall, total U.S. equipment rental revenue is projected to increase more than 7 percent during 2011, with a forecast for even stronger growth predicted through 2015 (see chart below).