Strong economic outlook reflected in The Rental Show 2014 attendance growth

With increasing momentum and continued confidence for the year ahead, buyers helped fuel more enthusiasm this year on the exhibit floor at The Rental Show 2014 in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 9-12.

Anticipation had been building, as the trade show floor had been sold out for the second straight year. The trade show included more than 675 exhibitors — an increase of 10 percent over 2013 — with more than 80 companies brand-new to The Rental Show.

That enthusiasm also was reflected by the final attendance in Orlando, as the show marked its fifth consecutive year of increased growth in both the number of rental businesses represented and total attendees. Rental store attendance increased nearly 5 percent over 2013, with attendees traveling from 43 countries to the 58th edition of The Rental Show, the world’s largest equipment rental-specific convention and trade show, which is organized by the American Rental Association (ARA).

“It’s been a tremendous event for the industry in every facet,” said Christine Wehrman, ARA’s CEO. “The attitude, the economic outlook and the optimism only can mean another great year of growth for the equipment rental industry. The ARA is very pleased to see a positive outlook for the future.”

Mike Blaisdell, who became ARA’s chairman of the board at the conclusion of The Rental Show after serving as president in 2013, had similar feelings about the show this year.

“I promised this show would exceed expectations, and I think it did,” said Blaisdell, who is vice president of Bunce Rental Inc. in Tacoma, Wash. “Everybody in Orlando was in a positive mood. Every exhibitor I talked to was so tickled with the amount of traffic and sales. Everybody is very happy, and people were spending money. Even our company came to the show with a list of equipment to buy, and we blew our budget. We bought all kinds of things we weren’t planning to buy, and I think a lot of people were the same way this year.”

Exhibitors were also very positive. “This has been a great show,” said Scott Smith of Ditch Witch, a 56-year exhibitor from Perry, Okla. “There is a lot of optimism, and it feels like a better economy is more widespread. A year ago, the economy for us was very driven by the energy sector, but it feels like it is a lot broader this year. When we get to New Orleans for the show next year, it will be even better.”

First-year exhibitor Brian Legary of Aquaventronics, Grande Pointe, Manitoba, Canada, was pleased with his company’s experience. “The show was great,” he said. “We will certainly be back next year. The rental business is fun.”

The booth traffic was impressive to Janice Grieshop of Celina Tent, a 14-year exhibitor from Celina, Ohio. “We had a lot of interested people — a lot of very good leads, a mixture of old and new customers needing to update their inventory,” she said.

Next year, The Rental Show returns to New Orleans Feb. 22-25 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Since The Rental Show 2012 was held in New Orleans, renovations totaling $52 million have been completed at the convention center, including a brand-new entrance, The Great Hall, a new pedestrian plaza, and an outdoor terrace. The city continues to host high-profile sporting events, including the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in 2012, the Super Bowl and NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four in 2013, and the NBA All-Star Game in February 2014.

Hotels for The Rental Show 2015 are available for booking online at, with additional information being added to the website on next year’s show as it becomes available.


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