Each year, members of the Premiere Events team head to the annual American Rental Association “Rental Show” for a fast and furious 3 to 4 days of learning, networking with industry peers from around the globe, soaking up the culture and sampling the cuisine of show-site cities and attending amazing show-sponsored events. This years’ show featured the post-Mardi Gras hospitality of New Orleans, one of our favorite destinations. A return visit to Emeril’s restaurant found that dining experience just as impressive and enjoyable as we remembered from four years ago. And I have it on good authority that a couple of “private” vendor-sponsored parties and the House of Blues Tuesday evening bash were highly entertaining.
The Sunday Education Day is always a Show highlight for me. As a life-long learner and insight seeker, I relish the opportunity to hear the message of impressive and inspiring speakers. Topics I enjoyed at the 2018 show included “5 Decisions All Winners Make” and “Hide Your Goat”. I also attended this year’s Party and Event Rental Town Hall, a panel-led discussion of best party and event rental practices. The Town Hall provides an opportunity to explore ideas and initiatives other party and event practitioners have found useful and effective.
The trade show floor is the heart of this annual event. Each show week, the floor opens immediately follows the Monday key-note. This year’s key-note speakers were Jonathan and Drew Scott of “Property Brothers” fame. The Scotts spoke about their work in home renovation and real estate, and about the attributes that have contributed to their phenomenal business and personal success.
When the Trade Show floor opens, it’s time for my favorite show activity . . . shopping, shopping and more shopping. This year, sixteen very long rows of party and event “booths” featured our industry’s latest and greatest party and event inventory additions. Tools and equipment designed to make facilitate party rental operations, including delivery and other services, are also displayed on the trade show floor.
Since we’re in attendance at the show year after year, our attention is captured by first time vendors we may not have seen before or on new products offered by vendors with whom we’re familiar. Product categories that generally interest us include tents (which typically don’t change much from year to year), tables (we found a couple of new farm-style tables this year, including one with metal legs and interchangeable tops), chairs (nothing new this year, but we’re considering a replacement conference chair and a metal Louis chair with leather cushion), china (we’re looking for “natural” stoneware style options as well as a new Premiere Select china pattern), glassware (colored glassware continues to interest us) and flatware (we’ll be adding depth and breadth to this category this year). We found a few new items of décor and a couple of interesting furniture options, and are waiting on catalogs and purchasing information. We also spend considerable time exploring linens. Like last year, linen vendors seem most excited about their prints and patterns, and their capacity to customize their fabric offerings. We’ll be bringing in samples of a few new product lines that piqued our interest and that we think our market will find attractive.
After a full day of walking the floor (I logged 6.4 miles that day) and shopping ‘til we dropped, this year’s Monday evening regional reception (and the chance to finally sit down!) was particularly enjoyable for the Premiere team. Our Vice president of Administration, Angela Nussel, selected as the 2018 “Region IV) Rental Person of the Year”, received her “trophy” that evening. This award, given to one individual from the ARA region comprised of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Oklahoma, recognizes outstanding contributions to the rental industry and leadership on the local, state or regional level. Angela received this honor for her work with the Texas Rental Association Board, where she serves as Secretary / Treasurer.
We look forward to next year’s Rental Show, to be hosted in Anaheim for the first time in many years. I hear Mickey Mouse calling now . . .