For the first time since 2013, The ARA Show™ 2021 returns to Las Vegas. The 65th edition of the world’s largest equipment and event rental-specific convention and trade show organized by the American Rental Association (ARA), opens Sunday, Oct. 17, with a full day of education sessions and the annual ARA Industry Awards Lunch at Resorts World, the show’s headquarters hotel.
The trade show, which features more than 600 exhibitors on two floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) South Hall as well as an outdoor area, opens at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 18, immediately following the conclusion of the Keynote Session presented by Carey Lohrenz, which starts at 8 a.m. at Resorts World.
Christine Hammes, ARA’s vice president, association services, recently answered questions from Rental Management about what attendees can expect at the show this year.
Rental Management: The ARA Show is in Las Vegas for the first time since 2013. It is scheduled for Oct. 17-20 instead of a February time frame. How did this happen?
Christine Hammes: Due to the circumstances caused by the pandemic, the show initially planned for February in New Orleans was canceled. Several shows were also repositioning at that time and therefore space opened for ARA at the LVCC. I guess you could say it was a silver lining to an unfortunate situation.
Rental Management: This is a big change necessitated by a very unusual set of circumstances. How have exhibitors and attendees reacted to this?
Hammes: Both associate and general members were pleased that the show is finally going back to Las Vegas. Overall reception has been positive. The October timing had some mixed reviews — usually depending on segment and geographic location of the member. For some of our general members, this is their busiest time. There were limited cities and times to select from so it helped ease concerns when we explained the details behind the decision. The associate members quickly jumped on board as we have had a very positive response to booth sales and sponsorships for the show.
Rental Management: What happens if recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Las Vegas requirements change?
Hammes: Things have been very fluid over the last year. We have become very accustomed to having a “Plan B” or even a “Plan C.” Our main priority is to execute a clean, safe, essential and successful event for all our members. We are prepared to make changes if needed and will abide by all health practices required by Clark County and the State of Nevada.
Rental Management: How does ARA intend to make sure attendees and exhibitors are safe?
Hammes: The ARA Show will be abiding by all health practices required by Clark County and the State of Nevada. Specifically, to help set attendee expectations for Vegas:
Masks: All attendees will be required to wear a face covering unless outside or actively eating or drinking. Masks will be available on site if an attendee does not have one of their own.
Physical distancing: The ARA Show will follow a 3-ft. radial distance, which is 6 ft. of physical distance per person. There will be one–way entrances and exits into the exhibit halls. Lounges and seating will be arranged to provide distancing. Seating at tables will be limited to six people per table.
Enhanced cleaning: There will be additional sanitation stations throughout the event with a focus on “high touch” areas, such as door handles, restrooms, and food and beverage areas.
Cleaning procedures: The LVCC has modeled its cleaning procedures around the recommendations and requirements of organizations such as the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) and the CDC. The GBAC Star accreditation program is considered the gold standard for safe facilities. It is performance-based and designed to help facilities establish a comprehensive system of cleaning, sanitizing and infectious disease prevention.
Hand sanitizer: Stations will be available at all entrances and exits to the show floor and throughout high-traffic areas.
Air quality: LVCC has taken steps to improve ventilation in the facility by increasing total air flow supply to occupied spaces.
Vaccinations: All ARA staff members working the event have been vaccinated. All third-party vendors being utilized are requiring vaccinations or weekly testing of employees.
Streaming: ARA will provide live streaming of the keynote and education sessions for those who prefer not to sit in larger group settings. Attendees will sign into a password-protected microsite to view sessions.
Outdoor events: Events with eating and drinking, such as the Regional Receptions on Monday evening and “ARA’s Oktoberfest ... Las Vegas Style!” on Tuesday night, will be hosted outside so attendees can safely network while eating and drinking. Seating will be available outside to “take a break” as well.
Testing: Onsite COVID-19 testing will be available at Resorts World, the LVCC North Hall and nearby locations. A list of these locations will be available on the mobile app and on the show website.
Larger events, such as the Regional Receptions and Tuesday night Oktoberfest event, will be hosted outside so attendees can safely network while eating and drinking. Seating will be available outside to “take a break” as well. Overall, the goal is to provide an excellent show experience, keeping things as normal and safe as possible.
Rental Management: This may be the first time The ARA Show will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. What are the benefits of being at this venue?
Hammes: The location is close to the strip and offers outside space. There are several hotels within walking distance or to the monorail, including the new Resorts World property that is serving as the show’s headquarters hotel. For safety, the LVCC also has a GBAC Star accreditation program.
Rental Management: Another difference is the headquarters hotel in Las Vegas, Resorts World, which just opened this summer. What can attendees expect?
Hammes: As a brand-new hotel, Resorts World offers luxury, value and variety. There are more than 40 food and beverage experiences to explore, shops, entertainment and gaming. It is a great place for members to stay as the headquarters hotel is right in the middle of all the show action. Also, several events will take place at Resorts World, including the Sunday education sessions, the ARA Industry Awards Lunch and the Keynote Session with Carey Lohrenz. The ARA Young Professionals Reception will be at Zouk Nightclub and the ARAPAC Reception will be hosted at the Rose Rooftop.
Rental Management: Exhibits also will be on two floors of the South Hall. What are the advantages?
Hammes: Having two floors afforded us the opportunity to spread out and allow for wider aisles, which helps control the flow and spacing of aisle traffic. ARA will have two booth locations because of the two levels in the South Hall. Booth No. 2319 is located on level one in the construction section and will feature kiosks with information about membership, the ARA Foundation, chapter leadership, market intelligence and technology, and workforce development. Booth No. 7433, located on level two in the event section, will have materials focused more on the event and DIY segments, however ARA staff present will be able to answer any ARA-related questions for members. Both booths will be excellent resources for ARA members to learn more about the tools offered to them as part of their ARA membership.
Rental Management: What is the Booth Chase?
Hammes: The Booth Chase will give rental store attendees a chance to win $2,500 by using the show app to visit 10 locations during trade show hours and scan a QR code at each location. If you visit all 10, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win. These 10 locations include the booth of each platinum sponsor, one of the two ARA Resource Centers and the outdoor exhibit area. You will need to sign into the app and create your profile to play and so you can be contacted if you win. If you don’t have The ARA Show app already, download and log in before the show. It will help you plan your trip, organize your schedule and make sure you don’t miss key parts of the show while in Las Vegas.