You don’t have to be a seasoned lobbyist or political expert to advocate for your business. This was the subject of two seminars at the recent 2021 International Car Rental Show. (Missed the conference or would like to revisit the sessions? Good news, the seminars are now available online!)
Make your voice heard
Despite the turmoil of the past year and a half amid perhaps the worst downtown core the industry has ever seen, the rental car market has proven its resilience and its reclaimed place at the industry table. travel. Many CIHR attendees shared success stories of coming out to the other side and using creative solutions to tackle the supply chain shortage we all face.
In the second session of the show, “Survival & Revival – ACRA presentation” with Sharky Laguana, CEO of Bandago Van Rental and President of the American Car Rental Association (ACRA); Gregory M. Scott, ACRA Public Affairs Representative; and Gordon Reel of Enterprise Holdings and Secretary of ACRA, the panel discussed how to conduct our own turnaround.
“We want a strong, informed and engaged ACRA * army,” Laguana said, challenging the public to get involved.
“It helps the country to leave,” Laguana said. “We are in the middle of a very important economic chain that creates value for our country and the world,” he said, adding how easy it is to contact your state senator to share the challenges. and the ideas you have for improving the industry.
ACRA has a Political Action Committee (PAC), made up of individuals who collectively serve to defend the name of the entire industry without partisan bias. Joining this PCB or any other PCB can be a great way to build relationships with elected officials at all levels of government. And as Scott recalled, you better make friends before you have to ask them something.
3 industry issues
During the session, the panel discussed the issues that will gain importance for car rental and which require local legislative involvement from car rental operators: vehicle supply and cost, vehicle growth electrical and connected vehicle data – the latter of which Scott said we as operators need to access and control, as opposed to the OEM.
At the second point, car rental customers will expect their EV rental vehicles to be fully charged at the time of pickup, Laguana commented, but most operators are not yet equipped with enough. chargers or power available to meet this demand. That’s why ACRA’s PAC is working to engage the government in securing more funding to build more substations.
“We’ll be totally screwed if we can’t figure this out,” Laguana said. “This is an important issue that we need to talk about as an industry, and it’s something you can all do to get decision-makers to think about it. It’s up to us to let them know… We’re all in the same boat, and we can be the tide that hoists our own flag.
Sharky Laguana, for ACRA, says they are monitoring the availability of electric vehicle charging power and building more substations. But, it’s expensive, and we need funding. Their PAC commits the government to help. “We’ll be totally screwed if we can’t figure this out.” # icrs2021 pic.twitter.com/aOuQKjrhJB
– Car Rental News (@AutoRentalNews) August 16, 2021
Laguana said ACRA is also actively seeking other ways to engage and support small operators and entrepreneurs in the industry, citing Utah-based Rabbit Rentals as a recent achievement.
Scott also provided an update on how the association has worked on behalf of its members, including recently arguing to the Department of Homeland Security that car rental is a vital business and cannot be shut down. It also worked, as the industry was added to the list of critical infrastructure during the pandemic. ACRA also met with the Federal Reserve Board regarding the liquidity crisis in the industry. On payroll tax deferrals, Scott said it was “the lifeline that many of us need to survive.”
Reel closed with a call to see the political action of an association as the three legs of a stool, each representing a representation of lobbyists, a PAC and grassroots and grassroots advocacy.
This year, ACRA will be holding its DC Legislative Conference virtually from September 20-22, 2021. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with politicians and policymakers on Zoom in on the issues discussed at the seminar.
Communicate with legislators
In the show’s penultimate session, a Utah state senator – Michael K. McKell – took the stage to share tips and tricks for communicating with lawmakers. The discussion, led by David Purinton of PurCo Fleet Services, provided evidence that with intentional effort, he is possible to make a real change.
Purinton opened with a video explaining how Bills work (donate old School House Rock a watch below) and shared this list of suggested actions you can take to start your involvement.
- Join a political party – any party that speaks to you
- Join the party and attend events
- Know, serve and support your local and state legislators
- Look for alliances with other associations (Don’t have one in your state? Create one!)
- Know what your industry is contributing to
- Tell your story
- Encourage your employees to get involved
Senator McKell, asking the audience how many of them knew the senators of their state, shared the problem: “A problem in America is not knowing your representatives in the House and the American senators, and we must solve this problem, ”he said.
It is also important to know which branch of government can give you the best bang for your buck. Most of the problems faced by car rental companies lie in state legislatures, McKell said. This means that the impact of decisions made in a state impacts you first and impacts you faster than at the federal level.
His good plans? Pick up the phone and make a call, and participate in campaigns from the start. Most state legislators are fairly accessible with a small staff.
So how are you going to get involved?