Trending Content

EventsU attendees learn, network in New Orleans

By Erin Jorgensen

February 18, 2024

Hundreds of event rental professionals gathered at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center at The ARA Show™ in New Orleans on Saturday, Feb. 17, for the EventsU workshop, a full day of education and networking designed exclusively for those in event rental. The day kicked off with a lively and musical Keynote Breakfast — sponsored by premier sponsors Aztec Tents, Choice Party Linens, Easy RFID Pro and Seitz, The Fresher Co., as well as Point of Rental Software — featuring Marvelless Mark, a speaker and bestselling author, who presented “Energize, Engage, and Build Rock Star Event Rental Teams.”

During the breakfast session, Mark spoke about the four chords — key concepts you need to master in order to be successful: D – Dreams, C – Change, B – Band and A – Action. First, he says, you need to pursue big unreasonable dreams. Next, drive change to achieve your big unreasonable dreams. Third, put your band first, honor everyone’s unique abilities and check your ego at the door. Finally, taking daily action is the only thing that will get you to your big unreasonable dreams.

He also talked about how musicians can play the same notes, but sound completely different. The notes are No. 1. Musicians develop No. 2-10, which consists of articulation, technique, emotion/feel, dynamics, tone, rhythm/tempo, phrasing, space and listening.

“Many of you have the same products or offer the same services. But if you’re going to set yourself apart, be the ones driving change in your business. What is your No. 2-10?” Mark says.

“If you’re playing the four chords of success every day and applying them to your life and business, and you’re developing your No. 2-10, your customers will be your best lead singers ever because they’re posting pictures on social media. They’re tagging you, they’re sharing you, they’re telling others about you and your business is going to do nothing but grow, grow, grow,” he says.

“If you want to be the ones having the big unreasonable dreams, if you want to be the ones driving the change, you’re going to have to surround yourself with the right kind of people to create the right kind of culture and working relationships,” he says.

At the end of the breakfast session, attendees joined together in different rhythms to make up the “ARA Band,” each pounding their own set of drumsticks on the tables.

2023 Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) graduates

“There has to be a realization that you all play an important part in the success of your band and your business, and that everyone should be honored for that contribution,” Mark says.

“I thought Marvelless Mark was good. It was the perfect way to start the day. He was high energy and motivating,” says Russ Hicks, AAA Party Rentals, Laurel, Md.

Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to network with fellow rental professionals and learn more about trends in the event rental industry. Education sessions covered a variety of event rental-related topics, and featured panels of industry peers and experts including:

  • Dean Miller, CERP, from Miller’s Party Rental Center
  • Dan Hooks, CERP, from Party Reflections
  • Bryan Bolt from Top Tec Event Tents
  • Chuck Shipp from Shipp Cleaning Systems
  • Liz Davis, CERP, from Sunbelt Temporary Structures
  • Tarryn Prosper from PEAK Event Services
  • Robin Denny, CERP, from BBJ Linen La Tavola
  • Brittany Sherwood from Tents Unlimited

In the “Generate New Rental Bookings With Targeted Facebook and Instagram Ads…on $10 a Day” session, speaker Valerie McCartney discussed the top three rookie mistakes people make when advertising on social media including worrying about fan/follower count, boosting/promoting posts, and selling vs. directing traffic. She also showcased some examples of social posts that were successful in her business.

“I enjoyed the Facebook session. She had a ton of good information about thinking critically about what you’re putting out there and who you’re targeting. She made me think about a lot of topics I hadn’t thought of,” says Marlee Cain, Taylor Rental Center, Greenville, Miss.

The Events lunch featured an opportunity for networking and a short presentation from B&R Innovations/Block And Roll, the exclusive sponsor of the EventsU Networking Lunch. Recent 2023 graduates of the Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program also were recognized.

In the afternoon session, “Ready! Set the Table! Go! 2.0,” Steve Kemble, event designer and lifestyle guru, lead attendees in a high-energy interactive session focusing on table design. Participants were given an event theme and time limit for creating the perfect tablescape. Kemble then showcased how each table achieved its goal.

The day concluded with an evening reception at Generations Hall — sponsored by the premier sponsors plus Central Tent, Goodshuffle Pro, Palmer Snyder Furniture and Top Tec Event Tents.

“I came to EventsU this year to be around a lot of like-minded business owners who are experiencing the same things,” says Karen Bernard, Events Rental and Floral, Conway, Ark. “When I joined ARA recently, I thought EventsU would be a good place to bounce ideas off of people and also get some education. It’s been great.”