Nearly 40 airports will join forces on Tuesday, simultaneously hosting supplier diversity outreach events aimed at increasing minority small business participation in airport rental car operations.
The Airport Minority Advisory Council, Avis Budget Group, Enterprise and Hertz have teamed up to oversee the events, which will occur at a wide range of airport locations.
Minority participation on the rental car side of airport operations has long lagged behind that in concessions. AMAC, government agencies and private industry have worked in recent years to find ways of increasing diversity in this area.
The Airport Rental Car Supplier Diversity Outreach events on Tuesday will differ among markets. Some will include presentations by local representatives focusing on the purchasing areas for which they lack ACDBE partnerships. All airports will have officials discussing certifications.
“It’s a wide array,” says Raymond Christy, senior planner – disadvantaged business enterprise coordinator at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). “The organizing of the events is left up to the individual airports.”
Seeds that led to this outreach event were first planted around three years ago when a few industry participants met to brainstorm ideas for increasing minority participation in the rental car business. The group worked last year to get a dealership that could supply airports with cars certified as an Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. Further discussion led to the idea of hosting this outreach across the country on the same day.
“We said ‘what do we want to do next,’” Christy says. “We’re still in the same boat where rental car concessions is a challenge for ACDBE opportunities. How can we do something that benefits both car rental concessions and airports? All of us around the table said let’s do an outreach day.”
The rental companies were on board. Airports began jumping on board. AMAC agreed to help. The success of the event will be measured, in part, based on overall attendance and the variety of businesses that attend. But Christy adds that early feedback has been positive. In addition to the nearly 40 airports that have agreed to participate this year, along with the major rental car companies, several more airports and at least one regional rental car company have indicated an interest in participating down the road.
“We definitely need to do it again next year,” Christy says.