U.S. Rent A Car At The World Travel Market

Hi all,

Last week representatives of U.S. Rent A Car attended the World Travel MarketWTM1 (WTM). WTM is a 4 day long exhibition held at Excel in London where suppliers and buyers meetup to discuss the previous years work and how they can increase business in 2014.

Each industry has a different approach to WTM and what they can get out of it, for USA car hire companies its a good chance to meet new suppliers and nail down some deals. Here’s what we got up too.

Sixt Rent A Car

Our first meeting was with Sixt Rent A Car who were obviously delighted with the numbers we had produced for them. As a first year supplier on usrentacar.co.uk I think they were a bit shocked at how many rentals we can send. This actually coincided with one of our concerns; can Sixt provide enough vehicles for the amount of business we can send?

Sixt are probably the fastest growing independent car rental company in the U.S. at the moment their strategy of growing via franchises seems to be working well and they continue to grow and add to their Fleet. They were confident they would have the Fleet to maintain our growth.

Alamo Rent A Car

Next up was a meeting with Alamo Rent A Car, always good to meet up with these guys, not only as we have a great working relationship but they are also fans of this blog ;-)

As always Alamo are keen to receive even more rentals from us and from early talks we could be looking at some additional product in the shape of prestige vehicles and opening up in to alternative markets.

Budget Rent A Car

Its been a strange year with Budget Rent A Car lots of behind the scene’s politics that have kept them from being sold on usrentacar.co.uk. Talks at WTM went very well and we hope to have them back on sale in the first quarter of 2014. We’re still talking about what type of product we’ll be offering.

Dollar Rent A Car

2014 looks to be the first year that Hertz will play a more hands on role in the running of Dollar Rent A Car, we are expecting a merging of systems and fleet which should see a much smoother process.

We’ve been talking about adding additional product from them including perhaps adding their high end brands but we’ll need to see if this is something our customers want.

Misc

We met with a few other suppliers about the possibility of adding them to our site, but on first impression we weren’t convinced that they could offer the basic level of service we would expect. You get what you pay for…

We’ll have post WTM meetings with all these suppliers to see where we go from here, we will of course keep you post via the blog.

regards,

Gavin

 car hire USA

J.D. Power 2013 Car Rental Ratings

Hi all,

There are  lots of customer satisfaction surveys covering the car rental industry but none are held in such esteem as the  J.D. Power Car Rental satisfaction survey. This will be the 5th year we’ve displayed the results of the survey on the U.S. Rent A Car blog but its been reviewing car rental satisfaction for over 18 years.

The survey is a great indication of how consumers view USA car hire and a great matrix for showing price v’s service.  This year more than any other the old adage “you get what you pay for” has never rung so true, with car rental customers who based their choice on price were the least satisfied with the service they received.

Key Points

  • More than one-third (35%) of customers cite low price as a top reason for selecting their rental car company.  Yet, overall satisfaction is lowest among customers who select based on price (756 on a 1,000-point scale). In comparison, overall satisfaction among customers who choose a rental car company based on good customer service is highest (828).
  • Overall customer satisfaction with their rental car experience averages 775 in 2013, a six-point increase from 2012 and the highest satisfaction score since the study’s current methodology was adopted in 2006.
  • Customers on personal or leisure travel are slightly more satisfied, on average, than are business customers (777 vs. 771, respectively). Personal or leisure customers are more satisfied than are business customers across all factors except the pick-up process.
  • A critical factor associated with rental car satisfaction is expediency of pick up.  Among the 20 percent of customers who use a counter bypass service, satisfaction with the pick-up process averages 820 compared with 770 for those that use the rental counter.
  • A smile from the rental car staff can have a huge impact on overall satisfaction. Overall satisfaction among customers greeted with a smile from one member of a rental car company’s staff is 58 points higher than among those not greeted with a smile (693 vs. 635, respectively). Satisfaction among customers greeted with a smile by four staff members is 200 points higher than among those not greeted with a smile (835 vs. 635, respectively).
  • National ranks highest in customer satisfaction among rental car companies, with a score of 809, performing particularly well across all six factors. Enterprise ranks second with a score of 799, followed by Alamo with 782.

Overall Rankings

jd power 2013

A few things need to be remembered when looking at these stat’s. Firstly they are purely based on domestic customers the way a domestic customer is serviced is totally different to inbound customers, secondly all the suppliers that appeared under the top 3 all secured higher marks than the previous year and thirdly with Hertz purchasing Dollar Thrifty and four of last years entries not even making the survey due to low samples the industry average is misleadingly high.

However even with that taken into consideration its still a great result for Enterprise, congratulation to their team who I know work extremely hard.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

USA Car Hire For Christmas Set To Hit Record Prices

Hi all,

Usually around this time of year I take a moment to check the U.S. domestic rates to see how they will impact on car hire USA over the christmas period but we’ve been so busy here that I haven’t had the time, then we got an email through from suppliers warning that this year could see Florida Car Hire especially, hit an all time high so I thought I better do a bit of snooping.

I visited 4 supplier sites and searched for a 7 Seater Minivan picking up on the 20/12/13 and returning 1 week later. These were the domestic prices (not prepaid prices);

Alamo Rent A Car

alamo shop

As you can see one weeks rental will cost $495.00 plus tax taking it above $600 per week!

Budget Rent A Car

budget shop

With Budget we couldn’t even get a quote, they were fully sold out for the dates we required!

Dollar Rent A Car

dollar shop

Dollar Rent A Car at least have vehicles available however for the Christmas period you’ll be asked to pay $1400.49 per week!!!

Hertz

hertz shop

Just under a $1000.00 per week with Hertz… it does have unlimited mileage though ;-)

So as you can see Christmas pricing in October is already going through the roof and literally just at the time of writing this we’ve had confirmation that Dollar Rent A Car will be imposing a peak season surcharge of up to 108% for pick up’s between the 19/12/13 and the 31/12/13 in Florida.

So if you’re looking to get Christmas car hire USA, i’d advise getting a move on before all our suppliers following suit and raise their prices.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

I Don’t Have A Credit Card, Can I Still Rent A Car?

Hi all,

Yesterday’s post regarding photocopied driving licences proved to be credit cardsextremely popular, for 2013 it was the most read article in one day. It got us thinking that perhaps we should focus on the typical questions our reservation staff get asked and one of the main questions is;

I don’t have a credit card, can I still Rent A Car?

For the majority of our suppliers, being the holder of a major credit card is crucial, it is used within the validation process when you collect the vehicle and is required at almost all locations.

If you are under 25 and you are looking to take advantage of our young driver packages, the lead driver will have to be the holder of a major credit.

If you are looking to collect with Sixt Rent A Car, Budget Rent A Car, Thrifty Car Rental or National Car Rental at any of their locations, the lead driver will need to be the holder of a major credit card.

Are there any exceptions?

If you are collecting from Orlando International Airport then our supplier Alamo Rent A Car will accept a VISA debit card for the security deposit, however if you are collecting with them at any other location you will require a credit card.

Dollar Rent A Car appear to be leading their rivals on this front, at present you can use a VISA debit card to collect your vehicle from almost all of their 260 location across the U.S.

How much will they block on the card?

Generally the security deposit is approx. $200 per week, this does vary per supplier and per location. See terms for more. This amount is taken on an imprint of your card, the imprint is destroyed upon return of the vehicle. Please note that the security deposit is not an excess. Funds may be deducted from your account for items purchased locally, for example child seat rental. Your card will also be debited for any traffic violations you may incur including toll violations which will also come with an administration fee generally $15.00.

What happens if I don’t have enough funds to cover the deposit?

Then unfortunately the supplier does hold the right to refuse you the rental. As a prepaid car hire usa company we pay the supplier in advance for your rental so in this situation we would not be able to refund you. Please note that U.S. Rent A Car cannot amend any details to a booking once the pick up date has passed.

With more and more people shunning credit cards we hope other companies will take a leaf out of Dollar Rent A Car’s book and accept VISA debit cards, I’m sure they will.

Please note: The information in this article were correct at the time of publishing, car rental suppliers terms and conditions are subject to change at anytime, please make sure you read our terms and conditions before making your purchase.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

Avis Budget Buy Payless Car Rental, How Long Until There Are Only 4?

Hi all,

Last week the FTC gave final approval to the Hertz buyout of Dollar and Thriftypayless Rent A Car leaving the U.S. car rental market bossed by just 3 major companies, Enterprise (Alamo and National), Hertz (Dollar and Thrifty) and Avis Budget.

On the peripheral of these major players sits FSNA, who as part of the Hertz ‘s DTAG purchase took ownership of Advantage Rent A Car making them the 4th largest car hire usa company, a title that sounds impressive but in reality still leaves them some way off the top 3.

One of the companies looking to vye for fourth spot was Payless Car Rental, I say was because as of today Payless Car Rental the Florida based car supplier is now part of the Avis Budget group, who have reportedly purchased the mid tier company for $50 million! Not bad for a company that turns over $80 Million a year.

Why have Avis Budget bought this little known company? Well here’s what Ronald L Nelson Chairman & CEO of Avis Budget said;

Payless expands our global footprint, enables us to support Budget’s mid-tier brand positioning, and gives us greater flexibility to capitalize on opportunities in an additional segment of the car rental market in order to help accelerate our growth

Hmmm interesting… I know what it certainly does, and that is bring Avis Budget in line with Hertz in regards to markets it can enter, allow me to explain.

Prestigious aimed at business class and the affluent -  The Hertz brand falls into this category as does Avis.

Mid-Tier aimed at holiday makers - Hertz have Dollar Rent A Car for this and Avis have Budget.

Value Brand aimed at the no thrills market – Hertz could use Thrifty here and now Avis have Payless…

The more interesting part is what will Enterprise do? Their prestige brand is National, their mid-tier brand is Alamo but will they use their own Enterprise brand as a value option?…

Congratulations to Payless car rental as this cash deal seems pretty impressive, from a consumer view, the competitiveness in the  North American market just shrank.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

What We’ve Learnt From The Florida International Driving Permit Fiasco

Hi all,

A week has passed since we broke the alterations to the Florida senate law tomystery our customers regarding UK drivers needing an International Driving Permit.

Since then we were one of the first to confirm that the Florida senate had frozen the alteration while they investigated it further and would not be penalising UK drivers for not having an IDP.

So what have we learnt?

Well obviously the first thing we’ve learnt is that the Florida law makers definitely didn’t think this one through, not only has the introduction of the IDP been met with amazement in the UK, but also in Canada where the majority of the pressure to alter the law has come from.

The second thing we’ve learnt is the value of car hire USA brokers, it wasn’t the suppliers who found out about this law (Alamo, Budget, Dollar etc), it was car rental brokers, I personally emailed each and everyone of our suppliers warning them to the alteration and asking for their official stance.

On the day we ran with the story and notified all our customers I called each supplier pretending to be a customer and asked them one very specific question.

Do I require an International Driving Permit to hire in Florida?

These were my replies.

Supplier: Alamo Rent A Car

Date: 13/02/13

Time: 15:35

Agents name: Bob

Answer: Bob immediately stated that an IDP was not required. When I informed him of the rule change he popped me on hold to double check and then returned to state that again no IDP was required.

Verdict: Bob was wrong.

 

Supplier: Budget Rent A Car

Date: 13/02/13

Time: 15:51

Agents name: Natalie

Answer: Again Natalie hadn’t heard about the IDP change and told me it wasn’t required. When I told her, she popped me on hold and returned to state that Budget wouldn’t stop me from renting the vehicle however if I felt it was necessary to have one then I should get one. She’d didn’t know where I could get one from though.

Verdict: Although she wasn’t fully equipped with the information I thought her advise was ok.

 

Supplier: Dollar Rent A Car

Date: 13/02/13

Time: 16:00

Agents name: Charles

Answer: Actually I first spoke to their customer services department, who stated they didn’t know anything and sent me to reservations. Charles stated I definitely only needed a UK driving licence, again I informed him of the change in law, he popped me on hold to verify. Charles returned some time after to confirm I definitely did not need an IDP.

Verdict: Charles was wrong.

On Friday after we posted and contacted our customers to confirm that the amended law would not be actioned until further notice, I repeated the above calls.

I obviously didn’t get through to the same people but each of the suppliers then confirmed I would require an IDP…

What did I learn? 

When picking your Florida Car Hire supplier, remember its not just price you should be thinking about, its also the after care…

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Budget Rent A Car Announces Additions To 2013 Fleet

Hi all,

We are fully emerged in 2013 now, I’ve even got to the point now of not typing 2012 by accident! Today I received an PR release from Budget Rent A Car confirming some new additions to their 2013 Fleet.

Budget has taken deliveries of new cars and Sport Utility Vehicles from a number of suppliers, including  Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai and General Motors.

A few of the stand out additions include the 2 dr Volkswagen Beetle, which sports 17-inch alloy wheels and is does 31 miles per gallon (info provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the latest Ford Fusion, which is rated at 34 mpg; the Dodge Dart, Chrysler Group’s “first vehicle based on parent company Fiat’s architecture,” with a fuel efficiency rating of 36 miles per gallon; and the Nissan Altima rated at 38 miles per gallon.

Other vehicles to catch the eye are the 2013 Toyota Avalon, the manufacturers “first car designed and engineered in North America“; the third-generation Hyundai Santa Fe with two-row, five-passenger seating; and the redesigned Ford Escape, with seating for five and more cargo space than their older models.

The Jeep Wrangler, Ford F-150 SuperCrew pickup truck and Ford Econoline E-350 12-passenger van have also been added to the Fleet.

Makes and models of vehicles unfortunately  can never be guaranteed but its refreshing to see a supplier being so forth coming with Fleet information.

Is there a vehicle you’d love to hire that they’ve missed?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

USA Car Hire Statistics For 2012, Who’s Got What!?

Hi all,

Get your nerd glasses on and prepare for a lesson in who’s got what when it comes to car’s and locations in North America.

The big story of 2012 was of course Hertz’s purchase of Dollar Thrifty which cemented Hertz as the 2nd largest Car Hire USA supplier, but in physical cars, what does it all mean…

In total the U.S. Car Rental market has approximately 1.8 million active cars, the gulf between who actually owns these cars from bottom to top is vast with the top 4 (2012) owning 1.7 million of them!

Here’s the breakdown -

No. of vehicles No. of locations (USA)
Enterprise Holdings (Includes Alamo Rent A Car,Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental) 941,064 6,202
Hertz (Includes Advantage Rent-A-Car) 366,000 2,700
Avis Budget Group 300,000 2,500
Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group 122,000 470
Zipcar 8,800 151
Fox Rent A Car 15,000 17
U-Save Auto Rental System Inc 11,500 325
Payless Car Rental System Inc. 11,000 44
ACE Rent A Car 9,000 92
Rent-A-Wreck ofAmerica 5,600 184
Triangle Rent-A-Car 4,000 28
Affordable/Sensible 3,300 180
Independents 60,000 5,400
Total 1,857,264 18,293

*The information above is based on data, public documents, industry research and ARN estimates.

Looking at these compiled stat’s you can see why Hertz’s purchase took so long to go through as the FTC were very concerned about lack of competition in the market place.

Yesterday Avis Budget entered negotiations to purchase car sharing leader Zipcar (shown above to own 8800 vehicles) which will again strengthen the hold the top 3 have on the industry.

More and more now the industry is becoming about relationships, as the top 3 break away for the rest its important to be in the right camp. Car Rental Brokers and Tour Operators may have to look at the smaller car rental companies to stay competitive and offer something different. U.S. Rent A Car is in a unique position where we have great relationships with the top 3 and have the freedom to push whoever is offering the customer best value.

One thing I know for sure, 2013 is going to be interesting…

regards,

James

 car hire USA

A Look Back At 2012 And What The Year May Hold

Hi all,

Firstly Happy New Year! 2013 is now upon us and the feeling I get through social websites is that people are in positive mood for the future. Here at usrentcar.co.uk we share the same optimism.

As with previous years I thought I’d take a look at how our suppliers performed in 2012  and take a stab at predicting what 2013 might hold.

Please note that the opinions below are solely mine and may not be representative of supplier relationships with other companies.

Alamo Rent A Car / National Rent A Car

Alamo/National are definitely not performing on usrentacar.co.uk as well as they could, a lack of special offers was apparent which mean’t they were out performed by smaller Car Hire USA suppliers, who reacted quicker to the market.

Having said that their niche offerings including young driver packages and great pricing for one way rentals through National continued to perform well.

For 2013 – I’m hoping that we will see a more competitively minded Alamo Rent A Car this year, the purchase of Dollar Rent A Car by Hertz could be a real game changer and Alamo will need to keep their eyes on the prize if they wish to remain number 1 in North America.

Positives – Niche and exclusive products continue to sell well. Customer services turn around in the second half of 2012 was amazingly quick for the car rental industry.

Negatives - Lack of special offers in 2012.

Budget Rent A Car

Although Budget removed some of their more attractive offers this year, including the young drivers package and their upgrade special offer, they continue to perform well without reaching the highs of 2010.

We are still negotiating prices past April 2013 but I’m confident their product will be strong. We have a very good working relationship with Budget and I’m keen to continue this.

For 2013 – Now officially the 3rd largest car rental company in the USA, I expect to see some refinement in their distribution channels. I remember when we first started supporting Budget’s move in to the leisure market it was a bit hit and miss when it came to pricing, now nearly 10 years on Budget understand the market well and are a real player.

Positives – Package wise they still include an additional driver and offer the pick up full return full fuel policy. Good understanding of the UK market.

Negatives – Slow to offer rates for 2013 which could effect yearly numbers.

Dollar Rent A Car & Thrifty Rent A Car

Performed extremely well this year, were quick to offer special offers and moved quickly when we approached them will ideas.

For 2013 - 2012 was a massive year for DTAG which culminated with their sale to Hertz how the buyout will effect the two brands is yet to be seen but I for one think it will be a very positive.

Positives – Very competitive.

Negatives – Although the first 3 quarters of the year were fine, the last quarter of 2012 saw a back log of customer services queries which we found unacceptable, to their credit they have worked very hard to not only remove the back log but also to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Sixt Rent A Car

Although our contract negotiations took a while, we finally had Sixt on board for the final quarter. They have been very keen to learn from us and listen to our feedback. Pricing was extremely competitive to match the fact their product is off airport.

For 2013 – 2013 is a massive opportunity for Sixt, they will be opening up a franchise network that could see the amount of locations they operate from increase dramatically.

Positives – Really competitive.

Negatives – Off airport, which can put some customers off as they assume its a longer process.

I’m sure 2013 will see a lot of twists and turns in it, for U.S. Rent A Car we’ve already been approached by 2  more car rental companies who want to appear on our site for 2013, one is a value brand and the other a new start up, both look interesting at first glance however first appearances can be deceiving so we’ll be taking a much closer look before even considering placing them live.

2012 figures which I’m working through at present, point towards a record year in both number of rentals and revenue. The launch of the new look website in April 2012 definitely had the required effect and my hat goes off to the team.

Within 2012 we launched several new products including our Platinum rate, our unique location finder and one way rental tool all of which have been “borrowed” by our competitors, although I find this highly frustrating I’m assured its a form of flattery…. hmmm. 2013 will see the release of our redesigned iPhone app which I’m excited about, no other car rental app will include our new features.

We also had a very successful year with our first dedicated theme park site Orlando Attraction Tickets I think we have taken the correct steps for our first year by getting to know the product and what our customers expect; 2013 will see a complete redesign of the site and the introduction of some unique features that others have yet to implement.

I would like to thank the staff, suppliers and most importantly the customers of U.S. Rent A Car Ltd, here’s to a successful 2013.

Kind regards,

Gavin

 car hire USA

If You’re Waiting For A December USA Car Hire Special, Its Not Going To Happen

Hi all,

If you’re leaving your USA car hire for the Christmas period (December) until the last minute hoping for a late deal I’m afraid you’re going to be very disappointed. Every major car rental company in the U.S. has released black out (stop sale) periods across Florida and the USA. All of the suppliers I have spoken to have confirmed that they will definitely sell out in December. Vehicles are already being moved from down town locations to cover the airport demand.

A quick look at the local car hire pricing, which is always a good guide to how business is doing domestically tells a tale! Would you be happy to pay over £150 for an economy rental car for a week with no insurance? Well locally you can’t even get it that cheap!

Alamo Rent A Car

As you can see an Economy vehicle with no insurance included within the rate for a week will cost $437.42 locally approximately £275.00 !!!

Budget Rent A Car

Budget as you can see for our most popular vehicle the Intermediate SUV are $557.99 for a week with no insurance approximately £350.00 !

Dollar Rent A Car

7 Seater minivans in December are like gold dust, as you can see above a minivan for a week with no insurance will cost you $1659.00 approximately £1040!!

I would advise our customer if you need a car in December get it booked now, don’t wait because car rental is literally sell out fast!

regards,

James,

 car hire USA


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