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

FSNA Complete Advantage Rent A Car Deal Plus A Little Extra

Hi all,

The Hertz buyout of Dollar Rent A Car was one of the major stories of 2012 and  finally reached a climax in November, one of the side stories was the FTC demanding Hertz sell of their value brand Advantage Rent A Car and additional locations.

The buyer’s of Advantage Rent A Car turned out to be the Franchise Services of North America (FSNA) who operate known brands such as U-Save and Rent A Wreck. Yesterday FSNA confirmed that they had completed the deal with the added advantage (excuse the pun) of picking up not the expected 16 Airport locations as originally agreed but also the other 13 locations that the FTC said would be up for grabs.

Thomas P. McDonnell, III,  CEO and chairman of FSNA said,

This is a great day for FSNA, our partner Macquarie Capital, and the more than 600 employees of Advantage Rent A Car. We are all excited to become North America’s fourth largest car rental company, and we look forward to continuing a legacy of great service to our customers, both new and old.

The transition will begin in early 2013 and places a heft full stop in the deal that has taken over 2 years to complete.

It does put an end to the rumours circulating the car rental industry regarding who was going to pick up the additional airport locations, with Sixt Rent A Car‘s name being banded around.

usrentacar.co.uk offers fully inclusive Car Hire USA via the newly created Hertz / Dtag brand from as little as £13.00 per day.

regards,

James

 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

A List Of The Airport Locations The FTC Has Targeted In The Hertz Dollar Buyout

Hi all,

So the FTC finally agreed to the Hertz buyout of Dollar Thrifty with a few big amendments including the sale of 29 Airport locations. 

Some have suggested that these airport locations would perhaps be locations that wouldn’t really have an effect on the car rental giant. However usrentacar.co.uk has managed to get hold of a list of the 72 potentially effected airport locations, which we’ve listed below.

72 Airport Locations 

  1. Albuquerque,New Mexico(Albuquerque International Sunport Airport)
  2. Atlanta,Georgia(Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport)
  3. Austin,Texas(Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)
  4. Baltimore,Maryland(Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport)
  5. Boston,Massachusetts(Logan International Airport)
  6. Burbank,California(Burbank Bob Hope Airport)
  7. Burlington,Vermont(Burlington International Airport)
  8. Charleston,South Carolina(Charleston International Airport)
  9. Charlotte,North Carolina(Charlotte Douglas International Airport)
  10. Chicago,Illinois(Chicago Midway International Airport)
  11. Chicago,Illinois(Chicago O’Hare International Airport)
  12. Cincinnati,Ohio(Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport)
  13. Cleveland,Ohio(Cleveland Hopkins International Airport)
  14. Colorado Springs,Colorado(Colorado Springs Airport)
  15. Dallas,Texas(Dallas Love Field Airport)
  16. Dallas,Texas(Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)
  17. Detroit,Michigan(Detroit Metro Airport)
  18. Denver,Colorado(Denver International Airport)
  19. Des Moines,Iowa(Des Moines Airport)
  20. El Paso,Texas(El Paso Airport)
  21. Fort Lauderdale,Florida(Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport)
  22. Fort Myers,Florida(Southwest Florida International Airport)
  23. Fort Walton Beach,Florida(Fort Walton Beach Regional Airport)
  24. Harlingen,Texas(Valley International Airport)
  25. Hartford,Connecticut(Bradley International Airport)
  26. Hilo,Hawaii(Hilo International Airport)
  27. Honolulu,Hawaii(Honolulu International Airport)
  28. Houston,Texas(George Bush Intercontinental Airport)
  29. Houston,Texas(William P. Hobby Airport)
  30. Jacksonville,Florida(Jacksonville International Airport)
  31. Kahului,Hawaii(Kahului Airport)
  32. Las Vegas,Nevada(McCarran International Airport)
  33. Lihue,Hawaii(Lihue Airport)
  34. Los Angeles,California(Los  Angeles International Airport)
  35. Louisville,Kentucky(Louisville Internationa lAirport)
  36. Manchester,New Hampshire(Manchester-Boston Regional Airport)
  37. Miami,Florida(Miami International Airport)
  38. Milwaukee,Wisconsin(Milwaukee International Airport)
  39. Minneapolis-St. Paul,Minnesota(Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport)
  40. Nashville,Tennessee(Nashville International Airport)
  41. New York,New York(La Guardia Airport)
  42. New York,New York(John F.Kennedy Internationa lAirport)
  43. Newark,New Jersey(Newark Liberty International Airport)
  44. Norfolk,Virginia(Norfolk International Airport)
  45. Oakland,California(Oakland International Airport)
  46. Oklahoma City,Oklahoma(Will Rogers World Airport)
  47. Omaha,Nebraska(Omaha Airport)
  48. Los Angeles,California(Ontario International Airport)
  49. Orange County,California(John Wayne Airport)
  50. Orlando,Florida(Orlando International Airport)
  51. Pensacola,Florida(Pensacola International Airport)
  52. Phoenix,Arizona(SkyHarbor Airport)
  53. Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania(Pittsburgh International Airport)
  54. Portland,Oregon(Portland International Airport)
  55. Providence,Rhode Island(T.F.Green Airport)
  56. Raleigh-Durham,North Carolina(Raleigh-Durham International Airport)
  57. Reno,Nevada(Reno-Tahoe International Airport)
  58. Richmond,Virginia(Richmond International Airport)
  59. Sacramento,California(Sacramento International Airport)
  60. Salt Lake City,Utah(Salt Lake City International Airport)
  61. San Antonio,Texas(San Antoni oInternational Airport)
  62. San Diego,California(San Diego International Airport)
  63. Sanford,Florida(Orlando-Sanford International Airport)
  64. San Francisco,California(San Francisco International Airport
  65. San Jose,California(NormanY.Mineta San Jose International Airport)
  66. Sarasota,Florida(Sarasota Bradenton International Airport)
  67. Seattle,Washington(Seattle-Tacoma International Airport)
  68. Tampa,Florida(Tampa International Airport)
  69. Tulsa,Oklahoma(Tulsa International Airport)
  70. Washington,District of Columbia(Ronald Reagan National Airport)
  71. Washington,District of Columbia(Washington Dulles International Airport)
  72. West Palm Beach,Florida(Palm Beach International Airport)

As you can see there are some very popular pick up locations included within the list. 13 of these locations are already guaranteed to the buyers of Hertz’s value brand (Advantage Rent A Car) however the other 16 will be open to tender, I would assume Sixt Rent A Car will be heavily involved in the bidding.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Finally The Deal Is Done Hertz Complete Deal To Purchase Dollar Thrifty

Hi all,

It’s official; finally Hertz have confirmed the purchase of Dtag (Dollar Thrifty) for  $87.50 per share in cash, Hertz have snapped up 99.6% of the shares.

Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mark P. Frissora said

In the 94-year history of Hertz, our employees and business partners have never been this excited. Over the past six years, we have competed successfully with only one global premium brand in place while our competitors have had multiple brands to work against us. Starting today, we now have two additional, popular brands to compete across multiple market segments, with plans to offer them to our many partners and customers. That’s why we are pleased to announce that the transaction is complete, and we look forward to working expeditiously with Dollar Thrifty to integrate the strengths of our two great companies.

Dollar Rent A Car tweeted

When we announced the deal had gone through on our facebook page within 15 min’s a facebooker raised concerns that they believed this would lead to a price increase.

So Hertz have a bit to prove to customers who are concerned that the deal could harm the consumer.

Here at usrentacar.co.uk we have been assured that this wont be the case but I guess only time will tell…

What are your thoughts?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

FTC Squeeze Hertz One Last Time Before Confirming Dollar Deal

Hi all,

So the FTC have finally given the green light for Hertz to complete its buyout of Dtag (Dollar Thrifty). The deal which I’ve been writing about for close to 2 years received FTC approval with a vote of 4-1 on Friday and mean’s Hertz will now become the second largest USA car hire company.

However the FTC who were rightly concerned about restriction of  competition  in the U.S. have asked for a few compromises before agreeing to the deal.

Advantage Rent A Car Sale

The main compromise was the sale of Hertz’s value product; Advantage Rent A Car to the organisation who currently own U-Save Car Rental and Rent A Wreck for  $16 million, half the sum that Hertz originally paid for it.

Although the diluting of one of Hertz’s brands was seen as a positive step, doubters still believed that this wasn’t going far enough, the main reason being cited was “can the Franchise Services of North America, Inc. (FSNA) compete with the likes of Avis/Budget and Enterprise?”

Airport Locations

Well no, they can’t really and one of the reasons is getting hold of airport locations. The FTC were also concerned that the Hertz Dollar deal would impact airports hugely with Hertz at some locations being represented by 3 well known brands.

So part of the agreement has seen Hertz agree to give up some of their prime airport locations  I was originally told it would be 15 or 16 locations but reports have now confirmed that Hertz  have agreed to give up 29 Dollar Thrifty locations.

16 of these airport locations will be sold to FSNA the other 13 locations will be sold to another party to be determined before the deal is finalised.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.

American consumers rent more than 50 million vehicles at airports nationwide each year, spending $11 billion, so this is a real pocketbook issue for everyday people. Today’s bipartisan action by the FTC will ensure that consumers are not forced to pay higher prices for rental cars when they travel.

As I have mentioned before the deal has concerned many as the car rental market alters from 4 competing firms to 3 with no other supplier really armed to even compete on an even scale.

Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch the only FTC member to vote no explained

I voted against acceptance of the consent decree because I found it inadequate to resolve the competitive concerns at several dozen other airports affected by the transaction. I would have instead voted to challenge the transaction because of the significant risk of post-merger coordinated interaction among the remaining competitors.

usrentacar.co.uk facebook community also felt the deal was problematic and voted narrowly against the deal in our online poll.

I guess only time will tell as the proposed deal is open to public comment until the 17th December.

What do you think?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

JD Power 2012 Rental Car Ratings

Hi all,

This is the 4th year we’ve cast our beady little eyes over the JD Power Rental Car satisfaction study. 

Now in its 17th year, the study measures overall domestic customer satisfaction with USA car rentals at airports by examining six factors (listed in order of importance): costs and fees; pick-up process; return process; rental car; shuttle bus/van; and reservation process.

Last year little known (in the UK) USA car hire supplier ACE Rent A Car walked away with the top award on the back of some very impressive customer services scores. Actually on the whole the car rental market’s customer service scores grew in 2011 and that trend has continued for 2012.

Overall satisfaction in 2012 averages 769 on a 1,000-point scale, up from 758 in 2011, and beats the record high of 767 that was set in 2006. Overall satisfaction in 2012 is driven by increases in scores across all factors except reservation process, which is down by one index point, compared to 2011.

Stuart Greif, vice president of the travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates said;

The rental car industry continues to step up its game, building on improvements in the rental car customer experience made over the past several years, while also benefiting from higher satisfaction levels with cost and fees relative to prior years, However, there still are tremendous opportunities to leverage technology to address customer pain points in the rental car experience. There is also an opportunity to make the most out of staff interactions with customers and raise customer satisfaction levels even higher.

So who actually won?

  1. Enterprise Rent A Car: 804
  2. National Car Rental: 788
  3. Alamo Rent A Car: 773
  4. Hertz: 771
  5. Avis Rent A Car: 766
  6. Budget Rent A Car: 753
  7. Dollar Rent A Car: 738
  8. ACE Rent A Car: 736
  9. Thrifty Car Rental: 733
  10. Advantage Rent A Car: 711
  11. Payless Rent A Car: 708
  12. Fox Rent A Car: 669

Congratulations to Enterprise Rent A Car and the whole Enterprise Company, who managed to win first, second and third place.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Christmas USA Car Hire Will Sell Out Quickly This Year

Hi all,

The summer peak period seems a long time ago now, USA car hire companies are now concentrating on the next big peak ; Christmas!

As I reported earlier this year, all the major car rental suppliers have already set domestic pricing to the extreme, to combat the perceived shortage ,  for example directly from the supplier a 7 seater minivan can cost almost a $1000 for a weeks hire!

77.7 Million people will travel in the USA over the holiday period; this includes the run up to Christmas, generally agreed as the 13th December until the New Year, the actual amount of people flying has been on a steady decline, so a large amount of these people will hire a vehicle.

Representatives of the major car rental suppliers are for once all in agreement that this year is definitely going to see a very strong domestic rental presence and this leaves international USA car rental customers in a bit of a tight situation.

Why?

As shown in my previous analysis of the U.S. pricing for Christmas, suppliers are going to make a lot more money providing car rental to U.S. driving licence holders than they are to the European market.

What does this mean?

Our suppliers are a business and not a charity, they will look to alter their fleeting to cater for the high priced local business rather than the international market, which will mean one of two things (or actually maybe both), firstly we are set to see a big price rise (Alamo have already issued two price hikes) or secondly our suppliers will begin to sell out.

What to do?

Although this will sound like a sales pitch, there really will be no great late deals, book now to avoid disappointment.

Remember the Christmas period is going to be busy! Really busy!

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Does The Hertz Takeover Of Dollar Rent A Car Have One More Twist In It?

Hi all,

I’m pretty sure in my entire life, including school, I have never written as much on one topic as I have about the Hertz buyout of Dtag (Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental) and just when I thought the material had dried up it looks like there could be one final twist in the saga.

The twist? Well, Hertz filed documents to extend the expiry date of its cash offer which was due to expire yesterday, the new expiry date is now November 5th 2012.

Reason’s cited for this in a few media publications are firstly that perhaps some Dollar share holders believe that they can get Hertz to go even further in their bid and perhaps even get $100 per share, unlikely in my opinion.

The second reason is the delay in getting FTC approval, Hertz must have been pretty confident that the deal would go through however I’m lead to believe that the FTC’s call on this deal is a lot closer than it first appeared.

Although Hertz have agreed to sell off their low cost brand Advantage Rent A Car, the FTC are still concerned that even by selling Advantage the potential buyer will still not be able to compete with the proposed big 3 (Hertz/Dollar/Thrifty, Enterprise, Alamo, National and Avis/Budget). The sale of Dollar/Thrifty will pretty much end consolidation of large USA car hire companies within Northern America so the FTC are not going to be rushed in to the decision.

It is believed that at present the FTC will agree 3/2 to approve the deal, however until the papers are signed could we be in for one last game ending twist?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Scott Thompson CEO of Dollar Thrifty’s 10 Key Points To Running A Successful Business

Hi all,

Back in 2008 if you’d said Dollar Rent A Car would be sold to Hertz for $87.5 a share people would have laughed at you,  Dtag (Dollar/Thrifty) were in a bad way, the were in default of their loan agreements, they had a share price of 97 cents and were headed towards a yearly net loss of  appropriately $350 million!!

So how did they turn it around? Well a lot of the praise lies with Scott Thompson who was made CEO after only 6 months of joining the company. Scott who had been part of a very successful fortune 500 company had actually retired back in 2005 but like most entrepreneurs became restless and initially joined Dollar as CFO.

As soon as Scott became CEO he was forced to make some very hard decisions he believed that the company had too many top level managers which was detrimental to the company so he quickly removed half of them.

He also looked closely at the profitability of each location and closed those locations that fell behind his expectations and also looked for new ways to sell ageing fleet.

His trickiest moves would come in convincing Wall Street to invest in the company and bringing in new car manufactures to help offer a competitive edge.

A few years on down to good leadership and very hard work Dollar Rent A Car is the jewel in the car hire crown, so much so that Hertz are willing to get rid of their own value product for a loss of $17 million to help capture the brand.

In a great article, found here, Scott Thompson reveals his 10 key points to running a successful business 

1. Realize that people are your greatest asset.

2. Understand where you have to go and how long you have to get there.

3. Remember the other side of risk is reward. Do not shy away from risk.

4. Focus on the substance of issues and ignore politics.

5. Trust each other.

6. Tell everyone inside and outside the company the absolute truth.

7. When you make mistakes, admit them, fix them and don’t look back.

8. Hire the best advisers.

9. Work hard while supporting each other during the ups and downs.

10. Make sure employees know they should not allow the CEO to do anything stupid.

When someone with a proven track record offers this kind of advise I would imagine you should pay attention.

regards,

James

 Florida car hire


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