Got A Car Hire Question? We’ve Got Answers

Hi all,

Today I’m continuing to highlight some of the great new features available to users of the new usrentacar.co.uk website, yesterday we took a closer look at our car hire usa review engine which offers customer a verified look at how our suppliers perform upon collection.

One of the main overhauls to the website concerned our faq section. We understand that the nature of car rental brings a lot of questions with it and having access to answers makes the whole experience run a lot smoother. Which is why we went back to the drawing board and started again.

Problem

We already had a database of over 200 unique questions asked by our customers which were available online however from customer feedback we found that not everyone was using our old faq engine, we also found that we had no way of pushing people toward the questions we knew were most popular.

Solution

So this is what we’ve come up with.

  • The FAQ engine is now accessible directly from the homepage.
  • We’ve implemented our own “thumbs up” system which will rank our FAQ’s in order of importance. It works like this; if you’ve had a question that’s been answered via our FAQ system and you’re happy with the answer, give it a thumbs up by clicking on the thumb. The amount of votes a question has dictates where its positioned on our website. The thinking behind it is that the most voted for question will also be the question most people are searching for and therefore will be displayed more prominently on the site.
  • We’ve also added a social element to our FAQ’s that not only allow users to comment and perhaps ask further questions but to also book mark the question for future reference.

 

Feel free to have a good look around our faq sectionhttp://www.usrentacar.co.uk/faqs.aspx and remember to give a “thumbs up” to any question you feel could help new users.

As always I’d love any feedback or comments.

Regards,

James,

 Florida car hire

Reviews, Car Types and Wait Times

Hi all,

Since 2006 usrentacar.co.uk have been asking our customers to provide post rental reviews regarding the suppliers they have just used. We ask our customers to rate car hire companies such as Alamo Rent A Car, Budget Rent A Car and Dollar Rent A Car on car quality, pick up service and value for money.

We displayed these findings on our results page to give customers an idea of the level of service they will receive from each supplier at that specific location. However after talking to customers we discovered that a fair few were unaware that we offered this.

So with the launch of the new website we took the opportunity to create our very own car hire review engine, users can now enter the pick up location they are collecting from plus the supplier they are interested in (or review all suppliers) and the vehicle they are looking to hire (or review all vehicles) and bring back specific reviews verified by usrentacar.co.uk.

Some of the key features displayed in my opinion are

  1. Customer review - A great insight in to how our customers have found the service.
  2. Make & Model – As you probably know if you’re a regular reader of our blog, none of our suppliers will guarantee make or model of the vehicle you hire, you are booking a category rather than the specific vehicle. However this field allows you to see what past customers have collected which will help you in planning your own luggage and seating requirements.
  3. Wait Times – Provided via our iPhone and Android app’s gives you an idea of the average amount of time it takes to collect your vehicle from each supplier.

Feel free to have a search around, remember to give reviews a thumbs up if you’ve found them useful.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

We’ve Made It Even Easier For Young Drivers

Hi all,

The day after the big launch and we’ve finally exhaled! The usual and expected tiny bugs have all but been ironed out (some users may have to delete their cache to take advantage of the new site) and now I have some time to post about some of the new features available starting with the improvements for young drivers.

With the old usrentacar site young drivers had to select the gold rate and then add the young drivers policy to your basket in the additional extra’s section. Although thousands of young drivers actioned this without any problems we’ve been looking for a way to smooth out the process to reduced the fact finding part of USA car hire for under 25′s and I’m pretty sure we’ve done that.

How it works now

It couldn’t be easier, enter your pick up details in to our booking engine on the usrentacar.co.uk homepage, remember to add the age of the young driver as they have to be the lead driver of the vehicle.

Our search results will now only bring back suppliers who offer  the young drivers package*. No adding extra insurances need to be added.

All you have to do then is follow the on screen instructions…

We hope this makes the experience a whole lot easier for our young friends and continue our excellent service to young drivers.

Let us know what you think?

regards,

James,

usrentacar.co.uk

Welcome To The New Look usrentacar.co.uk

Hi all,

Welcome to the new look usrentacar.co.uk website, we hope you like it; many hours have gone in to making this latest upgrade the very best, our aim was to add the very latest design trends with the very best tech available to us.

We encourage constructive feedback, so if you have anything you’d like to add please feel free to comment below or email me at jamest@usrentacar.co.uk.

Today’s post will simply highlight some of the major new features we’re going to introduce and briefly explain how they work and our thinking behind them.

Homepage

Our homepage has undergone a massive change, although our corporate colours remain the same the look between the sites couldn’t be more different.

The first change occurs in the header (top) where we have embed social book marking options with facebook, twitter and google+. Please feel free to click on them to express you “liking” of the new design.

Below this we have added quick links to log in to your usrentacar account either using your unique usrentacar.co.uk account or via facebook connect. We have also added quick contact detail dynamic drop downs showing our contact telephone number including working hours and contact email addresses.

Also you will notice the return of our live chat facility, this feature has made a comeback purely on the strength of customer feedback, and through our facebook page we discovered this option was a popular feature on previous designs.

We’ve added a large image based gallery where our latest deal and special offers will be displayed more clearly.

In the booking engine we’ve added a new filter which allows you to pick the vehicle type you would like a quote on, previous we returned all vehicles, which some found annoying.

Below the engine we’ve added a new social element showcasing our facebook, twitter, google+ and pinterest account, please feel free to get involved.

Blog

We’ve adde d a new image based blog section, which will display our last 5 posts and allow you to visit them quickly, our blog at present houses over 500 unique posts full of handy USA car hire tips.

Review

usrentacar.co.uk has 10’s of thousands of car rental reviews dating back to 2006, until now these reviews have been buried within our results page, our latest release brings these reviews to the forefront, displaying the last 5 reviews left by our customers either via our usrentacar voucher app or our after care emails.

We’ve also created a stand alone review engine which can be accessed from our homepage so you can view any USA location and read real reviews from real people.

FAQ’s

Car hire in the USA can be confusing if you’ve never done it before, hey it can be confusing even if you’ve done it 20 times. We have a database of over 200 questions and answers which can now be accessed directly from our homepage, however the best part is that you the customer can rank the question you’ve read by clicking on the thumbs up icon, this way the questions that are most important to our users will rank the highest.

The results page

The results page has also been given a massive overhaul, out have gone some of the “bells and whistles” in favour of a simpler, quicker page. You can still filter your results or edit your hire details by using the tab at the top of the page but by removing the side filters we now have the space to offer a more transparent pricing structure, showing exactly what is included in each package, we’ve also decided to rename the packages we offer, settling on Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Taking advantage of the data produced via our iPhone and Android app we’ve added a wait time feature showing the average time our customers have queued to collect their car hire, also within this information column we’ve also added a choice product alert for those suppliers that allow you to select from a range of vehicle instead of having a vehicle allocated.

Sharing your car hire quote has received a revamp, the additional features allow you to post your quote directly to your facebook timeline or twitter feed with a direct link back to your search.

The rest of the site’s functionality is largely unchanged but has received a bit of visual maintenance and bookings can be completed by connecting via facebook.

What do you think of the new design?

Anything we’ve missed?

 

Regards,

James

 

Sneak Preview Of The New usrentacar.co.uk Website

Hi all,

Tomorrow should see the long anticipated (by me at least) launch of the new usrentacar.co.uk redesigned website.

It feels like we’ve been working on this for years, in reality its probably about 8 months. We have a ton of new features to launch and even the return of an old favourite!

I think its safe to say the new design will continue our reputation of being at the top of the car hire tree when it comes to social, technology and innovation.

The image above is a snap shot of the new homepage, its only a little teaser but I’d love to know what your first impressions are?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Karl Hendrie Talks usrentacar.co.uk Redesign

Hi all,

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts here at usrentacar we are in the process of redesigning our website, the last redesign took place in November 2009 so a fresh look is slightly overdue.

I managed to grab a couple of minutes with usrentacar.co.uk CTO, Karl Hendrie to ask him about the challenges of redesigning the site.

James: Hi Karl, you’ve been talking about redesigning the site for quite a while , can you tell me why its taken so long?

Karl: We aren’t in the habit of rushing in to major re-designs or changing things for the sake of change, in the past year we have quietly tried out different systems and layouts to find something we are not only happy with but also raises the bar.

J: What kind of research did you do when deciding on the way the redesign would go?

K: Our research never really stops, we are always gathering design and tech features. With this redesign we asked existing customers their opinion of any features they would like to see and importantly the features they use already, we are actually bringing back one feature that our customer’s stated they missed.

J: Can you tell me about some of the challenges you have faced with the redesign?

K: The most challenging part for me was deciding what stayed and what didn’t. We had to really sit down and think about what worked on the site and what was really just for show. Some of the tech I was most proud of in the last redesign is being completely removed.

J: What part are you most happy with?

K: I’m very happy with the look of the new site, its a lot cleaner than previous incarnations and has a modern feel. I’m also excited about the potential of embedding a social culture within the site.

J: Thanks for your time Karl, when can we expect to see the new site rolled out.

K: No problem James, I think the new site could be on course for a roll out in the week commencing the 26/03/12.

So some time this week you can expect to see a new style usrentacar site, as always our friends on facebook will be the first to see it (www.facebook.com/usrentacar.co.uk).

regards,

James,

 car hire USA

Why The Travel Industry Should Use Pinterest.com

Hi,

You can be forgiven for not having heard of the new social website on the block, as its still invite only however pinterest.com for me is going to be huge for the travel industry and here’s why…

As described on their website

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Traffic

In the last 6 months visits to Pinterest have risen 4000%, according to TNW in one week in December they received over 11 million unique visitors. Remember they have achieved all this despite being invitation only.

Some companies are reporting greater referral traffic from Pinterest than facebook.

SEO

Search Engine Land also points out that Pinterest is a great way to improve your search engine optimisation as it allows you to back link to your own site.

Viral

The buzz word of marketeers everywhere, viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increased brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives. A good example of Viral marketing was the Cadbury’s Chocolate’s, Gorilla advert, which was popular on facebook and youtube.

Pinterest’s users are loyal but more importantly, active, which increases the chance for your campaign to go viral their recent additional of pinning to facebooks timeline also adds to the viral opportunities.

Engagement

Companies should take every opportunity they can to engage with their customers, Pinterest offers a unique and simple way to interact.

We interacted with more customers in the first week on Pinterest than we did compared to the first week on twitter or facebook.

Pinterest also allows users to re-pin or even comment on the information  you provide, users don’t have to be following you or “like” you.

Shop

Remember when there were tons of independent travel agents on the high street, windows full of holiday offers. Well Pinterest can be that shop window, pin a picture of your holiday, your tour or your car hire offer and add a price to it.

but most importantly…  

Visual

Selling travel is a very visual experience, hence the use of brochures and companies investing heavily on image based websites for example; four season’s recently spent $18 million on their new website.

Pinterest allows companies to create a board based on inspiring images, these images should promote your destination, tour or even car hire.

Do customers react more to an image or to text?

Can an image say more that words?

For me, facebook, google plus and twitter are the go to sites for companies committed to social media, however I think Pinterest is best suited to travel, I for one wont be surprised when a whole host of companies get on board.

You can visit the usrentacar Pinterest board here, for those of you who aren’t on Pinterest yet, but are interested, we still have some invitations left, see our previous post.

regards,

Gavin

 car hire USA

usrentacar.co.uk on Pinterest

Hi all,

Here at usrentacar.co.uk we like to stay on the cutting edge of social media, so today we will begin to trial the use of Pinterest.

Pinterest is a new social website based around the “pinning” of images and items of interest to your own custom notice board.

Although Pinterest is still in beta (invitation only) it has already exceeded 6 Million users.

We will use our pinterest account to “pin” items we think will be of interest; including pictures of car’s collected by our customers, great theme park info or pic’s and anything we think is inspiring or just cool.

You can follow us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/usrentacar/ (follow us and we’ll follow back).

If you haven’t got a pinterest account yet we will send invitation to the first 50 users to either post their booking reference number below or on our facebook account, or email me at jamest@usrentacar.co.uk.

regards,

James,

2012 and usrentacar.co.uk

Hi all,

Happy New Year… I hope 2012 brings you much joy and happiness. A few days off has me feeling refreshed and ready for what we hope is a busy 2012. 

Today’s post is about what you can expect from usrentacar.co.uk in 2012.

Re-design

It’s probably about half a year late, but we are in the process of coming up with new concepts for usrentacar.co.uk. The site is still fresh and relevant compared to other car hire USA sites however we like to be at the forefront and a new design will again do that.

We are hoping for a launch in quarter 2, we are also looking to replace some of the existing functionality and the key brief is truly less is more… I’m hoping I can convince the guys that the blog could also do with a little TLC.

Tickets

Last year we became the first car rental company to sign exclusive reseller deals with SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Universal Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida, in 2011 we tested the water slightly and learned as much as we could about this area of the industry. 2012 see’s the first year of our new start up, Orlando Attraction Tickets a site dedicated to the Orlando Theme Parks.

We are hoping for big things in 2012 for our new project and early signs have been very positive.

New Deals

I have to be slightly cryptic here I’m afraid as the pen has not been officaily put to paper, but I think we are about to offer something completely new to the car rental broker industry… Will be interesting to see if we can change a culture!

I’ll keep you updated on further developments and hopefully a few sneak peak screen shots of the new design.

If there are any features you’d like brought back or you have something you’d like to see added please let us know below.

regards,

James,

usrentacar.co.uk

Introducing Orlando Attraction Tickets

Hi all,

As I’m sure most of you are aware, this year we have introduced Florida Attraction Tickets to our site. These have been available during the car rental booking process or bookable over the phone via our reservations department on 0845 226 8523.

However we felt that this was limiting us to the amount of customers we could offer our services too and wasn’t the easiest experience for our customers.

If you “like” us on facebook, then you guys have known since Monday, if you’ve signed up to our newsletter then you found out Tuesday, however today we are officially happy to announce the unveiling of our new website www.orlandoattractiontickets.co.uk

As you can see and probably guess from the name, Orlando Attraction Tickets is a dedicated theme park ticket site aimed at offering customers the best tickets at the lowest prices.

What Orlando Attraction Tickets Offers

  • We don’t charge Credit or Debit Card Fee’s.
  • We offer a free delivery service.
  • We have access to exclusive Tickets not available at the gate.
  • We have incorporated a deposit scheme in to the site with the balance due 8 weeks prior to departure, which allows our customers to secure their tickets or reservations without the worry of paying large amounts upfront.
  • Reviews supplied by actual customers who have visited the parks and used the tickets.

Feel free to take a look round the site, please let me know what you think of it.

regards,

James


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