Dollar Rent A Car Alter Fuel Policy Again..But For The Better

Hi all,

Back in 2012 Dollar Rent  A Car were one of the only suppliers that requiredpetrol pump customers on our Silver rate to pre-purchase their fuel upon arrival. Customer’s rightly didn’t like this as airport petrol prices can be more expensive than from a station.

Therefore after a lot of badgering from ourselves, they amended their fuel policy and introduced a new ruling in August. This fuel policy required the customer to purchase the prepaid fuel from the supplier as usual however the customer could receive a full refund if they produced proof of a receipt from a petrol station within 10 miles of the airport showing the car to be refuelled fully.

Customers reacted warmly to this new policy and its been running successfully for just under half a year but both ourselves and Dollar weren’t totally satisfied. With 2014 approaching and Hertz very firmly in the driving seat (excuse pun) Dollar Rent A Car took another look at their petrol policy and have decided to revise it once again. This time I think they’ve got it spot on!

So as of the 01/01/2014, any customer collecting a Dollar Rent A Car vehicle booked with us, on our silver rate will not be required to pre-purchase their first tank of fuel on pick up. The vehicle will be collected with a full tank of petrol (or close to full) and the vehicle must then be returned at the same level. Failure to return the vehicle at the same level will result in a charge to your card for the fuel and a small service surcharge.

The prepaid fuel option locally will still be made available to customers and Dollar point out that the prepaid option does have its benefits;

  • Saves time upon return
  • All charges on one receipt
  • No having to stop to purchase gas on return

Here at U.S. Rent A Car we’re just happy that Dollar have introduced a much easier and customer friendly way to petrol. We definitely believe this has been influenced by Hertz and hope this continues.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

Check Out The New Redesign For The Ford Mustang

Hi all,

A very quick and not at all scientific poll of people in my office has just confirmed that the Ford Mustang is the vehicle we’d most like to drive route 66 in.

Yesterday Ford announced the Sixth Generation version of the Ford Mustang 50 years since its original debut. The 2015 model has been redesigned with the  old 1969 Mustang model in mind.

ford mustang 2015

It will have a v8 engine and with options to  upgrade the basic model  including valve train and cylinder heads that bring 420 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.

Here’s Fords Mustang Video

What do you think of the new Ford Mustang 2015?

Regards,

James

 car hire USA

Car Hire USA Market Hits Another Record Year

Hi all,

Our good friends at Auto Rental News have just released their annual look at the Car Hire USA market. I always find these statistics interesting and this year even more so, as it gives us our first look at how Avis Budget have done with their acquisitions of Payless and Zipcar and of course  the new Hertz Dollar Thrifty brand.

2013 has definitely been a buoyant one for the car rental industry, total revenue for the year is estimated to hit $24.546 billion, a 3.9% increase year on year. The revenue increase could be put down to a gradual increase in fleet which has risen to  1.95 million, a 4.8% increase over the average fleet size in 2012.

Chris Brown, Executive Editor said;

The car rental industry in America is on solid footing. While revenues have reached an all-time high, RPU remains robust, even in the face of rising new car costs and softening used car values.

Here are the stat’s;

car rental market

As you can see privately owned Enterprise who also operate the Alamo and National brands have almost 1 Million cars in operation which easily makes them the number 1 car rental company in America. These stat’s also show how important it was for Hertz to purchase Dollar Thrifty to cement their position as the number 2 company ahead of Avis Budget.

Another thing these stat’s highlight is the huge gulf between the top 3 car rental companies in the U.S. and everybody else… the number 4 spot is taken by Advantage Rent A Car, a company who has recently filed for bankruptcy!

For me the USA car hire market is in need of deeper competition and whoever gets Advantage Rent A Car could possibly mount a challenge given time.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

U.S. Public Holidays 2014

Hi all,

Just a very quick post to list 2014 public holidays in the U.S. We posted a Holidayssimilar blog for 2013 and it proved to be very popular so hopefully some of you will find it interesting.

This year we’ve bulked out the list with holidays specific to states and included the day the holiday falls upon.

As of 2012, there are eleven federal holidays in the United States, ten annual holidays and one quadrennial holiday (Inauguration Day). Pursuant to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 (effective 1971), official holidays are observed on a Monday, except for New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

 

Date Day Holiday Federal Holiday? State
1 January Wednesday New Year’s Day Yes National
20 January Monday Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr Yes National except Rhode Island
4 February Tuesday Rosa Parks Day No Ohio
12 February Wednesday Lincoln’s Birthday No Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York
15 February Saturday Susan B. Anthony Day No Florida, Wisconsin
17 February Monday Washington’s Birthday / Presidents Day Yes National except Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, & Wisconsin
31 March Monday César Chávez Day No California, Colorado (optional), Texas (optional)
16 April Wednesday Emancipation Day No District of Columbia
18 April Friday Good Friday No Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas,
21 April Monday Patriots’ Day No Maine, Massachusetts
26 April Saturday Confederate Memorial Day No Georgia
28 April Monday Confederate Memorial Day No Alabama
28 April Monday Confederate Memorial Day No Mississippi
10 May Saturday Confederate Memorial Day No South Carolina
26 May Monday Memorial Day Yes National
2 June Monday Jefferson Davis Day No Alabama
4 July Friday Independence Day Yes National
1 September Monday Labor Day Yes National
13 October Monday Columbus Day Yes National except Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, & Wyoming
11 November Tuesday Veterans Day Yes National
27 November Thursday Thanksgiving Day Yes National
28 November Friday Day after Thanksgiving No California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, & West Virginia
28 November Friday Native American Heritage Day No Maryland
28 November Friday Washington’s Birthday No New Mexico
28 November Friday Family Day No Nevada
28 November Friday Lincoln’s Birthday No Indiana
24 December Wednesday Washington’s Birthday No Georgia, Indiana
24 December Wednesday Christmas Eve No Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, ¶ Wisconsin
25 December Thursday Christmas Day Yes National
26 December Friday Day after Christmas No Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas
31 December Wednesday New Year’s Eve No Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin

Some of the holidays we’ve posted are specific to individual states, mostly it will mean a complete shutdown of local services for that day as Americans spend time with their families.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

The Future Of Advantage Rent A Car

Morning all,

In 2012 the Hertz Dollar Thrifty deal provided me with literally 100′s of posts advantagerentacaras the deal, which was became part soap opera, was scrutinised by the FTC. The issue everyone had, including myself,  was that by allowing this deal to go through it would mean that just 3 companies controlled 96% of the market.

What the FTC decided was that Hertz would first have to sell off their low cost brand, Advantage Rent  A Car which they’d purchased the year before, the FTC wanted this brand to be sold off to help kick start another company to compete with the likes of Alamo, Budget and Dollar.

Advantage Rent A Car was sold off to the Franchise Services of North America who own brands such a U-Save and Rent A Wreck. The Hertz Dollar Thrifty deal went through and we all sat back to see what would happen.

What has actually happened is exactly what a lot of people feared. Advantage Rent A Car filled for bankruptcy and it looks like the only option is for someone to purchase them.

Who might buy them?

Back in June, Richard Branson penned a letter enquiring about the option to purchase Advantage Rent  A Car, I would imagine if he was interested we’d see a pretty quick rebrand to Virgin Car Rental. This acquisition makes some sense as it would tie in nicely with their other travel interests.

Sixt Rent A Car the new kids on the U.S. block and could possibly do with some of the key airport locations that Advantage currently have.

Hertz, not sure legally where this stands but I’ve heard a few rumblings that Hertz may have enquired about buying back their brand. As some of the debt that Advantage hold is actually owed to Hertz this might place them in pole position but surely the FTC would block this?

Whatever happens I’m hoping that the Advantage brand lives to fight another day and helps to add more competition in the market place.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

5 Things To Make USA Car Hire Perfect

Hi all,

Being a company that specialises in providing Car hire in the USA is a tricky perfectthing logistically, not only do you have to be competitive, have great locations and purchase the correct amount of vehicles (not supplier wants cars sitting around) you also have to provide great customer service.

Today’s post is about 5 things I think customer want that would make the perfect car rental supplier.

Pricing

The old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true in car rental. I think customers would pay a little more if they were guaranteed a higher level of service. If car rental company A is £40.00 more expensive than car rental company B than I think its only fair that the customer gets £40.00 worth of better service.

Makes and Models

We can never guarantee make or model of  the vehicles our suppliers provide, they buy from a selection of manufactures and therefore they can differ location to location. This has always been the case.

What the suppliers could do though, is provide more than one make or model that are likely to fall into that category to give the customer a wider idea of the likely model they will get. It would be pretty easy to manage, as the supplier will already have this information stored within their systems.

The advantages are pretty clear, the customer is able to select the correct vehicle to suit their needs and for the supplier it adds a opaque quality that is missing.

Quicker Queues

Pet peeve for everybody, Queuing!!!

It really isn’t that hard to speed this section up, we live in a word of high speed wifi. I recently wrote a post about how I would improve that car rental office, if we have to queue at least make it interesting and above all quick!

Completely Eliminate Hard Sell

Although hard sell tactics are very rare, just that fact that a small minority of staff do this leaves a very bad taste in customers mouths and promotes a negative vibe towards collection.

We’ve always been a big supporter of rewarding staff based on customer services instead of sales. Is it ever worth selling a customer something they don’t require and losing them forever?

Open Up

At the moment we (U.S. Rent A Car) have access to certain parts of the suppliers inventory and booking process. It would make things a lot easier if the supplier opened up more of their information to us. For example Rental Agreements, in this example if we had access to this information after the customer had signed we could make them aware of any additional charges that were due. It would also speed up customer service queries and lighten the workload for the suppliers CS team.

These are just a few basic idea’s on how to improve the car rental experience. I’d love to hear what you think and if you have any ideas of your own?

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

Hertz Dollar Thrifty To Introduce Waterless Car Wash

Hi all,

I know this sounds like an April fools gag but Hertz have developed technologyhertzwaterlesscarwash that they will look to roll out to 220 of its car hire USA locations that will greatly reduce its use of water in the maintenance of its fleet.

Hertz have hooked up with Green Team Partners LLC a company devoted to tackling problems with water conservation to  develop a non-toxic, biodegradable and hyper-concentrated waterless car wash formula and dispenser.

Hertz Chairman and CEO Mark Frissora said;

Managing one of the largest car rental fleets in the world requires a significant amount of car washing. Moving to a waterless car wash system is another innovative way Hertz is addressing both its sustainability and business needs.

Max Krumer, president of Green Team Partners added;

We were very excited to bring our processes and products to Hertz and even more thrilled when Hertz adopted our waterless detailer program for its fleet. To see a large organization put such great emphasis on going green and investing in sustainability efforts is amazing, and we’re glad to be part of Hertz’s efforts.

How does it work?

Car’s can be washed with 6 to 8 ounces of the new environmentally friendly, fully biodegradable solution. Once the solution is sprayed onto the car, the specially formulated molecules lift dirt particles from the car’s paint. It takes approximately 8 minutes to complete the process and will save 130 million gallons of car-wash water annually.

Impressive stuff from Hertz, granted not the most exciting post I’ve ever written but I thought it was important to feature car rental companies trying to counterbalance their global footprint.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

Nearest Florida Car Hire Locations To The Theme Parks

Hi all,

We get it, you’ve just spent 9 hours on a flight, you’re tired, you don’t want to queue for your hire car and then drive the 30 mins or so to your accommodation! But what you do understand is that to really get the most out of your Florida holiday you need the flexibility a car gives you.

Don’t fear you don’t have to return to the airport, our suppliers offer numerous downtown or city locations where you can collect your vehicle, granted they don’t hold the same amount of fleet as an airport location but if you pre-book your Florida car hire then vehicle will be there waiting for you.

Today’s post will detail the nearest pick up locations to the main Orlando Theme Parks.

Magic Kingdom (1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830)

disney car rental

The closest office to Disney’s Magic Kingdom is with Alamo Rent A Car and is their Disney Car Care location which is approximately 7 mins away.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure (6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819)

universal car rental

The first location you can see pinned in blue and yellow is the Alamo locations Four Points By Sheraton – 5905 International Drive, Orlando, florida it is approximately 7 mins away by taxi. The second location is a Dollar Rent A Car office, International Palms Resort, 6515 International Drive, Orlando depicted by the red and blue pin this location is 6 minutes away by taxi.

SeaWorld Orlando (7007 SeaWorld Dr, Orlando, FL 32821, United States)

seaworld car hire

The closest office to SeaWorld Orlando is actually the Dollar Rent A Car location that was also nearest to Universal Studios, International Palms Resort, 6515 International Drive, Orlando which is 10 minutes aways by taxi.

The estimated distances are taken from google maps and if we add more suppliers these nearest locations could alter if so I will post again.

Kind regards.

James

 car hire USA

The Last 5 100% Car Hire USA Reviews

Hi all,

It’s a busy time of year here at U.S. Rent A Car, we’re in full negotiations mode reviewswith all our suppliers and a few new one’s. The feeling here is that 2014 is going to be a busy one and most of the suppliers are speaking about next year in very positive terms, which makes a nice change after the 7 or so years.

We’re working on a few new things ourselves, we’ve just signed off a new design for our specialist Florida Car Hire site which when completed will look pretty impressive, we’re talking about a redesign for usrentacar.co.uk which we may start work on in quarter 2 of 2014 and we may well open a few dedicated website for other global markets.

With car rental fully on our minds I thought I’d display a few positive reviews about the service being offered by our current suppliers. The reviews below are the last 5 100% reviews received by ourselves, they are all based on pick up’s in November 2013.

Mr A Hardie collected from Sixt Rent A Car out of  Orlando International Airport.

Quality vehicles at an economical price

Mr S Lydall collected with Alamo Rent A Car from their Disney Car Care location.

Picked up from Disney car care centre. Never any pressure selling from there, and they send a van to collect you. Dropped off at the Dolphin which took minutes and was handy for where we were going next. Car was a good size for two of us and was very clean.

Mr W Statham collected from Dollar Rent A Car our of Las Vegas International Airport.

Having shopped around this was the first time we used this website,it wasn’t until we collected our vehicles that we could see the quality of the cars we had booked,we had an excellent experience at the check in desk the staff were very helpful and friendly, Good value for money much cheaper than using travel agents for vehicle hire. Would use again and would certainly recommend to friends

Mr C Van Kleef collected with Dollar Rent A Car from their Kissimmee downtown location.

exellent!

Mr D Ward picked up with Thrifty Car Rental from Orlando International Airport.

Excellent staff at the arrivals desk. Paperwork completed very quickly, pre paid for the fuel which was as cheap if not cheaper than outside the airport. New model car with all the usual refinements on. On returning the car it was again quick completion of the paperwork by the friendly staff.Would certainly use usrentacar on our next visit to Florida.

I love reading 100% reviews, it makes me smile its exactly how we think every car rental should go.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

How I Would Change The Car Hire USA Pick Up Process

Hi all,

Real innovation in car rental is very similar to the Hare and Tortoise tale, car rental futurehowever in this metaphor the Tortoise never actually finishes the race. In other words its slow. We see some companies start to sell new products like GPS units and recently tablets but real innovation is very rare.

Most car hire USA companies point to their websites for innovation but for me the majority are missing a trick by not reinventing the pick up location. How and where the customer collects their vehicle from hasn’t changed in decades, its the usual, turn up at a desk in the airport or off airport, get in the queue, stand there until its your go.

When we speak to our customers or read their reviews the number one gripe is queuing. Most expect a slight queue but after sitting on a plane for 8 hours a car rental queue of 20 minutes can feel like 20 hours…

How I would change the pick up location

Now this wouldn’t work for every location, but for some of the larger offices it would leave a lasting impression. Abandon the queue system as we know!

Yep I know it sounds impossible but here’s what I’m thinking, at Disney they operate something called a FastPass system, this system allows for virtual queuing, basically you run your ticket through a machine and it gives you a time slot to return the ride, giving you the freedom to explore the rest of the park, eliminating the need to queue.

Rental car companies could operate this similar to a number at a deli counter, freeing up the customer to explore. At the same time you could issue rental agreements so the customer has time to fully read and understand their terms, you could offer this online to match rental agreement to tour market.

But what’s to explore at a car rental location?

Well this is where locations need to think outside the box a little, car rental companies are not solely reliant upon the initial hire fee, they offer additional extra’s like Sat Nav’s, tablets and additional insurances, why couldn’t they display these in a kind of shop environment, allowing customers to browse these add on’s without the need for hard sell?

Why not give customers safe access to the car parks where the suppliers could show off some of their fleet including specific spec in a way that might tempt the waiting customer in to upgrading or at least enquiring about it?

I’ve heard of a few locations, mainly Hertz ran which offer customer the chance to charge up their phones etc at charging stations. I think this is a great idea and goes that little bit further to adding goodwill.

An area where the kids could play or even a shop where the supplier could sell car related items like maps, driving gloves that sort of thing.

When you’re up

When you’re number is up or you mobile is buzzed to let you know its time to collect your rental, you could easily take anything you’ve decided to purchase up with you, which is scanned on to your rental agreement. Seems pretty easy.

With USA car rental dominated by just 3 companies its time for 1 of them to step up and offer the customer something totally different.

Kind regards,

James
 car hire USA


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