An Interview With Frank Williams Of usrentacar.co.uk

Hi all,

Yesterday I managed to grab 30 mins with usrentacar.co.uk ideas man, Frank Williams, at our offices in Farnborugh.

Frank Williams has been at usrentacar.co.uk since 2004, he has pretty much worked in the car rental sector all his professional life, starting from reservations agent and swiftly moving up to management roles. I can easily say he has forgotten more about car hire than I’ll ever know.

At present he is Business Development Director at usrentacar.co.uk, however this year you may well have spoken to him on the phone, as he explains below whilst describing his jack of all trades job role.

Describing my job role is pretty hard at the moment. I made a conscious decision at the end on 2010 to spend a lot more time on the shop floor, getting stuck in, taking customer calls, listening to their feedback. I’ve learnt over time and experience that detaching yourself from the basics is recipe for disaster. I make it my general rule to spend at least 1 day a week on the res floor.

Frank went on to add.

My main job role though is to grow the business through technology and my main focus at present has been the usrentacar voucher app.

usrentacar.co.uk released its first app for the iPhone in April 2011, and to date has had over 1000 downloads, which prompted the release of a dedicated Android app in June.

The idea of the voucher app came about in one of our brain storming sessions.

The in joke regarding these brain storming sessions is that our MD likes to do them at the gym, somewhere that Frank would rather not be.

We wanted to produce an app that would actually be useful for customers and that wasn’t “all about the sale”. The idea of being able to show your phone instead of printing off 4 or 5 page vouchers appealed to us, but as with most things in car rental getting car hire suppliers to agree and recognise the idea took almost 5 months!

The speed in which car rental embraces technology is a bit of a bug bear for Frank.

Yes, it is slightly frustrating when you see the speed in which other industries grasp new concepts to that of car rental. usrentacar.co.uk was the first to integrate customer reviews in to their result pages and the first to integrate the facebook like button.

So what about now, are you up to anything exciting at the moment?

Oh yes, I’ve got my hands very full at the moment with three major projects. I can only really talk about two of them though. The first is an update to the usrentacar iPhone app which we are hoping to release in the next month, the release will see a brand new feature which I’m very excited about. We very much see mobile as the future of car rental and want to be at the forefront of any advancement.

The second is the overdue redesign of usrentacar.co.uk. I’m pretty much at the planning stage at the moment. I’ve got a lot of new idea’s I’d like to implement and I’m also keen to remove some of the features we experimented within the last update, that have quite worked out.

The third?

Ha! The third is a brand new business, which I’m very excited about. Can’t tell you anything at the moment but we’re hoping to launch in beta at the end of this month….

So by all accounts some very exciting developments to come. You can download usrentacar.co.uk voucher app free of charge by clicking here.

regards,

James,

 Florida car hire

Will They Try And Sell Me Something Extra?

Hi all,

Today’s post covers our friends on the desks. The guys and girls of Alamo, Budget and Dollar who process your orders locally and provide you with your first taste of American customer service.

Commission

Now the first thing to remember is that these guys all work on commission, they are generally paid a small basic wage and boost this by earning commission on the optional extras they sell locally, for example upgrades, GPS systems, advanced RoadSide assistance and Toll Passes.

They are obviously within there rights to offer you these extra’s, you are not obligated to take them and should never feel bullied in to accepting them.

Tip: Both Alamo and Dollar Rent A Car offer a 24 hours satisfaction guarentee on anything purchased locally. So if after upgrading or adding something locally you have a touch of buyers remorse, simply call the number provided on the documentation given to you at the time of rental and these charges will be removed.

Scare Tactics

Now the vast majority of the rental staff are excellent and are very much focused on customer services, as is the American way.

However, one bad apple can spoil the bunch and although I have not heard of these type of tactics being deployed to our customers I have read of other car rental staff operating some of the practises described below.

Advanced RoadSide assistance

We have covered this one on a recent blog, remember your rental comes with basic roadside assistance this covers you for mechanical failure. The reservations staff locally may try to sell you advanced roadside assistance which covers instances such as losing your keys, running out of petrol and a lock out service.

You do not need this extra to rent the vehicle, I have heard of instances of hard sell where customer have been told they must have this extra to rent the vehicle! This is not true.

Vehicle Upgrades

Vehicle upgrades are the no. 1 way for rental operatives to earn additional commission. Now as above, most of the guys and girls will be very upfront about the total cost of your upgrade and you will be fully aware of the total amount.

However, again not through our suppliers; but I have heard of instances of customers complaining that the agent locally did not make it clear that the upgrade was per day, for example “the cost of your upgrade is $40″ when the actual cost is $40 per day.

Personal Accident Insurance

Not as commonly sold as in the past, this optional extra served the same purpose as your own Travel Insurance.

Toll Pass

One of the latest optional extra to be offered locally is the Toll Pass also called SunPass, Ezpass or pass 24. This pass allows you to take advantage of the special automated lanes and speeds up your drive.

Florida is slowly phasing out all manned toll booths but until then it is worth bearing in mind that dependant upon where you are going in Florida you may only come across one or two booths.

The Reality

Customer complaints regarding our suppliers are below the industry standard of 2% so the majority of the time they are doing things correctly. The idea of this post is to help raise awareness and perhaps arm you with a little knowledge and not to scare you. Most of the guys on the desks do a great job and your own car hire usa reviews support this.

Key Points

  • Make sure you know exactly what is included in your rental – http://www.usrentacar.co.uk/whatsincluded.aspx
  • Make sure you read and fully understand the rental agreement you sign locally.
  • Double check your rental agreement and contact the supplier if you require clarification.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

James

USA Car Hire Rental Agreements Go Digital

Hi all,

When you collect your vehicle from our suppliers locally you will be asked to sign a rental agreement. The rental agreement is a legally binding contract between you and the supplier which outlines everything that is included plus any additional items you elect to purchase locally. For example; a child seat, additional drivers or one way rental fee’s.

It is extremely important that you fully read and understand your agreement as it is very hard for us to fight any charges added to your agreement that you have signed for locally.

In the past these rental agreements have always been signed on physical paper. However in an effort to speed up the process Dollar Rent A Car have switched their rental agreements to digital contracts.

Examples -

We still recommend you fully read and understand your rental agreement before you digitally sign it and make sure if you have any questions you ask them at the time of collection.

Remember if you find you have signed for something locally, with Alamo or Dollar, that you do not recognise you do have the option to contact the local office within 24 hours to have the charge removed.

Have you used the new style digital rental agreement?

Did it speed up your collection process?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Which Car Makes And Models Are Our Customers Collecting In March?

Hi all,

One of my more popular series of posts mentioned vehicles that our customers were actually collecting – SUV’s , Convertibles and Minivans.

I thought I’d revisit these posts and offer an idea of the car rentals being collected in March 2011

Sports Utility Vehicles

The Sports Utility Vehicle has been a big seller in 2011, with the intermediate SUV being the pick of the bunch.

Mrs K Horsefield collected an Intermediate SUV from Orlando International Airport with Dollar Rent A Car on the 11/03/11 and got a Ford Escape.

Mr J Hyde collected a Standard SUV from Las Vegas International Airport again with Dollar Rent A Car on the 15/03/11 and got a Grand Jeep Cherokee.

Mr M Ding collected a 7str SUV from Washington Dulles Airport with Alamo Rent A Car on the 14/03/11 and got a Ford Expedition.

Convertibles

Our customers love convertibles, especially the Ford Mustang So you’ll be happy to know that the first 3 customers I checked all received Ford Mustangs.

Mr I Prideaux collected a Ford Mustang from Kissimmee with Dollar Rent A Car on the 05/03/11.

Mr N Foxall collected a Ford Mustang from Orlando International Airport with Dollar Rent A Car on the 15/03/11.

Mr C Beckett completed his rental of a Ford Mustang at Miami International Airport with Budget Rent A Car on the 15/03/11

Minivans

Large families and groups take advantage of these larger vehicles.

Mr R Tooby collected a 12 str minivan from Fort Lauderdale with Dollar Rent A Car on the 06/03/11 and got a Ford E350.

Mr S Carver collected a 7 Seater Minivan from Sanford Airport with Budget Rent A Car on the 15/03/11 and got a Dodge Caravan.

Mrs L Young collected an 8 Seater minivan from Tampa International Airport with Alamo Rent A Car and got a Toyota Sienna.

I hope you find this usual. If there is a category of vehicle you would like me to check or a specific pick up location please let me know by commenting below.

Regards,

James

 car hire USA

USA Petrol Prices 2011

Hi all,

U.S. citizens are up in arms at present over the sudden increase in petrol prices, seemingly over night the pump prices have gone up on average by 72 cents. March 2011 is now the most expensive March for petrol ever.

California

California is the USA’s most expensive state to fill up, at present on average you will pay $3.91 per gallon.

Montana

Montana is the USA’s cheapest state at present, where on average drivers will pay $3.19 per gallon.

Florida

Florida boasts the most expensive fuelling station, located in Orlando the Sun Coast Energy Gas Station is one of the last fuelling depot’s before Orlando International Airport. At present fuel costs are $5.39 a gallon for regular and $5.49 for premium.

USA drivers are calling the price increases “daylight robbery”, what do you think?

You can check up to date fuel prices by visiting – http://usrentacar.co.uk/usa_petrol_prices.aspx

Remember if you purchase our gold rate, your inital tank of fuel is included meaning you can return the vehicle as close to empty as possible.

Regards,

James

 car hire USA

Why Our Car Hire Staff Are The Best

Hi all,

I was looking through some of the reviews provided by our customers today when I came across this quote from Mr. D Flint

This was the first time we used USrentacar, but will not be the last the UK staff we extremely helpful and were only interested in getting us the best deal,not trying to push a more expensive option, like most ot the car hire companies do, I have already told many other friends to use you for their future trips…we were that well impressed…

Mr D Flint’s comments will bring smiles to the faces of our directors who made a conscious decision when they launched usrentacar.co.uk back in 2003 to buck the usual trend of sales patter and instead employ customer service consultants for traditional sales positions, they decided not to pay commission to agents but instead reward them for great service.

So when you call usrentacar.co.uk on 0845 226 8523, you can expect our staff to offer you the very best services and as Mr Flint buts is we are only “interested in getting you the best deal”.

Meet the staff (well some of them) –  Simon Palmer, James Thomas, Jane Hockey, Frank Williams and Kelly Morris.

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Car Hire USA Reviews

Hi all,

Today I thought I ‘d share a few of the latest reviews that have been submitted for each supplier. Our reviews are all written and submitted by real customers who have used our services and replied to our car hire review request.

Alamo Rent  A Car

Mr T Kenna – “I am very pleased with your company and service provided.”

Mr I Lipsey – “best experience i have renting a car from the u.k.”

Mr R Brewster – “Alamo have moved to Tampa airport which speeds up the time to collect the car.The biggest positive that I have with Alamo is that they allow you to select which car you get from their pool of cars within the range that you order and also that the cars tend to be low mileage.”

Budget Rent A Car

Mr D Sawyer – “Could not fault budget on this occasion.”

Mr D Kirby – “Very speedy service – excellent car – only one of view companies that do an 8 seater 4×4. Made booking over the phone. Would definately rent from usrentacar.co.uk again.”

Mr B Limacher – “Fast efficient collection & return as usual. Car in very clean condition, 8000 miles previous use”

Dollar Rent A Car

Mr S O’Neil – “We have used usrentacar before so we thought we would use them again and as always you couldn”t fault them.We had our rental with dollar but unfortunatly we had our hire vehicle broken into we phoned dollar with the details and crime number we were covered with everything usrentacar said in its policy nothing was a problem we drove car back to airport and exchanged for another one.we will use usrentacar again”

Mr M Sutherland – “top class service, at a top class centre”

Mr J Wallace – “good service no problems at all with pick up, or drop off and the vehicle run perfectly”

Some great reviews here!

Our customer reviews can be seen within our search results and are organised specifically to you location and car category.

Are your experiences of hiring with these suppliers similar?

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Free Additional Drivers With Your California Car Hire

Hi all,

Thought I’d let you know of a great little deal we have going on for California car hire at the moment with Alamo Rent A Car and Dollar Rent A Car.

Both these great suppliers have confirmed a FREE ADDITIONAL DRIVERS for any new bookings, on any vehicles, at any California location.

I think you’ll agree this is a great offer and one to be taken full advantage of.

Regards,

James,

 car hire USA

This Week In Car Hire – Statements, Tickets And Cars

Here are the top five most viewed posts on usrentacar.co.uk® for the week commencing the 24th January.

Here are the top five viewed blogs on usrentacar.co.uk® in the last 30 days.



Car Rental Suppliers Favourite Vehicle Of All Time

Hi all,

Everyone has their favourite type of car to rent, however have you ever wondered what our suppliers favourite vehicle is? Course you have ;-)

Well auto rental news surveyed car hire suppliers, owners and managers, and asked them to determine their “favorite rental car of all time.” Survey respondents were asked to judge 35 model choices on price, functionality, reliability, safety, customer experience, maintenance, acquisition costs, resale value and overall return on investment.

I think you will agree that the results are definitely not the choice of you or I, but does show that reliability is the number one priority for suppliers.

The Winner  - Toyota Camry

Second – Ford Taurus (pre discontinuation)

Third – Ford Taurus (new design)

Fourth – Toyota Corolla

Fifth – Chevrolet Impala

Sixth – Hyundai Sonata

Seventh – Honda Accord

Eigth – Chrysler 300

Joint Ninth – Ford Focus

Joint Ninth – Nissan Altima

What would be your all time favourite Rental Car?

regards,

James

 car hire USA


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