What Year 10 Will Bring

Hi all,

We are now 8 months away from U.S. Rent A Car’s 10th birthday and scarily my10 years 15th year of working in car rental! Yes I started work in car rental when I was 5 ;-) ….

Within the 10 years I’ve seen a lot of companies come and go, including massive companies like XL Airways and Travel City Direct (reborn under Virgin), I’ve seen the travel industry have to deal with acts of god like the Volcanic Ash caused by Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 which grounded flights to the U.S. for 6 long days! so I count 10 years of running a company in the travel industry a real achievement in an industry that has been hit heavily by the economic downturn.

U.S. Rent A Car has gone from strength to strength mainly built upon a great culture and good supplier relationships. In my opinion we are one of the only USA car rental companies who actually offers innovation within the marketplace.

What do we have planned for 2013

App

In the first quarter of 2013 we plan on releasing a new version of our iPhone app the new functionality will be a first within our industry and I’m hoping will be met with a big thumbs up.

Version 2.0 has been in the making for 6 months and new partners are coming on board everyday, if uptake is good we’ll look to update our Android version also.

In House System

We’ve also been working on a new in house reservations system that will help integrate all our brands, this should streamline our processes here in the UK which can only be good for the customer.

Orlando Attraction Tickets

For 2013 we have invested heavily in our stand alone attraction tickets website, we are hoping to launch a new look and feel in quarter 1. The new look and functionality is definitely unique within the Theme Park sector and in true U.S. Rent A Car style will be innovative and visually appealing.

Social

This blog has really been a highlight over the years and my hat goes off to James who has pretty much single handily provided all the content which now stands at well over 600 unique posts.

This year, James and his team will also be writing and editing 2 more blogs, the first is Attraction Tickets which is Orlando Attraction Tickets own blog. The second is Wizarding, a blog we recently purchased which is dedicated to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and offers tips, offers and rumours for Orlando’s hottest property.

We are also keen to do more with our facebook pages, both usrentacar.co.uk and orlandoattractiontickets.co.uk have good active users but we are keen to engage more, its finding the balance between engaging and becoming a annoying…

Car Hire USA

We are still speaking to a few new suppliers about how and if we’ll integrate them in to usrentacar.co.uk and we are chatting to exsiting suppliers about their performances in 2012 and how we can help them improve.

So that’s pretty much what we’ve got planned for the first quarter, I’ll keep you updated if anything changes but in the meantime keep an eye out for the launch of the new usrentacar app.

regards,

Gavin

 car hire USA

Sixt Rent A Car Opens New Seattle Airport Office

Hi all,

As I posted last year, in my opinion the next big USA car rental company couldseattle_tacoma_airport well be Sixt Rent A Car the German based car hire supplier is already well known within Europe and announced recently its plans to build a franchise network within the U.S. to help it build quickly.

Today I received an email confirming that the latest location to be opened by Sixt Rent A Car will service Seattle Airport and be managed by Monique Kennedy. As per most of Sixt’s locations their office will be located off airport and served by shuttle bus,  the bus drops you by the 5th floor, customer service lobby used by all the car rental companies.

The office will be a 24 hour location and can be found here;

SIXT station Seattle-Tacoma Int. Airport SEA

3150 South 160th Street
98188
SeaTac
WA
More information on finding SIXT at Seattle

Your way to Sixt:The Sixt branch is located in the Rental Car Facility, a 5 story building. From the airport the common bus drops you on the 5th floor to the customer service lobby of all the car rental companies.

From Downtown Seattle (via Interstate 5):

Take I-5 south to exit 154B/SR 518 west. Take the Sea-Tac Airport exit and follow the signs for Rental Car Return to International Blvd / SR 99 south. Follow the Rental Car Return signs to the right hand entrance into the rental car facility.

From Seattle / Burien (via State Route 509/State Route 518):

From Seattle, take SR 99 south to the First Avenue South Bridge (which becomes SR 509). Follow SR 509 south to the SR 518 exit (Burien/Sea-Tac Airport). Take the Sea-Tac Airport exit and follow the signs for Air Cargo Rd. Take the Air Cargo Rd exit. Turn right on S 170th St, then right on Air Cargo Rd, then right on S 160th St. Follow the Rental Car Return signs to the left hand entrance into the rental car facility.

From Downtown Tacoma (via Interstate 5):

Take I-5 north to exit 154A/SR 518 west. Take the Sea-Tac Airport exit and follow the signs for Rental Car Return to International Blvd / SR 99 south. Follow the Rental Car Return signs to the right hand entrance into the rental car facility.

From Downtown Bellevue (via Interstate 405):

Take I-405 south. Merge with SR 518 west toward Burien. Take the Sea-Tac Airport exit and follow the signs for Rental Car Return to International Blvd / SR 99 south. Follow the Rental Car Return signs to the right hand entrance into the rental car facility.

SIXT state they will house a number of vehicle makes and models including Ford E-350 Clubwagon, Ford Expedition, Ford Explorer, Ford Flex, Ford Mustang, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Genesis, Jeep Liberty, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mercedes-Benz E-class, Mercedes-Benz GLK, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Nissan Versa, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Sienna, VW Eos and the Volvo XC90.

Sixt Rent A Car from Seattle Airport are available to book via usrentacar.co.uk

 

Regards,

James

 car hire USA

Why Use U.S. Rent A Car?

Hi all,

Today I was browsing through a few other company blogs checking to see if there was anything I was missing. What struck me most was that I’m not blowing our trumpet enough…

usrentacar.co.uk has been the UK’s leading USA car hire specialist for almost a decade now; we’ve helped over 250,000 Britain’s hire fully inclusive car rental in all parts of the USA, we’ve constantly innovated within an industry that is slow to adopt new technologies including user generated reviews, facebook integration, our voucher app and of course our own insurance package. We’ve been nominated for 11 awards for excellence and featured in numerous travel media sites.

This is what our customers say about us -

Sandy

I have used usrent-a-car for many years, and they are simply the best and cheapest around (check out what’s included in the price). Others may look cheaper but then there are extras to be added.

When there have been problems (with the car rental companies, and not with usrent-a-car) they have sorted things out swiftly and efficiently.

When I have booked, last minute, they have ensured I had the voucher in time.

I would not use any other company.

Gerry

My son and his friend travelled to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas in October ’12 and wanted to hire a Mustang convertible of equivalent.
It was difficult to get an ‘all inclusive’ quote on the web. Many companies quoted on the basis that the young driver and second driver uplifts would be payable locally, but usrentacar quote was inclusive of both of these.
I reserached the company fully before I booked, reading reviews here and elsewhere, plus I used live chat to double check that there would be no extras to pay locally. All checked out OK and they paid just under £600 for 2 x 22year olds for 2 weeks car hire from Alamo.
Their travel arrangements worked fine. They were offered and did choose to pay an uplift locally for higher level of breakdown cover @ $70 total. Not sure that they really needed to, but they decided they wanted peace of mind so it was no great problem.
Initially they were offered a rather dull convertible but explained that they wanted to experience a ‘proper’ american convertible muscle car for their trip. They were then offered a Chevrolet Camaro convertible, and you can imagine their grins driving down the highway in that!
I must say that usrentacar.co.uk proved to have the best price, be one of the very few companies that could quote the actual price to pay with young drivers, and the arrangements, including the pre-payment of the young driver charge and the bundling of more than one driver, all proved faultless. I therefore recommend this company without hesitation!

Ian Dalgety

I have used US Rentacar on 4 or 5 occasions out of various different US airports and can’t fault them. Just booked again for summer 2013. Great service and competitive price.

Devon and Fay Price

We have been travelling to Florida for over 10 years and have used USRENTACAR for the last three year becuase they have the best all inclusive, value for money, car rental on the market.

They always deliver on their promises by using quality suppliers.

All these reviews and more can be verified through our partnership with TrustPilot where we have an average score of 9.1 out of 10!

That’s probably enough trumpet blowing for today… but sometimes you have to remind yourself and your customers that we are the best. :-)

regards,

James

 car hire USA

usrentacar.co.uk Strikes Up PayPal Deal

Hi all,

Here at usrentacar.co.uk we are always looking to make car rental simpler, if this means moving a button here or altering some text there then we do it, we are keen to make USA car hire as transparent as possible.

Today we are happy to announce a new partnership between ourselves and ebay owned PayPal to incorporate the very popular PayPal express service.

What is PayPal Express

PayPal express is the integration of the very popular PayPal system directly in to U.S. Rent A Car’s site; this is what PayPal themselves say about it.

People prefer PayPal because they don’t have to enter their card details every time they buy online. By adding Express Checkout to U.S. Rent A Car’s payment options, they are let millions of PayPal customers check out in less than three clicks.

You will see the PayPal express button on our secure payment page (pic below), you will require a PayPal account to take advantage of the express payment facility.

Gavin Boswell Founder of usrentacar.co.uk said;

We are delighted to announce our new partnership with PayPal; we are always looking to work with like minded companies with technology at the core of their business and PayPal are definitely one of them.

Gavin added;

For our customers its that little added bit of speed, security and peace of mind and as usual no additional cost will be added to the customer car rental booking.

The express service is also being integrated in to sister company Orlando Attraction Tickets who recently launched a new logo and tagline.

Here’s to a long a successful partnership.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Sixt Rent A Car Open New Office From Phoenix International Airport

Hi all,

Sixt Rent A Car are currently striving to become the fastest growing USA car hire brand out there, hence why they took the very sane decision to link up with the UK’s largest USA car hire specialist!

Last week Sixt opened another new office within one of the USA’s most popular states, Arizona. Sixt joins Alamo, Budget and Dollar by now offering low cost car hire from the car rental centre serving Phoenix International Airport.

Brian Hughes has taken responsibility for the management of the new office which runs  24 hour a day, Monday to Sunday and offers the usual high level of service and unique fleet that we’ve come to expect from the German founded car rental company.

How to find them

From the airport

The Sixt branch is located in the Rental Car Center, 1805 East Sky Harbor Circle South. Please follow the signs for the Rental Car Center through the airport to the facility.

From the north:

Take I-10 East. Use the Washington/Jefferson St. Exit 148. Go south (straight) on the frontage road to Sky Harbor Circle North and turn right. Follow that street around toward Buckeye Road to Sky Harbor Circle South. Follow the signs to the facility.

From the south:

Take I-10 West. Use the Buckeye Road Exit 149 and turn left on Buckeye Road. Take Buckeye Road to Sky Harbor Circle South (past 16th Street) and turn left. There is a double left turn lane there.

Remember; the Sixt Rent A Car introductory promo code “Sixt10″ still gets you £10.00 off per week until the 31/10/12.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

It’s Our Birthday

Its seems a very long time ago that I decided to take the plunge and start my own company, it was actually 2002. At the time I was 23, I had pretty much worked in car rental all of my working life, I had a baby on the way and had just lost my job when the company I worked for made me redundant.

I remember sitting in my Dad’s garden plotting with him my next career move, I had kind of decided to try to join the Police or Fire Service, when out of the blue my old man said “why don’t you start your own car rental company”. At the time I kind of laughed it off, but the more I thought about it the more sense it kind of made.

I knew the industry (well I thought I did); I had the right connections and I kind of knew what the customer wanted. I started checking some domain names usholidaycars, floridarentacar, internetcarhire…. but none of these really did it for me. Then my sister piped up with usrentacar…

I liked the name immediately, not only did it tell the customer exactly what we did but I kind of felt like I’d heard it before. I checked around and the domain was free to purchase, I bought the .co.uk  for £6.49.  A bargain… I later had to fork out over £5000.00 for the .com version! Grrr…

I made a few phone calls to some people in the industry who I knew and most importantly trusted me, and hey presto I had my first Alamo Rent A Car contract. I didn’t have a website, I didn’t have a way to take payment but I had a product and a name!

The next couple of months were a bit of a whirl wind of meetings with banks, web designers and potential suppliers while at the same time working a full time job at a money counting centre for the Royal Bank of Scotland that started at 4 am and finished at 12:00. Meetings with me at that time always took place at 13:00!!!… I hated this job with a passion but in hindsight it probably spurred me on to make sure I got usrentacar.co.uk up and running, I really didn’t want to count money for the rest of my life.

The meetings with Banks were always very interesting, two things that amazed me were firstly, how they really didn’t get my business model and secondly how they couldn’t get their head around the fact that I didn’t want to borrow any money. Straight off the bat they assumed that the nature of the meeting was for me to ask them for some start up money, but this wasn’t the case, I had some savings of my own and my Dad was an early investor, actually his credit card took more of a bashing than it previous ever had. All I wanted from  a bank was a way to take payment from customers and somewhere to put the money.

The banks found this very strange…then when I tried to explain the business concept it really blew their minds…

So you rent cars to people holidaying in America, but you don’t own any cars and you don’t need to be based in the U.S.

I could kind of see their point…

Of course I finally got them to understand the nature of the business and we steam rolled ahead. The next step was to design a website and booking engine.

I wanted something different, that stood out and was cutting edge. I also wanted to do something that wasn’t actually happening at the time but is now common place and that was to offer customers the choice of supplier they wanted, instead of having an opaque price with the customer not knowing if the supplier was Dollar Rent A Car or Dave’s car hire I wanted to give the customer the choice. We still do this today and have been copied by almost every other car hire site since…. I’m told this is a compliment… I’m not so sure. The building of the website pretty much wiped out all my savings and I can assure you I got a really good deal at the time.

So I was pretty much ready to go, I had 3 suppliers on board, Alamo Rent A Car, Budget Rent A Car and U-Save Car rental all who believed in my company and who had given me rates. A few companies did not back my idea which you might think I would take personally but one of the most important things I learnt within the first year of trading was never to burn bridges… Its funny how those same suppliers who doubted usrentacar have complete amnesia about it when I bring it up now :-)

My first office was from my dad’s spare bedroom, we had a dedicated telephone and a fax machine, nowadays we have deep integration in to the suppliers fleet, in 2003 we had to fax booking s and then wait for a return fax!! Compared to now it was like working in the stone age…

U.S. Rent A Car head office

So on the 26 August 2003 nearly 9 months on from when I first decided to give it a go, usrentacar.co.uk opened for business… I remember we made 3 bookings that day, I framed the first every booking made by Mr Stephen Doughty and from there on we went from strength to strength and for the sanity of my Dad we moved out of his spare bedroom and paid back his investment within the first year.

I would like to take this moment to thank everybody who has helped make usrentacar.co.uk what it is today, we have created a great culture within our team and continue to pave the way in car rental innovation which is still being copied (you know who you are) :-) . A few special mentions, Abigail Shelton who gave me my first supplier contract, Karl Hendrie who has a bigger brain then anyone I know and finally of course my Dad, who not only gave me the idea and believed in me but also stumped up the early cash.

So from me, to usrentacar.co.uk… happy birthday, I hope there are many, many more to come.

regards,

Gavin,
Founder of usrentacar.co.uk

 car hire USA

Sometimes Less Is More…

Hi all,

A pretty enticing title for something that perhaps isn’t as exciting as it sounds :-) but hey if I’d have written “we’ve amended our filter button” would you really have clicked through to read? No I didn’t think so… well you’re here anyway so you may as well read on…

At the beginning of the year we redesigned our website, I think I may have mentioned it once or twice. Anyway part of the redesign was the introduction of a new results page and new filter options including filter by price, filter by supplier, filter by insurance type and filter by car category.

The idea behind this was to allow our customers to manipulate our results to leave them with the vehicles they were truly interested in, however it never really took off mainly for two reasons.

Firstly it was quite complicated, a lot of options in columns which perhaps was a little too much to take in.

Secondly it was slow to use, with all these options the site was constantly searching for different combinations which ultimately slowed the whole process down instead of speeding it up, as was intended.

So with this in mind we asked a few customers their opinion on what they wanted in our USA car hire filter bar…. and it wasn’t the all dancing filter bar we’d been offering, it was a basic filter option where they could compare different types of car hire category.

So that’s what we’ve given you…Behold…

Now at the top of our results page (where the cars are shown) you will note the filter button, if you click on this you will come face to face with the above image, pick the cars you want a quote on and click the filter button and hey presto, you’ve got your results.

See sometimes less is more…

regards,

James,

 Florida car hire

usrentacar.co.uk Just Got Faster

Hi all,

Back in April we launched the new look usrentacar website and with it came a whole load of new features including reviews, wait times and our platinum rate

The new look has mainly been well received and has recently helped us to our third nominations at the prestigious British Travel Awards (hooray). The one thing that has slightly disappointed us was the speed in which our results were being returned.

If you take for example Orlando International Airport, we are returning 234 separate rental rates (the most in the UK) yesterday this would have taken our site 1 min’s 6 seconds…

More Dwain Chambers than Usain Bolt…

Happily today we’ve bought some new trainers… and the same 234 results are now being returned in just 22 seconds… 

Now all we need is our Olympic medal!?

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

usrentacar.co.uk Version 1.3 Of Voucher App Hits App Store

Hi all,

Just a very quick post to mention that version 1.3 of the usrentacar.co.uk voucher app has today hit the app store.

There isn’t anything new to really announce, this latest addition is purely a bug fix. Here is a list of additions.

  • App Speed – we’ve sped up the whole app experience and will continue to look at ways of making it even faster.
  • Push Notification Fix – A push notification will now be sent directly to your phone as soon as your voucher is ready.
  • Push Notification Modification – As per our previous post Grr stop waking me up usrentacar.co.uk we’ve amended the scheduling to be more user friendly.
  • Car Finder – Improved car finder accuracy.
  • Reviews – Fixed bug that stopped reviews being sent.
  • Review Photo’s – we’ve altered the size of the image being sent to allow them to be automatically uploaded to the usrentacar.co.uk main site.

We have some deals going on behind the scene’s here that should see a modified version of the usrentacar voucher app being released hopefully in the next 6 months. I will keep you all posted on developments in the mean time for those of you who have not yet downloaded the app here’s a brief description.

About the usrentacar voucher app

The usrentacar.co.uk iPhone application is a free tool to help assist users with car rental bookings. The application’s primary function is to provide users with a mobile version of a car rental voucher which is used to collect their pre-reserved car rental.

The application is also an information resource for existing and new users. The application will also provide users with average ‘wait times‘ for collecting their vehicle (they can also add their own wait time) The application also offers users a chance to ‘review’ their car rental experience. The application will also provide access to latest blogs on car hire in the USA.

In the last major update the app also now includes the “car finder” feature which allows users to pin their parked car on a map, then at their leisure instruct the app to find their vehicle, the app will then plot a course back to the users parked car.

The app is free and ready to download from the apple store and google play.

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Don’t Call It A Comeback… Live Chat Returns

Hi all,

Not only do I get to quote an LL Cool J lyric but I also get to write about the return of an old favourite.

Whilst designing the  new usrentacar.co.uk website we requested feedback from customers asking them if there were any features we’d removed previously that they’d like to see make a comeback, the number one response was our Live Chat facility.

In our previous redesign we removed the Live Chat facility to make space for a small advertising section, this was obviously a mistake :-)

What is your live chat facility?

In the header on every page of our website your will note a contact us section, one of the options shown is live chat. If you click on this link you will be able to talk directly with one of our reservations team.

We hope this facility will not only save you time and money but showcase our great customer service, no question is to small and no request to big, so feel free to give it a go, even test it out if you want.

At present we have 6 operators trained to use the live chat facility, after you have spoken to one of our operators you are give the option to rank how well they have handled your request. Now I’m not saying I’m competitive but ….. at present I’m top of the leader board ;-) with an impressive 5 star rating **takes bow, thanks his mum, dad and god**
So if you do use the live chat facility please remember to rate the operator its great for office banter…

Have you used the live chat facility, how did you find it?

 regards,

James (king of live chat)

 Florida car hire


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