10 Twitter Accounts To Follow For Your Florida Holiday

Hi all,

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, we’ve been working on a few projects that hopefully I can write about next week. 

Today though I thought I’d write briefly about twitter and who I would suggest following to aid your USA experience. If you don’t know what twitter is, its a micro blogging site that allows users to broadcast their thoughts, advice and links within 140 characters. I know it sounds weird but its very popular and very useful.

Top 10 Twitter Account To Follow these are in no particular order.

  1. @usrentacar  our own twitter feed which we regularly update with tips, hints, promotions and pictures. Its also a good way to contact us even if its just for a chat.
  2. @WaltDisneyWorld The official Twitter feed for the Walt Disney World Resort.
  3. @UniversalORL The official twitter account Universal Orlando Resort!
  4. @BuschGardens The official Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Twitter account.
  5. @orlando_tix For lots of info, tips, news and reviews on the worlds most popular theme parks and attractions visit our blog @ attraction-tickets.info
  6. @SeaWorld The official SeaWorld parks Twitter account. Follow for the latest updates and photos from all three SeaWorld parks
  7. @LEGOLANDFlorida This is the OFFICIAL Twitter for LEGOLAND Florida – a 150-acre interactive theme park dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12.
  8. @orlandosentinel The Orlando Sentinel is the most comprehensive news source of the Central Florida region.
  9. @VisitOrlando Official Twitter page for Visit Orlando with info about attractions, hotels, restaurants, shopping, deals, special events and more
  10. @discoveramerica Tweets on travel to the United States of America, from Brand USA, the official travel & tourism organization of the USA.

All these accounts have provided me with additional knowledge of Florida and in some cases the USA as a while.

Are there any twitter account you would recommend?  

Remember you can cheap Florida car hire via usrentacar.co.uk and some great deals on Orlando Attraction Tickets at our sister site orlandoattractiontickets.co.uk.



 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.


Founder of usrentacar.co.uk

 car hire USA

Dollar Thrifty Reveal Cost Saving 2012 Fleet

Hi all,

With the price of petrol sky rocketing suppliers in the USA are seeing an adverse effect in their bottom line to tackle this one supplier has purchased its 2012 Fleet with this firmly in mind.

Dollar Rent  A Car and Thrifty Rent A Car who have recently updated their Fleet revealed that 67% of the vehicles purchased have a highway fuel-efficiency rating of 30 miles per gallon (mpg) or better. Additionally, 98% of Dollar Thrifty’s general car models achieve 28 highway mpg or better.

Based on the average mileage driven by Dollar Thrifty customers the fuel efficient vehicles will save an estimated $24 Million compared to the 2011 fleet, which in this day and age is pretty impressive.

Scott Thompson, President and CEO of Dollar Thrifty said

With escalating gas prices and the increasing burden on travelers, Dollar Thrifty maintains its commitment to delivering value by continuing to purchase vehicles with improved fuel efficiencies. Our diversified fleet of 2012 models not only aligns with our fiduciary duties as an environmental steward, it significantly enhances our value offering to our customers

Among the environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles in Dollar Thrifty’s 2012 fleet purchase is the Kia Rio which has a highway mpg rating of 40 and received the U.S. EPA SmartWay Certification Mark for its low greenhouse gas emissions and minimal air pollution. Also prominent in the fleet are the popular Ford Focus Sedan and Hatchback, both of which achieve 38 highway mpg, and the Nissan Versa which also receives 38 highway mpg.

Are the miles per gallon a concern for you when booking your USA Car Hire?



 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).



 car hire USA

Which Car Hire USA Supplier Generates The Most Revenue Per Car?

Hey everyone,

For those of you that like statistics and fact based blogs – come on now, dont pretend like this stuff is boring and you’re not a car hire nerd :) Here are a couple of stats that you might find intresting. Honest! 

While looking at some numbers from a data post from 2011 regarding the amount of cars each major supplier operates versus the amount of revenue generated, we can grab a snippet of which supplier is generating the most revenue per vehicle for car hire in the USA. Its not an exact science but its in the ball park.


Check out these numbers;

Cars in service Total revenue Revenue per car
Avis/Budget 285000 4110000000 14421.05
Dollar/Thrifty 118000 1645000000 13940.68
Hertz/Advantage 320000 4241000000 13253.13
Enterprise/Alamo 920861 11100000000 12053.94


We all know that Enterprise/Alamo is the monster player in the market with almost 1 million cars in the market but its surprising to find they are not the top dog when its comes to getting the most revenue per vehicle.

As you can see above the master’s of milking every last dime out of their vehicles is Avis/Budget making on average approximately$14,421.05 per vehicle.

Now the second hand market has been extremely buoyant for the last couple of years, and this is where the car rental suppliers are really making their profits.

So can we assume that Alamo are selling their vehicles before Budget, therefore not getting the most out of the rental revenue but getting more from the second hand market?

If you liked this post and still have a little ‘nerd time’ left to fill why not check the related blog James posted back in December.



 car hire USA

Are You Happy To Take A Shuttle Bus To Collect Your Hire For A Lower Rate?

Hi all,

If you’re a new car hire USA supplier getting your vehicles on airport at such locations as Orlando and Sanford Airport is not only expensive but near on impossible as spaces rarely become available.

On the 16th January 2012 Sixt Rent A Car, a large player in the European Market, opened up a local office to serve Orlando International Airport. The new location, which is situated in close proximity to the major transport hub, will also offer a free 24 hour shuttle to and from the two airport terminals to assist customers in reaching the conveniently located branch with ease. The total journey from Airport to location is approximately 7 mins (source = google maps).

Now one of the unique selling points of established suppliers in Florida is the fact their hire cars are on on airport, customers have generally be travelling for over 9 hours when they hit Orlando and so he last thing they want to do it travel again.

Last night I asked our facebook friends this question - Would you consider taking a shuttle bus for a cheaper car hire rate?

Granted we didn’t give our other facebook friends very long to comment, however I think the above couple of answers are possibly a typical response.

So how do car rental companies successfully operate off airport; here are a couple of ideas.

  • Offer lower rates, I’m not sure 20-30% is possible as suggested above, but you have to be cheaper than the on airport suppliers.
  • Offer a diverse fleet, I don’t think you can compete with the airport suppliers head on however offering prestige vehicles and American Muscle cars could be a way of enticing customers to your service.
  • Offer amazing customer services, from the shuttle bus driver to the person at the car hire location, you must be at least 10% better than the on airport suppliers.
  • The most important, be fast; queues at Orlando International Airport can sometimes keep you from the road for a good hour. Your shuttle buses must be regular, and the pick up process must be fast. The total process must be under 12 mins.

What do you think about off airport collections?



 Florida car hire

How To Connect With usrentacar.co.uk

Hi all,

usrentacar.co.uk has always been at the cutting edge of social technology and were the first car hire company to implement the facebook like button in to its search results and the share option in to static pages.

We are always keen to share and here from current and potential customers, below is a quick list of ways to connect with usrentacar.co.uk socially.

Facebook - facebook.com/usrentacar.co.uk

Google + - plus.google.com/b/113288669932556995197/

Twitter – twitter.com/usrentacar

Twitter - twitter.com/orlando_tix

YouTube www.youtube.com/user/orlandotix

So feel free to join in the fun… the facebook page is run by myself so I’d love to chat and discuss all things USA.



 car hire USA

Alamo Rent A Car Release 2012 Florida Rates

Hi all,

Although a little slower than Dollar and Budget, Alamo have today revealed some early bird rates for Florida (other locations to follow).

usrentacar.co.uk customers can secure these 2012 rates at 2011 pricing for just £50.00 with the balance due 8 weeks prior to departure

Remember Alamo Rates Include

So that’s all the main players with at least Florida rates out in the market, I must admit this is the earliest I’ve even been able to state we’ve had complete rates for the following year, perhaps this bodes well for a competitive 2012.



 Florida car hire

usrentacar.co.uk Hits 400 Posts

Hi all,

Its pat myself on the back day, here at usrentacar.co.uk because as of the 20th July, the usrentacar.co.uk blog now has 400 posts!!! Hooray for me….

For someone with no previous journalism or writing skills (and it shows) I’m quite proud of the body of work this blog has produced. I need to quickly thank the Directors of usrentacar.co.uk for giving me the licence to basically write whatever I believe is of interest and for going easy on me the time I wrote something about a supplier that was taken the wrong way…oops.

Today’s blog is the top 10 posts of all time based on traffic.

  1. Alamo Car Hire Now Accepting Visa Debit For Security Deposit
  2. Universal Orlando and usrentacar Strike Up Partnership
  3. Which Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV’s) Are Our Customers Collecting?
  4. Dollar Car Hire Confirm Customer Choice For US Rent A Car Clients
  5. Customers delayed by Volcanic Ash Cloud may face delays – click here for advice
  6. Alamo USA Promote Chevrolet Equinox To Standard SUV
  7. Latest Car Hire Makes and Models Being Collected
  8. Drive Your Dream Car! A-Team van to K.I.T!
  9. Alamo Issue Availability Warning For Florida
  10. USA Petrol Prices 2011

Hopefully I can continue to grow the blog and soon be talking about 500 car hire usa posts.

If you’d like me to feature anything, please feel free to comment below.



 car hire USA

usrentacar.co.uk Past, Present and Future?

Hi all,

Next Month see’s usrentacar.co.uk enter in to its 9th year of providing USA Car Hire to UK and European Travellers.

With this in mind I thought it might be nice to take a little peak back in time to see how the website has evolved and perhaps talk about what might happen in the future.

The earliest full site image I could find is from 2004 and features a lot of gray… oops I mean Silver…

usrentacar.co.uk 2004

The next complete update I could find was 2005, and as you can see the silver has gone to be replaced with a lot of red.

usrentacar.co.uk 2005

I can’t find clear pictures of the next couple of updates to the site until we get to 2009. Which is pretty much how the site looks today.

usrentacar.co.uk 2009

usrentacar.co.uk 2011 +

Well it does look like we are due a revamp… and I hear that the design team have started brainstorming ideas.

What do you think our new site should look like?

What do you think of the old sites, do you have a favourite?



 Florida car hire

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