What’s New in Car Rental Sales

Car rental companies are reporting a host of new developments, from increasing their fleets to global expansion, from new loyalty program features to tech offerings.

The company has expanded its range of high-demand vehicles in Europe during peak travel times with a dedicated fleet of compact cars, premium full-size sedans and seven- to nine-passenger vans, many with automatic transmissions. Guaranteed makes include premium brands such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi.

Auto Europe also expanded its Portland, Maine headquarters and now has international offices in Germany, Portugal, South Africa and Australia.

Travel agents calling the 24-hour call center receive priority queuing and are routed to the most seasoned rental specialists. They also have access to local sales reps and a priority email address, tasales@autoeurope.com, for prompt responses. Auto Europe maintains a dedicated network of U.S. and Canadian sales reps to provide agents with local support.

Among other agent benefits, Auto Europe offers Free Day Coupons. Agents can earn one coupon for every rental they book. The coupons are redeemable for the agent’s personal car rental when traveling in Europe.

Avis Budget Group is transforming its fleet to support its customer mobility initiatives. By early 2018, 50,000 more of its vehicles will be fully connected, bringing the total number of connected cars in its fleet to nearly 100,000.

Connected cars allow for an expedited rental experience during pick-up and drop-off by providing Avis with real-time access to vehicle information.

Customers renting connected vehicles will also have one-touch returns and instant email receipts, plus the ability to lock and unlock car doors and flash headlights from Avis’ mobile app to help them easily locate vehicles. The mobile app can also be used to make a reservation, choose the exact car that clients want when they’re at or near an Avis facility and receive on-demand assistance.

This year, the company is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Unlimited Rewards loyalty program for travel professionals. Members earn rewards on Avis business and leisure car rentals in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in select European countries.

Members also earn rewards for Budget business- and leisure-car rental transactions in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand.

Dollar rewards are loaded monthly onto an Unlimited Rewards prepaid debit card that agents can use to make purchases anywhere the card is accepted.

The company also has made it easier for members of Avis Preferred, (its express rental/loyalty program), to redeem rewards. Preferred Points can now be used for rental days starting at 700 points with no blackout dates. Accessories, such as GPS units, SiriusXM and child safety seats are now available for 250 points per day.

Also, members will automatically earn a minimum of 100 Avis Preferred Points on every rental. They’ll continue to earn one point for every dollar spent on vehicle rentals and double points for every dollar spent on accessories.

In addition to celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Enterprise Holdings also announced its entry into the Vietnam market—a milestone in its ongoing global expansion—and two new acquisitions in 2017. The company will cater to the Vietnam market with its Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent-A-Car brands.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car Germany signed an agreement to acquire Bremen-based CARO Autovermietung GmbH. The agreement creates one of Germany’s largest car rental businesses with more than 200 locations and a fleet of about 1,700 vehicles.

Enterprise has bolstered its fleet—and increased its inbound business from North America—with the acquisition of Dooley Car Rentals, which has a fleet of more than 1,400 vehicles.

The company has also enhanced its Cash-In-Club travel agent loyalty program. In addition to a rebranded website optimized for mobile use, members get new rewards opportunities via email. Members receive one point for every day of every qualified rental up to 14 consecutive rental days with Enterprise, National or Alamo. Points are redeemable for prepaid Visa cards.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the company expanded the rewards and perks of its two loyalty programs: Enterprise Plus through Enterprise Rent-A-Car, as well as the Emerald Club through National Car Rental.

The company now offers Ultimate Choice at 35 U.S. airports and has plans to increase the total to 50 airports by the end of 2017. Ultimate Choice allows customers to choose a car by selecting any vehicle from the car class they reserved at no additional cost or by upgrading to a different vehicle.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program members also have access to exclusive Ultimate Choice areas, which feature a wider selection of vehicles, when they reserve a midsize car or higher.

The Agent Gold Rewards travel agent loyalty program awards points for rentals at Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty brands. Members receive 10 points for completed rentals globally. Points can be redeemed for electronics, jewelry, handbags, golf equipment, home furnishings, toys, travel and more.

All Hertz customers can now receive an email copy of their rental agreement and receipt, enabling them to simply drop off their car and go, after returning the vehicle. Electronic rental agreements and eReceipts are available at all U.S. airport and off-airport locations.

Hertz’s NeverLost GPS navigational device has gone portable. With portable NeverLost, customers can use a GPS in any Hertz car, or on the go—walking, biking or in another car.

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