Breaking into the big city service

The advantages are clear. By its very nature an “employed” fleet department is unwieldy and slow to respond, whereas an “implant” is a true specialist with wide experience of its business. Also, because of the level of competition in business travel, the rental company is kept on its toes, concerned about securing contract renewal. The user reduces its costs and improves flexibility, and the rental company increases turnover, customer retention and buying power.

New for the SME Market

Until recently, this integrated approach applied only to large organisations, but now the rental companies are looking to widen their reach and offer arms-length support to small and medium-sized companies. They are also addressing the huge potential in this market with packaged versions of the tailored systems developed for the majors. Even the smallest company renting on a regular basis can make savings in time, money and convenience by signing up for one of these programmes.

In a recent survey of 13,000 renters, Avis discovered business users require speed, fairness and transparency. These results have driven their latest strategy, which includes refuelling vehicles at 10p below pump prices and ensuring renters only pay for fuel used. Avis has also launched Avis Advance for the business market with reduced rates, inclusive or “own” insurance prices, online booking discounts and loyalty points towards free rentals. Also included is the Avis Preferred Service card which speeds up collection and return with pre-prepared paperwork, priority Avis Preferred counters and cars parked in the most convenient spaces. In major UK airports, Avis Rapid Return is part of the service and allows travellers to process the return in 60 seconds with a final receipt being issued immediately showing mileage and fuel used in one of seven languages.

Although now part of Europcar, National is still being marketed separately and offers every form of transport from a motorbike to a 38-tonne “artic”. It has a Specialist Vehicle Management Centre with state-of-the-art reservation and fleet-management systems, and provides delivery and collection, and payment by credit card or on account. As a business account customer, its Emerald Club is available free of charge at major airports and London, Marble Arch and the service includes dedicated reservation numbers and desks, and pre-prepared rental agreements.

Its Business Travel Options offers preferential prices, reasonably priced delivery and collection, payment options, fully inclusive or “own” insurance pricing, free membership of Ready, the fast-booking service, full management information and discounts from partners. The icing on the cake is an annual cashback incentive scheme in the form of a cheque or rental vouchers. Staff will like the Business Travel Options as it offers them special holiday rental schemes around the world.

The Hertz Link gives special rates, £1.50 rebate for every online reservation, a reasonably priced delivery and collection service, and inclusion in Hertz’s #1 Club, which provides fast-track reservation through the Hertz Express Service – just show your licence and credit card, sign and go. The programme also includes Hertz Instant Return and a 5 per cent discount on rentals. You also get two Nectar points for every £1 spent.

Its Express Card, issued individually or to a company, stores all the relevant information to reduce paperwork and also offers frequent flyer points with various airlines. Sixt has also developed the Express Terminal but this is currently limited to Manchester in the UK. It is a great free system allowing you to insert your card into the Sixt machine, which prints the rental agreement, with the car keys available from a key safe which can be opened with a Sixt Express card or a credit card.