If you are planning to do any traveling, either business or personal, you’ll likely want to rent a car upon arrival at your destination. Most airports have car rental agencies onsite for your convenience. These tips on how to rent a car will help you get the best deal. The major international car rental agencies have offices throughout North America and often around the world. There is no such thing as the best company in this industry. It really does pay to shop around. Rates will depend on the type of vehicle, the time period, and things like agency specials. You can easily compare prices online and you can reserve your car online too. Almost all rental cars have automatic transmission, radio, and air conditioning. Even if you request a manual transmission, chances are it won’t be available upon arrival. If you are traveling with children that will require car restraint seats, make sure to request them when you book your car. If you are renting a car in the US, you usually do not need an international driver’s license. Your license from your home country should be adequate. That said, an international license can be helpful in proving to the agency that you have a valid license especially if they aren’t familiar with the licenses from your country. Rental companies have different rules about who they will rent to. Some will not rent to anyone under the age of 25 while others won’t rent to anyone over the age of 70. Other rent to drivers under 25 but charge a premium. Check with the agencies for restrictions before you book. The car rental business is extremely competitive so prices change frequently. Some companies offer regular advertised deals; others run random special promotions. If business is slow you are likely to be able to get a better rate than if you are trying to rent during peak seasons. No one agency has the monopoly on best prices. It just depends, so do your homework and don’t be afraid to try to barter a better price! Sometimes if you booked through a travel agent, you might get a better price on your rental car. Some packages even include the rental fees. Compare these offers to see which is best. The car rental insurance is where many agencies really soak you. The collision damage waiver and theft insurance they attempt to sell you is priced ridiculously high. But you also cannot risk driving without it. Some auto insurance companies have a rider that covers you and some credit cards also provide you with free coverage. See what you can do to avoid purchasing the rental agency’s insurance because it can almost double the price of your rental. Now that you know how to rent a car and get the best deal, you’ll have a few extra dollars in your pocket to start planning that next vacation.
People like to try things before they buy them; cars are no exception to this rule. Trying a car out before you buy it is even more important when you consider the amount of money spent on one and the time spent in one. A great many dealers will let prospective car buyers test drive a car over night, but is that really enough time to decide if you want to buy it? If not, you may want to consider your option to rent a car for a short period of time. You will want to ask about any special instructions that are required of you while renting the car, for example, filling up the gas tank or pick up and drop off times. Not adhering to these policies can result in fees. The rental company may offer you insurance to purchase, however, your personal auto insurance may be all you need in the event of an accident with a rental car. Call your auto insurance agent and ask before paying extra at the rental counter. When you call, be sure to ask about price, vehicle availability, as well as any specials that the branch has to offer. It is worth noting here, that many of these companies will have special arrangements with hotels, airlines or even warehouse stores. There are a number of choices that are open to you when renting a car. Each class of car will vary in price and gas mileage; consider this when making your decision. While many companies may be willing to upgrade you, this is not always the case. It is wise to choose the car you want and hope for an upgrade than to reserve less of a car and be disappointed when an upgrade is not offered. It is wise to shop around when looking for to rent a car. Always find at least three rental car companies to compare, although more will be better. Be sure to ask all the companies the same questions to get the most accurate answers. Most rental car companies will have websites online to find basic information, but it is best to call as local branches may have deals that are not advertised online. Have a credit or debit card handy to reserve the rental car with, most companies will only guarantee a car with this assurance.
Renting a car can sometimes be both easy and confusing. Every rental company has there own set of rules so it is important to ask questions and also pay close attention to the lingo in the rental agreement. Generally speaking though, when someone decides to rent and they are under the age of 25 there is usually a surcharge. Surcharge vary from company to company. Some companies might even do a DMV check to see what kind of driving record the renter has, specially for luxury brands such as BMW’s, Benz, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Maserati etc. The reason for the surcharge is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says drivers who are younger than 25 are significantly more likely to get into accidents than older drivers. After age 25, the per-driver crash rate declines dramatically and continues to drop until the driver reaches 85 I know you might be saying, well, I have a clean driving record why should I have to pay more? Unfortunately for now that is reality. Look at it this way, people who live in high crime neighborhoods might have to pay more for insurance coverage because of demographics even though the insured has a clean driving record. A friend of mine made reservation online with a car rental company, he was 23yrs old. When he arrived at the counter the rep informed him that there would be a surcharge. He asked why was he being charged extra, and he even went as far to let her know he has a clean driving record. She informed him of the companies policy. He then asked why is it that rental companies charge a under age surcharge and she mentioned to him that due to statics, the NHTSA says drivers who are younger than 25 are more likely to get into accidents than older drivers. After age 25, the per-driver crash rate declines dramatically and continues to drop until the driver reaches 85 But, there is hope! Here is how you can save. If you have your own auto insurance, you may decline the rental company insurance. There is usually four different levels of optional protection you can purchase, CDW, SLP, PAI, and PEC. In most cases when you have full coverage auto insurance or in some cases in certain states, just liability insurance coverage provides sufficient coverage. It is important to verify with your insurance carrier your coverage and what it will and will not cover while renting a car or van or any type of rental vehicle. So shop around! Do your research, read the rental agreement. Ask questions if you are unsure. Finally, if you have auto insurance, depending on the type of coverage you have can definitely save you money although you are under 25 years of age. Do not pay for something you already have. Renting a car can sometimes be both easy and confusing, but, you can help yourself and save money by getting familiar with your states rental laws. Every rental company has there own set of rules so it is important to ask questions and also pay close attention to the lingo in the rental agreement.
Nowadays, a lot of companies are offering cheap rent a car services. Sometimes, the deals they are offering seem to be too good to be true. With a lot of companies offering cheap rates, how are we to know that we are getting the most out of what we are paying for? What things do we need to look for when availing this service? How can we ensure that we are actually saving and getting the most value out of our cheap investment? Listed below are some tips that will guide us on how to get the best out of renting a car. When choosing among various cheap rent a car services, we should consider the rates of 4 to 5 companies. Rank these based on who offers the cheapest rates even without applying any discounts. Make sure that you are offering the rates based on almost similar features or services. It helps if you are already familiar with different car models or if you already have a specific car in mind. After comparing the rates, determine the different features that each company offer. Determine if you need the additional features or not. After taking these into account, look for any discounts or rebates. Also keep in mind that in choosing a cheap rent a car service, we may get the best value even if we do not choose the lowest rates. For example, if a company offers a higher rate because they offer a discount on fuel charges, or if they offer unlimited mileage, then you may end up getting better results in choosing that company over the one that’s offering a cheaper rate. It may also be the case that the rate is higher because the cars being leased are of better shape compared to those being offered by others. Reputation also plays a role in choosing a cheap rent a car service. If you are on a business trip and you are following a tight schedule, it would be more costly to miss a very important meeting in the event that your rented car breaks down during your trip. Thus, choosing a company that is already known to provide quality service may prove to be the better choice, even if you have to pay for a little premium. Find the time to talk to other people who have already availed of car rental services to get first hand information on a company’s reputation. To summarize, we should always keep in mind that cheap can be expensive. Thus, when choosing a cheap rent a car service, take note of what you really need or want. After figuring this out, devote time in researching and comparing rates to narrow down your search. Also look for promotions and discounts that will help lessen the cost. Lastly, look for reviews and feedback to make sure that we are getting the best service that we can get. Follow these simple steps and you are definitely on your way to getting that best rent a car deal available.
Most of us look forward to traveling to Europe and other countries. We are excited by the idea that we would be able to visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Sistine Chapel. We are even willing to save enough money on a regular basis and have enough funds in order to be able to enjoy such a long-awaited journey. Why not raise the bar higher by traveling in style through luxury rent a car services? This will definitely add spice and more life to the vacation we have been waiting and dreaming for a long time. Although it may seem that luxury rent a car services would rip you off, this is not the case. A lot of car rental companies are offering luxury cars for rent similar to regular car types. The price is a little higher than normal car rental rates, but the little difference in price is definitely worth it. There are also some aspects we need to consider in order to make this dream more affordable. The first thing to consider is the pickup and drop off terms. When making a reservation, determine the cheapest arrangement, depending on the area you will be visiting. Normal drop off and pick up points for luxury rent a car services include the airport, the hotel where you will be staying, or any major landmark on the main city. Check with the car rental company as to whether they offer free pick up and drop off. If not, confirm which would be the cheapest location. We also need to consider the mileage terms. If we are planning to tour the city, then we are better off choosing the company that offers unlimited mileage. With this feature, we are assured that we do not need to pay additional fees in order to be able to go to all the places we want to visit. Another advantage of hiring luxury rent a car is the additional services and features that are usually bundled with the offer. Most companies offer 24-hour emergency assistance, and this is something most of us would need if we are in an unfamiliar territory. Some companies also offer you the option of hiring a qualified driver for free, so you can enjoy the entire trip with your family, friends, and loved ones. The amount of fee you will add to upgrade to a luxury car will just be a fraction of what you need to pay to separately hire a driver to accompany you on your trip. At first glance, luxury rent a car services may seem to be unnecessary and impractical. However, if we look at the big picture, the benefits we can get from upgrading our car rental is incomparable to the minimal fee that we will be paying. With luxury cars, we are able to travel in style while visiting the places in Europe that we have waited to see our entire lifetime. We are also able to enjoy premium service which would definitely allow us to enjoy our long-planned European tour.
Practical car and van hire in Britain is expensive. Automatics are much more expensive than manual transmission cars. Some car hires don’t even have automatics, because every car in Britain seems to be manual.
Insurance is expensive because of the way it is handled. No matter if your insurance company coverage is adequate or not, there is a high excess (deductible). The excess is added to your rental charges until you return the car. You can pay another fee that reduces the excess, as well.
There is also Tire and Windshield Insurance that you must pay in addition to any other insurance.
The fueling is the same in Britain as in the United States; you must return your vehicle with the same amount of petrol in it as there was when you left. If you return your vehicle with less fuel than you had upon leaving it, they refill it at the current rate plus a small service charge. They do not gouge you for gas by charging the highest rate possible; it’s just the average, plus the service charge.
Most places in Britain inspect the cars rather well before handing you the keys. In any case, be certain to look over your practical car and van hire before leaving the premises, as you will be responsible for the excess should you return the vehicle damaged in any way.
If you are on vacation in Britain, and are looking for a practical car and van hire, the rental agent will want to see your passport and, possibly, your flight details in order to confirm that it is a temporary hire.
It’s best to rent with a credit card and remember that Discover Card is rarely accepted in Britain.
It’s a good idea to shop online for car hire in England. The terminology for a standard car rental is practical car and van hire. If you enter this information into a search engine, you will come up with hit after hit for car hires all over Britain, North Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. If you are visiting or on vacation, you may want to go with a major car rental firm, one whose name you recognize, as they are most adjustable to visitors and vacationers not familiar with excess charges and Tire and Windshield Insurance.
Mostly, renting a car in Britain is not so much different from renting a car in the United States, except that the steering wheel is on the other side of the car, and you must remember to drive on the left instead of the right. Car hire is commonplace at airports and hotels and the international chains like National, Enterprise, and Avis offer the same expedience services they do in the States. So, the process will not be unfamiliar to you, even if some of the charges and most of the vehicle options will be.
The best thing to remember about arranging practical car and van hire in Britain is to be patient and learn to adjust, mostly to manual transmissions and driving on the left.
Switzerland is the most attractive places of interest, current events and unique offers available to tourists, for public transport, for example. So, just choose your city in Switzerland, the dates and times you desire to select and hire a car in Switzerland your chosen car type and the age of the driver then compare car hire charges and book online with the best completely wide-ranging car hire prices.
Car hire in Switzerland offers a wide choice of affordable to luxurious vehicles including sports car. So, if you are heading to make a trip to Switzerland then book the accommodations and car hiring before at nominal rates to make your trip full with entertainments. Online car hiring is a secure process and also easy to use interface. Car hiring in Switzerland bestow you the complete in dependence to travel around as well as take in some striking and lovely mountain drives. Switzerland’s road thread network is well designed but there are authoritarian parking and speeding rules of which foreign drivers should be alert of.
Whether you are planning off on a complete vacation trip or a short trip in Switzerland, online car rental services will serve the right dimension of rental car for you. When you are leaving for a daytime trip or to discover fresh tourist’s places you must need a vehicle to explore the places. Car hire in Switzerland keep in regular checking to make sure that you can anticipate the same high standard of rental services at all tourist destinations. In a family holiday trip, you requires a bigger vehicle so the rental firms offer the accurate car in rent which suits your needs to meet your
Sometimes clients need a bigger car for a weekend trip and we can provide the right type hire car to meet your purposes and your finances. You can find on the web numerous car hiring websites which offers secure and affordable car rental deals. There are numerous collections of vehicles available for rent in Switzerland as it a tourist hub. Inside the leasing choice are small nippy run around cars, large saloons as well as sports cars – so sight seeing cars and business rentals can be delivered in Switzerland. One important think I want to share with you people is that the prices you are giving during a vehicle hire include the following emergencies and services also:
Full breakdown cover
Third party insurance
Loss damage waiver
Glasgow Prestwick Airport, located just over 30 miles from downtown Glasgow, has been labeled the fastest growing airport in Scotland. Boasting fast and on-time flights 80% of the time, the airport is hassle-free, efficient and is staffed by personnel knowledgeable in all aspects of the travel industry. To make it even more convenient for travelers the world over, the Glasgow Prestwick Airport has its own rail road service connecting travelers to downtown Glasgow and to other stations which in turn feed to the rest of Scotland at a 50% discount. The airport also has a relatively low cost reserved car packing a bureau de change and low cost tax and duty free shopping center stocked with all the necessary trappings ideal for travelers. Whether the reason for your transit through Glasgow Prestwick Airport is business or leisure, the airport is equipped with every amenity necessary for speed and convenience.
One of the greatest conveniences found at the airport is car rental. Glasgow Prestwick Airport car hire is fast and convenient. The car rental booths are located immediately within reach in all the major terminals making it a breeze to connect from flights to the waiting rented car. The companies serving the Glasgow Prestwick Airport are the usual major players in the world of car rental in most of the major international airports. At the car rental booths, you will be greeted by Avis, Hertz, Alamo, Budget, Europcar, National and Sixt. The collective experience found in these car rentals guarantees quality and a speedy and professional response should anything go wrong with your rental reservation.
It is perfectly possible and okay to rent a car of your choice on demand, that is, when you decide to once you arrive at Glasgow Prestwick Airport. This however, may cause some slight delay and the cars are subject to availability. Most travelers whether local or international prefer to reserve a car prior to their arrival at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport. In today’s digital world, services such as Expedia and Travelocity make it possible to include your car rental together with your flight and hotel reservation in one convenient and low-cost package. This can be a price bargain and has become popular with today’s bargain-hunting travelers. Reserving a car rental together with your hotel and flight is ideal and recommended because it guarantees a smooth transition once you arrive at the airport and you are not subject to long waits especially if you are on a time-sensitive trip.
The car rental firms at Glasgow Prestwick Airport accept most of the world’s major credit cards namely VISA, Mastercard, Discover, American Express and Diner Club. Most major banks can also activate their local customers’ debit cards to work overseas meaning debit cards can also work as credit cards of they have the VISA or Mastercard logo. It is however recommended that if you intend to use your debit/ATM card to rent a car at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, you need to check with your local bank first to see whether this is possible. It has also not been the policy of most major car rental companies to accept debit cards so you also want to give the individual rental firms a call beforehand.
The car rental industry is a multi-billion dollar sector of the US economy. The US segment of the industry averages about $18.5 billion in revenue a year. Today, there are approximately 1.9 million rental vehicles that service the US segment of the market. In addition, there are many rental agencies besides the industry leaders that subdivide the total revenue, namely Dollar Thrifty, Budget and Vanguard. Unlike other mature service industries, the rental car industry is highly consolidated which naturally puts potential new comers at a cost-disadvantage since they face high input costs with reduced possibility of economies of scale. Moreover, most of the profit is generated by a few firms including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis. For the fiscal year of 2004, Enterprise generated $7.4 billion in total revenue. Hertz came in second position with about $5.2 billion and Avis with $2.97 in revenue.
Level of Integration
The rental car industry faces a completely different environment than it did five years ago. According to Business Travel News, vehicles are being rented until they have accumulated 20,000 to 30,000 miles until they are relegated to the used car industry whereas the turn-around mileage was 12,000 to 15,000 miles five years ago. Because of slow industry growth and narrow profit margin, there is no imminent threat to backward integration within the industry. In fact, among the industry players only Hertz is vertically integrated through Ford.
Scope of Competition
There are many factors that shape the competitive landscape of the car rental industry. Competition comes from two main sources throughout the chain. On the vacation consumer’s end of the spectrum, competition is fierce not only because the market is saturated and well guarded by industry leader Enterprise, but competitors operate at a cost disadvantage along with smaller market shares since Enterprise has established a network of dealers over 90 percent the leisure segment. On the corporate segment, on the other hand, competition is very strong at the airports since that segment is under tight supervision by Hertz. Because the industry underwent a massive economic downfall in recent years, it has upgraded the scale of competition within most of the companies that survived. Competitively speaking, the rental car industry is a war-zone as most rental agencies including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis among the major players engage in a battle of the fittest.
Over the past five years, most firms have been working towards enhancing their fleet sizes and increasing the level of profitability. Enterprise currently the company with the largest fleet in the US has added 75,000 vehicles to its fleet since 2002 which help increase its number of facilities to 170 at the airports. Hertz, on the other hand, has added 25,000 vehicles and broadened its international presence in 150 counties as opposed to 140 in 2002. In addition, Avis has increased its fleet from 210,000 in 2002 to 220,000 despite recent economic adversities. Over the years following the economic downturn, although most companies throughout the industry were struggling, Enterprise among the industry leaders had been growing steadily. For example, annual sales reached $6.3 in 2001, $6.5 in 2002, $6.9 in 2003 and $7.4 billion in 2004 which translated into a growth rate of 7.2 percent a year for the past four years. Since 2002, the industry has started to regain its footing in the sector as overall sales grew from $17.9 billion to $18.2 billion in 2003. According to industry analysts, the better days of the rental car industry have yet to come. Over the course of the next several years, the industry is expected to experience accelerated growth valued at $20.89 billion each year following 2008 “which equates to a CAGR of 2.7 % [increase] in the 2003-2008 period.”
Over the past few years the rental car industry has made a great deal of progress to facilitate it distribution processes. Today, there are approximately 19,000 rental locations yielding about 1.9 million rental cars in the US. Because of the increasingly abundant number of car rental locations in the US, strategic and tactical approaches are taken into account in order to insure proper distribution throughout the industry. Distribution takes place within two interrelated segments. On the corporate market, the cars are distributed to airports and hotel surroundings. On the leisure segment, on the other hand, cars are distributed to agency owned facilities that are conveniently located within most major roads and metropolitan areas.
In the past, managers of rental car companies used to rely on gut-feelings or intuitive guesses to make decisions about how many cars to have in a particular fleet or the utilization level and performance standards of keeping certain cars in one fleet. With that methodology, it was very difficult to maintain a level of balance that would satisfy consumer demand and the desired level of profitability. The distribution process is fairly simple throughout the industry. To begin with, managers must determine the number of cars that must be on inventory on a daily basis. Because a very noticeable problem arises when too many or not enough cars are available, most car rental companies including Hertz, Enterprise and Avis, use a “pool” which is a group of independent rental facilities that share a fleet of vehicles. Basically, with the pools in place, rental locations operate more efficiently since they reduce the risk of low inventory if not eliminate rental car shortages.
Most companies throughout the chain make a profit based of the type of cars that are rented. The rental cars are categorized into economy, compact, intermediate, premium and luxury. Among the five categories, the economy sector yields the most profit. For instance, the economy segment by itself is responsible for 37.7 percent of the total market revenue in 2004. In addition, the compact segment accounted for 32.3 percent of overall revenue. The rest of the other categories covers the remaining 30 percent for the US segment.
Historical Levels of Profitability
The overall profitability of the car rental industry has been shrinking in recent years. Over the past five years, the industry has been struggling just like the rest of the travel industry. In fact, between the years 2001 and 2003 the US market has experienced a moderate reduction in the level of profitability. Specifically, revenue fell from $19.4 billion in 2000 to $18.2 billion in 2001. Subsequently, the overall industry revenue eroded further to $17.9 billion in 2002; an amount that is minimally higher than $17.7 billion which is the overall revenue for the year 1999. In 2003, the industry experienced a barely noticeable increase which brought profit to $18.2 billion. As a result of the economic downturn in recent years, some of the smaller players that were highly dependent on the airline industry have done a great deal of strategy realignments as a way of preparing their companies to cope with eventual economic adversities that may surround the industry. For the year 2004, on the other hand, the economic situation of most firms have gradually improved throughout the industry since most rental agencies have returned far greater profits relative to the anterior years. For instance, Enterprise realized revenues of $7.4 billion; Hertz returned revenues of $5.2 billion and Avis with $2.9 billion in revenue for the fiscal year of 2004. According to industry analysts, the rental car industry is expected to experience steady growth of 2.6 percent in revenue over the next several years which translates into an increase in profit.
Competitive Rivalry Among Sellers
There are many factors that drive competition within the car rental industry. Over the past few years, broadening fleet sizes and increasing profitability has been the focus of most companies within the car rental industry. Enterprise, Hertz and Avis among the leaders have been growing both in sales and fleet sizes. In addition, competition intensifies as firms are constantly trying to improve their current conditions and offer more to consumers. Enterprise has nearly doubled its fleet size since 1993 to approximately 600,000 cars today. Because the industry operates on such narrow profit margins, price competition is not a factor; however, most companies are actively involved in creating values and providing a range of amenities from technological gadgets to even free rental to satisfy customers. Hertz, for example, integrates its Never-Lost GPS system within its cars. Enterprise, on the other hand, uses sophisticated yield management software to manage its fleets.
Finally, Avis uses its OnStar and Skynet system to better serve the consumer base and offers free weekend rental if a customer rents a car for five consecutive days Moreover, the consumer base of the rental car industry has relatively low to no switching cost. Conversely, rental agencies face high fixed operating costs including property rental, insurance and maintenance. Consequently, rental agencies are sensitively pricing there rental cars just to recover operating costs and adequately meet their customers demands. Furthermore, because the industry experienced slow growth in recent years due to economic stagnation that resulted in a massive decline in both corporate travel and the leisure sector, most companies including the industry leaders are aggressively trying to reposition their firms by gradually lessening the dependency level on the airline industry and regaining their footing in the leisure competitive arena.
The Potential Entry of new Competitors
Entering the car rental industry puts new comers at a serious disadvantage. Over the past few years following the economic downturn of 2001, most major rental companies have started increasing their market shares in the vacation sector of the industry as a way of insuring stability and lowering the level of dependency between the airline and the car rental industry. While this trend has engendered long term success for the existing firms, it has heightened the competitive landscape for new comers. Because of the severity of competition, existing firms such as Enterprise, Hertz and Avis carefully monitor their competitive radars to anticipate Sharpe retaliatory strikes against new entrants. Another barrier to entry is created because of the saturation level of the industry.
For example, Enterprise has taken the first mover advantage with its 6000 facilities by saturating the leisure segment thereby placing not only high restrictions on the most common distribution channels, but also high resource requirements for new firms. Today, Enterprise has a rental location within 15 miles of 90 percent of the US population. Because of the network of dealers Enterprise has established around the nation, it has become relatively stable, more recession proof and most importantly, less reliant on the airline industry compared to its competitors. Hertz, on the other hand, is utilizing the full spectrum of its 7200 stores to secure its position in the marketplace. Basically, the emergence of most of the industry leaders into the leisure market not only drives rivalry, but also it varies directly with the level of complexity of entering the car rental industry.
The Threat of Substitute
There are many substitutes available for the car rental industry. From a technological standpoint, renting a car to go the distance for a meeting is a less attractive alternative as opposed to video conferencing, virtual teams and collaboration software with which a company can immediately setup a meeting with its employees from anywhere around the world at a cheaper cost. In addition, there are other alternatives including taking a cab which is a satisfactory substitute relative to quality and switching cost, but it may not be as attractively priced as a rental car for the course of a day or more. While public transportation is the most cost efficient of the alternatives, it is more costly in terms of the process and time it takes to reach one’s destination. Finally, because flying offers convenience, speed and performance, it is a very enticing substitute; however, it is an unattractive alternative in terms of price relative to renting a car. On the business segment, car rental agencies have more protection against substitutes since many companies have implemented travel policies that establish the parameters of when renting a car or using a substitute is the best course of action.
According to Tracy Esch, an Advantage director of marketing operations, her company rents cars up to a 200-mile trip before considering an alternative. Basically, the threat of substitute is reasonably low in the car rental industry since the effects the substitute products have do not pose a significant threat of profit erosion throughout the industry.
The Bargaining Power of Suppliers
Supplier power is low in the car rental industry. Because of the availability of substitutes and the level of competition, suppliers do not have a great deal of influence in the terms and conditions of supplying the rental cars. Because the rental cars are usually purchased in bulk, rental car agents have significant influence over the terms of the sale since they possess the ability to play one supplier against another to lower the sales price. Another factor that reduces supplier power is the absence of switching cost. That is, buyers are not affected from purchasing from one supplier over another and most importantly, changing to different supplier’s products is barely noticeable and does not affect consumer’s rental choices.
The Bargaining Power of Buyers
While the leisure sector has little or no power, the business segment possesses a significant amount of influence in the car rental industry. An interesting trend that is currently underway throughout the industry is forcing car rental companies to adapt to the needs of corporate travelers. This trend significantly reduces supplier power or the rental firms’ power and increases corporate buyer power since the business segment is excruciatingly price sensitive, well informed about the industry’s price structure, purchase in larger quantities and they use the internet to force lower prices. Vacation buyers, on the other hand, have less influence over the rental terms. Because vacationers are usually less price sensitive, purchase in lesser amounts or purchase more infrequently, they have weak bargaining power.
Today the car rental industry is facing a completely different environment than it did five years ago. Competitively speaking, the revolution of the five forces around the car rental industry exerts some strong economic pressure that has significantly tarnished the competitive attractiveness of the industry. As a result of the economic downturn in recent years, many companies went under namely Budget and the Vanguard Group because their business infrastructure succumbed to the untenability of the competitive environment. Today, very few firms including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis return a slightly above-average revenue compared to the rest of the industry. Realistically speaking, the car rental sector is not a very attractive industry because of the level of competition, the barriers to entry and the competitive pressure from the substitute firms.
Strategic Group Mapping
As a moderately concentrated sector, there is a clear hierarchy in the car rental industry. From an economic standpoint, disparities exist from a number of dimensions including revenue, fleet size and the market size each firm holds in the market place. For instance, Enterprise dominates the industry with a fleet size of approximately 600,000 vehicles along with its market size and its level of profitability. Hertz comes in second position with its number of market shares and fleet volume. In addition, Avis ranks third on the map. Avis is among one of the companies that is having issues recovering its revenue margins from prior to the economic downturn. For instance, in 2000 Avis returned revenues of approximately $4.23 billion. Over the course of the next several years following 2000, the revenue of Avis has been significantly lower than that of 2000. As a way of reducing uncertainty most companies are gradually lessening the level of dependency on the airline industry and emerging the leisure market. This trend may not be in the best interest of Hertz since its business strategy is intricately linked to the airports.
Key Success Factors
There are many key success factors that drive profitability throughout the car rental industry. Capacity utilization is one of the factors that determines success in the industry. Because rental firms experience loss of revenue when there are either too few or too many cars sitting in their lots, it is of paramount importance to efficiently manage the fleets. This success factor represents a big strength for the industry since it lowers if not completely eliminates the possibly of running short on rental cars. Efficient distribution is another factor that keeps the industry profitable. Despite the positive relationship between fleet sizes and the level of profitability, firms are constantly growing their fleet sizes because of the competitive forces that surround the industry. In addition, convenience is one of the crucial attributes by which consumers select rental firms. That is, car rental consumers are more prone to renting cars from firms that have convenient rental and drop off locations. Another key success factor that is common among competing firms is the integration of technology in their business processes. Through technology, for instance, the car rental companies create ways to meet consumer demand by making renting a car a very agreeable ordeal by adding the convenience of online rental among other alternatives. Furthermore, firms have integrated navigation systems along with roadside assistance to offer customers the piece of mind when renting cars.
There are many factors that impact the attractiveness of the car rental industry. Because the industry is moderately concentrated, it puts new market entrants at a disadvantage. That is, its low concentration represents a natural barrier to entering the industry as it allows existing firm to anticipate sharp retaliations against new entrants. Because of the risks associated with entering the industry among other factors, it is not a very attractive sector of the marketplace. From a competitive standpoint, the leisure market is 90 percent saturated because of the active efforts of Enterprise to dominate this sector of the market. On the other hand, the airport terminals are heavily guarded by Hertz. Realistically speaking, entry in the industry offers low profitability relative to the costs and risks associated. For most consumers, the main determining factors of choosing one company over another are price and convenience. Because of this reason, rental firms are very circumspect about setting their rates and that generally force even the industry major players in the position of offering more to the consumers for less just to remain competitive. Hertz, for example, offers wireless internet to its customers just to add more convenience to their travel plans. Avis on the other hand, offers free weekend specials if a customer rents a car for five consecutive weekdays. Based on the impact of the five forces, the car rental sector is not a very attractive industry to potential new market entrants.
The rental car industry is in a state of recovery. Although it may seem like the industry is performing well financially, it is nonetheless gradually regaining its footing relative to its actual economic position within the last five years. As a way of insuring profitability, besides seeking market shares and stability, most companies throughout the chain have a common goal that deals with lowering the level of dependency on the airline industry and moving toward the leisure segment. This state of motion has engendered some fierce competition among industry competitors as they attempt to defend their market shares. From a futuristic perspective, the better days of the car rental industry have yet to come. As the level of profitability increases, I believe that most of the industry leaders including Enterprise, Hertz and Avis will be bounded by the economic and competitive barriers of mobility of their strategic groups and new comers will have a better chance of infiltrating and realizing success in the car rental industry.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/491218
Guide to Car Rental Companies in Costa Rica
Rate Comparisons for 2015
Car rental in Costa Rica is an opportunity to explore the remote beaches and quiet corners of this breathtakingly beautiful country. Travel without the restrictions set by public transport timetables and with freedom over group tours. For the unprepared traveler; however, car rental costs and services can be a rude shock and a blow to that vacation budget.
Renting a vehicle for your vacation will probably be the most expensive part of your budget, so understanding the terms and managing expectations is very important. The information below is not meant to be an exhaustive manual, but it should set you on the path towards an informed decision for your car rental needs in Costa Rica.
Why is car rental so expensive?
Visitors from outside of Costa Rica are often surprised by the cost of car rental. While hotel rooms, restaurant bills and tours are lower than the prices paid at home, it may appear strange that car rental should be more costly.
There are two simple reasons for this high cost:
All vehicles in Costa Rica are imported and a tax is imposed. Due to this heavy taxation, the cost of purchasing a vehicle is higher than it would be in other industrialized countries. There are some car rental operators who rent older vehicles in order to reduce their costs.
The cost of mandatory insurance (see below).
Factors that Affect Car Rental Costs
• Mandatory Insurance
Third-party insurance, which may be known as TPI, PDW (Partial Damage Waiver), SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance) and other acronyms, is a legal requirement. Car rental operators must charge the customer for this coverage which may or may not be clear in the quotation received by the customer.
The insurance itself is not the issue. After all, many other countries require car renters to pay a mandatory insurance; including: New Zealand, Italy and Mexico, as well as a number of the U.S. states, like California. The issue that causes contention in Costa Rica is that this cost is not always displayed clearly on the car rental operator’s website or in a quote. Customers then discover the additional cost of their rental upon arrival.
The cost of mandatory insurance varies from company to company and will depend on the car category that is being rented as well. The cost for a small sedan may be as little as $12 per day, whereas a premium 4×4 vehicle could be as much as $25 for insurance per day. This is in addition to the rental cost.
Credit cards in North America usually offer car insurance as an additional perk to the credit card holder and so North Americans in particular, are unused to having to pay for insurance on top of rental costs. However, no credit card will cover this insurance requirement.
Do ask if the given quote includes third-party insurance and check the prices on the car rental operator’s website.
• Collision Damage Waiver
This is not insurance, but a waiver. The basic level will come with a deductible that varies, but could be as much as $1,500. For a higher daily rate, a zero deductible CDW may be purchased to relieve the renter of any financial responsibility in case of damage to, or theft thereof, the vehicle.
Many renters will obtain their CDW through their credit card. However, it is worth noting that the responsibility for making any insurance claim is on the customer and not with the car rental operator. Some renters may choose to purchase additional in-house coverage to avoid having this responsibility.
There will be car rental agencies which hard sell their own coverage plans through guaranteeing peace of mind, but ultimately, this is the renter’s decision. It is worth remembering that car rental company employees, like in other parts of the world, will sometimes earn commission for insurance sales.
If the customer’s credit card does not provide CDW, the customer will be required to purchase this in-house coverage.
Car rental operators require written proof that the customer’s credit card provides CDW. Ask the car rental operator for the exact details of what they require and in what form. Some may accept a forwarded email from the credit card company, but others may ask for a printed copy to be presented at the time of rental.
The deposit amount required will depend on whether the customer chooses to use the car rental operator’s in-house CDW or takes this coverage through a credit card. Expect to pay a much higher deposit if the in-house CDW is declined. The deposit may also depend on car model rented. This amount, which will be held on the renter’s credit card until the end of the rental period, can be from $750 up to as much as $3,500. The deposit should take no more than five days to be refunded to the credit card on the vehicle’s return. Some car rental agencies will accept debit cards for deposit hold, but the return time for this amount can take weeks.
Do ensure that the deposit is calculated in the vacation budget as an unexpected hold of a few thousand dollars on a credit card could otherwise severely cut into vacation spending.
• Airport Taxes
Customers that rent from a car rental operator’s counter within an airport building are obliged to pay the airport tax.
Those car rental operators with a counter at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) are: Alamo/National, Budget, Dollar, Economy and Hertz. These companies will add an additional 12% tax to the rental cost.
Those car rental operators with a counter at Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) are: Avis, Budget and Economy. These companies will add an additional 3% tax to the rental cost.
To avoid this tax, take an airport shuttle with the car rental operator to an office located outside of the airport grounds.
• Surcharges and Other Taxes
There are a number of other obligatory fees that car rental operators may add into the rental cost, display on-screen or show in the quote, or leave undisclosed until the customer’s arrival. These potentially hidden costs may seem small when viewed individually, but these are typically daily rates, so they will add up fast!
These may include:
• License Plate Fee: Less than $2 daily, but differs from company to company.
• Environmental Tax: Less than $1 daily.
• Sales Tax: All sales transactions in Costa Rica are subjected to a 12% government-imposed sales tax.
• Car Washing Fee: Bring back an exceptionally dirty car and the cleaning fee may be added onto the final payment. One car rental operator charges $20 for this additional service.
• Fuel Charges: If the fuel tank is not filled to the same level as it was at the start of the rental period, then the car rental company will charge (usually to the nearest eighth of a tank). This charge is dictated by the car rental operator and it is not subject to the governmentally set fuel price that would be found at any gas station.
Where Should I Reserve the Vehicle?
A common confusion for travelers booking a rental car is the discrepancy between international websites for car rental operators and the Costa Rican website for the same brand. Frequently the international websites are unaware of, or fail to disclose, insurances, taxes and surcharges that will be charged at the counter. This may be due to the fact that many recognized car rental operator brands in Costa Rica are not a foreign branch of the branded car rental operator, but instead are a franchise operation. This factor is also worth considering in terms of expectations concerning customer service and other finer details. The Costa Rican franchise office may have their own style of operating, apart from the same policies and guidelines that the customer may have experienced in other parts of the world.
Understandably then, an online reservation is best made through the local website and not the international site, wherever possible. A number of companies do not have a local website. In this case, do check the details with a local staff member via the telephone and ask for written confirmation of the quote. Experience with live chat on the international websites suggests that whereas staff is trained on terms and conditions governing the main office (usually U.S.A.); they understand little of the policies that must be adhered to in Costa Rica.
Car Rental Comparisons
In May/June of 2013, I compared the pricing and services of a number of car rental operators in Costa Rica and published the findings. To my surprise, the article is still being plagiarized regularly across the Internet which suggests that it is still useful and so an update was required. The prices for this comparison were obtained in December 2014 and January 2015.
The ICT (Costa Rican Institute of Tourism) states that there are thirty registered car rental operators with eight others pending approval. However, there are many more agencies that rent cars to visitors. The car rental operators selected are those which are most frequently used by travelers:
Exclusion of Companies from Final Comparison
Budget, Economy, Payless, and Toyota were contacted, but these four companies did not provide accurate online rates. Economy and Budget’s websites have one price, regardless of the dates entered and customers need to reserve a vehicle in order for them to honor the price shown. Toyota’s website was unfortunately only working up until March. Beyond that, the pricing displayed $0 for the remainder of the year. Payless has this disclaimer on their website: “Taxes and surcharges are not within our control and may change without notice.”
Sending individual inquiries for each time period resulted in inconsistent results: Budget offered the same price for all three investigated time periods when receiving an email request, which is highly unlikely; Economy responded with different quotes for the same dates from different members of staff; and Toyota’s emailed quotes for time periods past March’s prices indicated online did not correspond to the March rates quoted (perhaps the emailed quotes contained taxes that were not shown online). Payless can provide quotes via email and telephone, but were not consistent with pricing for different seasons.
Avis is only excluded from the price comparison, as they do not have an intermediate SUV category in their fleet.
Car rental rate, all taxes and surcharges, and third-party insurance costs are (supposedly) calculated and ranked accordingly below based on the week’s rental of a BeGo or similar intermediate 4×4 from a San Jose/Alajuela location (not from the airport).
Rates are calculated on a weekly basis and divided by seven to provide a daily cost which is more easily comparable. As not all pricing is completely transparent, the prices are as accurate as possible based on the information provided from the car rental operators’ websites, phone calls, and/or emails. Airport taxes are not included in these figures.
Shoulder Season (Quote for July 13 through 20)
1. USave $43.37
2. Service $54.92
3. Fox $55.64
4. Hertz $58.17
5. Adobe $60.13
6. Alamo $60.99
7. Wild Rider $62.86
8. Dollar $63.35
9. Vamos $64.15
10. National $67.04
11. Thrifty $74.39
Low Season (Quote for May 13 through 20)
1. National $37.04
2. USave $43.37
3. Dollar $46.49
4. Adobe $52.57
5. Vamos $53.15
6. Service $53.49
7. Hertz $54.59
8. Fox $55.64
9. Wild Rider $55.71
10. Alamo $60.99
11. Thrifty $74.39
High Season (Quote for March 13 through 20)
1. Dollar $55.92
2. USave $56.22
3. Hertz $56.37
4. Fox $59.36
5. Thrifty $64.69
6. Service $66.63
7. Vamos $67.14
8. Alamo $69.56
9. Wild Rider $70.00
10. Adobe $70.63
11. National $73.90
Summary of Comparison
Interestingly, there is not one clear expensive or cheap company from those compared. The variation in ranking between seasons is marked and customers should consider their vacation dates when choosing the car rental operator. For example, Thrifty appears as the most costly for both low and shoulder season, but are only in fourth position in the rankings for High Season.
It is also significant that pricing is not consistent with ranking with car rental operators in other car categories. For example, Vamos’ pricing is the cheapest for a premium vehicle in the shoulder season; although they are not first in any rankings for the intermediate category and Adobe which appears competitive are the most expensive for this time period and car category.
Information on Car Rental Operators
Adobe Rent-A-Car is a local car rental operator that has eleven offices across the country. The website is simple and easy to use with no apparent hidden costs. The mandatory insurance cost is displayed as part of the online quote. The company receives mixed reviews online, but more positive than negative comments are made. Emails receive a reply within 24 hours, but may not fully answer the questions asked.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-855-861-1250
Child Seat: $3/day
Additional Driver: $3/day
GPS System: $9/day
Alamo works in partnership with National and has thirteen offices across the country. As with many big names, Alamo Costa Rica is a franchise and not a branch of Alamo itself. Third-party insurance and basic CDW are included in the online quotation, although the CDW may be refused upon presentation of proof of coverage through the customer’s credit card. This makes the pricing seem high on first glance, especially when, unlike other car rental operators, Alamo includes airport taxes in their online quotation and so their pricing is honest, but appears much higher than other companies as a result. Pricing is different on the international website of the company, although the terms and conditions do state the fees that will be paid on arrival. This pricing discrepancy is the lead cause of negative reviews for this company. Emails are responded to within 24 hours.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-855-533-1196
Child Seat: $3/day
Additional Driver: $6/day
GPS System: $12/day
Avis’ website obliges one to select a car protection option, but it fails to display a final quotation total or price for the coverage selected online until an emailed quote is sent. Coverage costs may be obtained by clicking on the option ‘Protections Explained’ at the bottom of the screen.
No Toll-Free Phone Number
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $5/day
GPS System: $9.99/day
Budget has a website that is easy to use, but the pricing given is as the same for all seasons, suggesting that it is not correct. Email responses were normally fast, but some were left unanswered. Emailed quotes showed the same pricing for all seasons as the website did. Mandatory insurance is not included on the online quote, but the small print states that this is payable at the counter. Budget receives mixed online reviews.
No Toll-Free Phone Number, but Live Chat is offered
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $5/day
GPS System: $14.99/day
Dollar appears to have very competitive rates, but airport taxes will be applied if the vehicle is being collected from the airport’s counters. One may find this in their terms and conditions, but not in their online quotes. Car washing charge is enforced for very dirty vehicles. There are four offices in Liberia and San Jose. Email response is within 24 hours. Dollar receives mixed reviews from online travel forums.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-877-767-8651
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $5/day
GPS System: $9/day
Economy has twelve offices around the country. They have no Costa Rican website. Scroll down on their page to find and click on insurance costs. Airport taxes are not included in the quote. Emails receive either a quick response or no response at all. Economy has the worst online reputation of any big name car rental operator in Costa Rica.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-877-326-7368
Child Seat: $10/day
Additional Driver: $10/day
GPS System: $15/day
Fox works in partnership with USave. Offices are located at both international airports. Emails receive a response within 24 hours. Online reviews are generally poor.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-225-4369
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $10/day (unless spouse)
GPS System: $9.99/day
Hertz has six offices in the country. Reservations may be made through a Costa Rican website. Initial online quote does not include sales taxes, but it does include the CDW — although CDW may be waived with proof of credit card coverage. Emails receive a response within 24 hours. Mediocre reviews on travel forums.
No Toll-Free Phone Number
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $13/day
GPS System: $12/day
National works in partnership with Alamo and has thirty offices in operation across the country. The company has a Central American website, as well as the international site, which clearly shows the breakdown of pricing. CDW is included in the online quote, but it may be unchecked to get a quote with just the mandatory insurance. Note that the airport tax is included in the online quote as well. Instant responses to questions are available through Live Chat on their website. Reviews are mixed, but there are more positive than negative.
Free Phone Call Option Via Website
Child Seat: $6/day
Additional Driver: $5/day
GPS System: $12/day
Payless is part of the international car rental company and has no Costa Rican website. Online quotes do not include third-party insurance, although the information on this may be found by reading the policies for the San Jose location. Emails receive a response in less than 24 hours, but tend to refer back to the website, rather than new information. Reviews are more negative than positive.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-PAYLESS
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $10/day
GPS System: $9.95/day
Service is a local company with five offices in the country. On an otherwise clear website, click on ‘Reserve Now’ and not ‘Get a Quote’ for an online price check. Rember is the staff member mentioned in reviews on travel forum for his helpful customer service and the company generally gets good reviews. Emails are answered within 24 hours and normally provide requested information.
U.S. Phone Number: 1-305-897-3718
Child Seat: $3.50/day
Additional Driver: $3/day
GPS System: $7.50/day
Thrifty does not have a local website, thus information is through the international website. Coverage options or information regarding third-party insurance is not provided on the reservation webpage until one clicks ‘Protection Information’. Emails receive a response within 24 hours, but may not answer location-specific questions. Reviews are frequently negative due to pricing complaints.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-344-1705
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $12/day
GPS System: $11.99/day
Toyota is a big name; however, even though their website appears professional at first glance, it simply does not work, or at least it was not functioning in order to obtain quotations later than March 2015. Their online quotes do not include sales taxes. Emails receive fast responses, but quotes for different seasons appeared to be contradictory. However, Toyota has a good reputation on travel forums. Eight offices are located across the country.
Free Phone Call Option Via Website
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $3/day
GPS System: $10/day
USave works in partnership with Fox and has three office locations. Insurance options are shown for the online quote, but it must be selected and ‘recalculate’ pressed, before it is included in the pricing. Emails receive a response within 24 hours. The company receive overall poor reviews, although there are some positive comments made on travel forums.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-467-3659
Child Seat: $5/day
Additional Driver: $10/day
GPS System: $9.95/day
Vamos is a local company that is a popular choice for Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet experts because of their customer service and pricing. The website is easy to use with itemized charges clearly displayed. The Live Chat option enables instant personalized quotes and answers from English-speaking staff. The company has three offices.
Toll-Free Phone Number: 1-800-950-8426
Child Seat: free
Additional Driver: free
GPS System: $8/day
Wild Rider is a small, local company located only in San Jose. The website is simple with third-party insurance included in the pricing. At the start of this research, the pricing was not up to date, but this has since been remedied. This car rental operator stands out by having only positive reviews and so is highly recommended by travel forum users. Owner, Thorsten, replies within the hour to inquiries during office hours.
U.S. Phone Number: 1-917-477-7712
Child Seat: $5/day
GPS System: $8/day
Adobe, Alamo, National, Service, Vamos, and Wild Rider provide clear and complete rates on their websites. The other car rental operators were less transparent with surcharges or taxes, such as airport taxes or sales taxes. Pricing on additional extras were not always easy to find, and Avis, Thrifty and Toyota had to be contacted for these details.
Levels of communication have improved since the first comparison, although it would seem wise to request a local number and confirm answers with the Costa Rica office of the international car rental operators, as international chat operators or those replying to emails, do not always seem 100% confident about local policies and may even give incorrect information.
Be prepared to exchange a number of emails in order to get full answers to questions with a number of companies: Budget and Economy were particularly prone to this — requesting a lot of information in order to give a quotation. It is not unreasonable that members of staff working in a second language may miss aspects of an email, so present questions in clear and simple language.
Live Chat on both the Budget and Vamos websites mean information can be provided instantly and is still documented, unlike a phone call.
The comparison above shows that the pricing between companies depends heavily on the season and car category being considered, rather than a clear cut choice between more or less expensive rental rates.
Customers need to consider the pricing of other items, such as additional drivers or GPS system, and families will want to compare car seat rental pricing. Wild Rider offers the first additional driver for free, Vamos do not charge for any extras, except the GPS, and in general, the international firms have higher charges for these extras than the local companies.
So Who Do I Rent From?
It is clear that the local car rental operators are still trumping the big names in their transparency and customer service when comparing their websites and online reviews. The difference from the previous rate comparison from a couple of years ago is that the pricing has become more difficult to equate.
Adobe, Alamo, and National seem to rate well as international car rental operators. It is worth noting that National is the most expensive in high season for the intermediate category, yet the cheapest in low season. Adobe and Alamo are middle-ranked for pricing.
Wild Rider is exceptional in having zero bad reviews, but is only based in San Jose and has a much smaller fleet of vehicles. Of the other local firms, Service and Vamos come out well and Vamos’ free additional extras will appeal to budget-minded travelers and families with young children. Service also offers these extras at low daily rates.
Last but Certainly not Least…
If you have made it all the way through this article, then you are prepared to begin your research into your vacation car rental, armed with facts and ready to recognize those prices that are just too good to be true! Have a wonderful (and affordable) vacation in beautiful Costa Rica!
Now you know it all, what are you waiting for? Get booking your rental vehicle for an unforgettable vacation that you’ll remember for all the right reasons.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8949749