THE boom in online shopping across the Middle East is spreading to car rentals, and Hertz UAE expects major growth in 2011 to continue at the same rate this year. The UAE market leader announced that it experienced a 35 per cent increase in online bookings for daily and weekly car rentals in 2011 over 2010.
Neil Munro, sales and marketing manager, Hertz UAE says, “In 2011, we experienced more demand for partner oriented solutions, and this is another trend we expect to continue this year. Corporates are looking for more diversified products, such as buses and chauffeur services when hosting events. They want help with their holistic solutions these days, rather than a few vehicles for a couple of weeks.”
Online shoppers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt spent $1.01 billion on internet retail sites last year, and Hertz UAE’s online sales growth was driven by increased brand awareness.
He further added, “We have made a huge investment in the people in our business through implementation of both employee and customer engagement programmes. This is part of a major culture change in the way that we both engage and incentivise people, and the results have been very encouraging.
“Naturally, this is something we will be building on in 2012 and in the years ahead.”
Speaking about its brand presence in the region Munro added, “Hertz is the market leader in the UAE in terms of size of fleet and our overall operation which consists of 15 locations across the Emirates. We also lead in terms of overall brand awareness, as emphasised by the fact that for the third consecutive year in 2011, Hertz UAE was recognised as a ‘Superbrand’ by a panel of top UAE business leaders and more than 2,500 marketing professionals following a rigorous selection process.”
Some of the key highlights for Hertz last year included the launch of the Hertz #1 Club Gold service programme at our locations at Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai International Airport in a move to provide travellers with the quickest possible service. The #1 Club Gold service at both airports offer customers exclusive benefits including faster reservations, a speedy vehicle pick up process and VIP treatment every time they rent a Hertz car.
“We were also delighted to provide UAE residents travelling abroad with the opportunity to save money on their car rental when we launched our new website, www.hertz.ae, which allows them to pay in advance and in the local UAE currency. This was part of Hertz International’s ongoing mission to offer its Middle East customers the best rental pricing for travel abroad. The new ‘pre-paid product’ means Hertz customers no longer have to pay for cars upon arrival at their destination city” said Munro.
He further added, “At Hertz UAE we have a preventative approach to road safety and we were active in this field again last year. For instance, we joined forces with the non-profit safety organisation, Buckle-up in the Back, to promote the use of child safety seats and seat belts across the UAE.
Hertz today boasts of one of the largest, and youngest, short term hire fleets in the UAE with full national coverage. “This meant that, for existing vehicles, we were able to formulate a convenient extension to existing agreements to ensure an uninterrupted full feature service.
”We have also faced challenges in that the corporate sector has been very cautious in terms of leasing, particularly in Abu Dhabi where the growth curve has levelled off as a lot of projects have been scaled back,” explained Munro.
“We have set an ambitious target to further add around 4,000 vehicles to our fleet this year to service our retail and corporate customers.”
Looking ahead into 2012, Munro expects to see a big increase in demand for our chauffeur capabilities and for the services offered in the event management sector. “We are very active in the areas of corporate and social responsibility and will be looking to do even more of this year for the benefit of the local communities across the UAE where we operate” he said.
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