Bookings for car rentals online has seen a sharp surge as the boom in online shopping across the Middle East spreads, and Hertz UAE expects this to grow even stronger in 2012. 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.
“In 2011, we experienced more demand for partner oriented solutions, and this is another trend we expect to continue this year,” says Hertz UAE sales and marketing manager Neil Munro. “Corporate businesses 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 $1.01bn on internet retail sites last year, and Hertz UAE’s online sales growth was driven by increased brand awareness.
“We have made a huge investment in the people in our business through implementation of both employee and customer engagement programmes,” says Munro.
“There are plans to further grow this in 2012 and in the years ahead. We have also set an ambitious target to further add around 4,000 vehicles to our fleet this year to service our retail and corporate customers.”
Speaking about its brand presence in the region Munro says: “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 proud to be the first car rental company in the Middle East to introduce a loyalty programme of this kind in the region. Our Club Gold members flying into Abu Dhabi and Dubai only have to produce their driver’s licence to process their reservation, before going straight to their vehicle, waiting for them in a designated ‘gold’ parking area near the counter.”
“UAE residents travelling abroad now also have the opportunity to save money on their car rental through our 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,” says Munro.
The company is also committed to take a preventative approach to road safety. “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,” he says.
“The group’s ultimate goal is to change UAE laws to make it mandatory for all passengers to wear a seat belt in the front and rear of vehicles, and to seat children in approved child seats while on the road. We supported the campaign by displaying colourful Buckle Up in the Back pamphlets and brochures in each of our 14 locations across the UAE, and worked with the group to communicate the ‘Buckle Up’ message.”
One of the biggest challenges in 2011 came when the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, which severely disrupted the automotive industry, the net effect of which in the UAE was that some vehicles were only available on a long lead time.
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 says.
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