Alamo to drive into region this year


Even as With leisure car rental firm Alamo opens a Dubai office, TTN’s SHALU CHANDRAN sat down with Peter Blott, managing director of the Alamo and National brands, to find out more. Excerpts:

What prompted the launch of Alamo leisure rentals in Dubai? 
The National brand is our premium corporate brand and our mainstream business. The Alamo brand exists for the leisure market and is probably the largest leisure car rental provider in the world, particularly in the North American and European sun belts. Globally, they work in tandem. Alamo in the region will be operated by the National franchisee. So they will be operating two brands. This is because there clearly is an increasing market for leisure car rental as much as corporate car rental.

What are your plans for the region now?
We are currently making the travel trade market aware that we have a corporate presence with Alamo, in order to build a direct relationship with them. We plan to open corporate accounts with them and they use us for their international bookings for leisure car rentals. We will also roll out the Alamo brand operations in the Middle East later this year. That will reach the travel trade players with whom we have international business; with can automatically book us in the region too.

What is the main difference between Alamo and National Car Rental brands?
They are different in terms of pricing. Alamo prices are fixed for vacationers, and so, they feel it is cheaper. It is vacation-oriented.
I mean, if you stay in a hotel on a corporate rate, it will be more expensive than if you go on a special weekend or holiday package.
In terms of fleet, both have cars anybody would want whether driving corporate or personal.

What about competition with the local brands?
It is a matter of accepting and identifying that the Alamo brand has a name in the travel trade. There is no education needed for people in the travel trade, they all know Alamo. So, that itself is a flying start for us. So, we’ve actually got Alamo locations on the ground and we have already signed up for outbound business from the ME. The logical conclusion is if it’s available in the ME, they will book it from the ME as well.

Are there plans to increase your National franchises regionally?
For National, we are currently working on deals in Oman, Libya and Saudi Arabia which will give us ten countries in the Middle East. And we from here are responsible for 15 countries, so that’s 75 per cent of the way there, that’s quite a network.

What about customer services?
As we speak, we are just about to launch our global loyalty programme called the Emerald Club, which identifies the person who holds it as a preferred National customer.