THIERRY Domballe, regional director, Mediterranean, Middle East & Ireland, Avis Europe, tells SHALU CHANDRAN what the brand hopes to achieve in 2007. Excerpts:
What’s been your biggest achievement in 2006?
We have seen a very strong growth in car hire, leasing and chauffeur segments in all Middle East countries, driving significant fleet increase. This increase has been particularly strong in the Gulf area, especially in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE who have benefited, but also grown much faster than the already high levels GDP growth. If the growth was mainly driven at the back of corporate business, the region has also benefited from the leisure development, and the outbound focus from all countries throughout the Avis network.
What are the company’s plans for 2007?
The objective for 2007 is to build upon the 2006 expansion, and continue driving double digit growth in all countries. The main focus will be on the quality of service offered consistently in all countries, enabling us to capitalize on the already high loyalty level, by attracting new customers. Being easy and straightforward is, and will remain a key objective.
Being close to our customers will be essential, and all countries have ambitious plans to continue expanding the network by opening new locations. We wish to be in touch with them, and offer easy access to be able to make reservations, through traditional distribution channels such as reservation offices, but also through the travel industry distribution. As the internet develops in the region, there will be an even higher focus on e-commerce, placing country web sites at the very heart of this strategy, and looking for pioneering solutions.
Is Avis bullish about 2007?
We are clearly ambitious about 2007 at the back of our success in the region, and are confident that this year will continue showing strong development by being focused on the strength of the Avis brand, and its core value.
What’s your strategy in the face of new brands raising the stakes in the market?
As the region benefits from high development levels, this opens the door for growth opportunity, and attracts competition. By focusing on high quality standard, and well positioned pricing strategy, we wish to offer customers the best renting experience through superior service, and have them choosing Avis everywhere.
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