The nation’s leading airport car rental company wants to remove the pain from the experience and is branding the global push “Road Trip by Hertz.”
Instead of lines, the reinvented retail locations offer concierge style service, iPad stations for researching local information while recharging devices, as well as printers and FedEx service.
The destinations are also going retail. Beyond maps, food and drink, travelers can purchase sunscreen, beach bags, charging cords, extra luggage or the other types of things that tend to be left behind.
It’s all part of the need to avoid commoditization in the industry and justify a higher price point, says car rental industry analyst Neil Abrams, president of Abrams Consulting Group in Purchase, N.Y.
“At the end of the day, a car is a car,” Abrams tells Marketing Daily. “They’re all buying newer late models -- clean, well-maintained vehicles.”
Hertz, which also markets itself as offering such unique driving experiences as the Hertz Penske GT, was actually able to raise prices this year by 3.3% overall and by 4.4% at U.S. airport locations, according to investor filings.
Hertz aims to retrofit all 8,800 of its locations in 150 countries by 2015. So far, San Diego and Shanghai airports, the Marble Arch location in London and the Melbourne, Australia, headquarters are among 800 to sport the new “lifestyle experience.”
Hertz is also enhancing the technology on its bus fleet, so travelers can tell via app when the next pickup bus will arrive at the terminal.
Hertz Global Holdings, Avis Budget Group and Enterprise (with the National and Alamo brands), now control roughly 95% of the U.S. car rental market, Abrams says.
While rental car companies historically suffer in economic downturns, Hertz has been expanding into new territory offering 24/7 services for city dwellers. The company also owns the Dollar and Thrifty brands.
There are no plans to advertise the program specifically, but the new centers will feature prominently in future Hertz advertising and video, according to a spokesperson.