Europcar Lost and Found Surprises

Europcar, the Europe-based car rental company, has announced a list of the weirdest things that have been left inside its rental vehicles, on completion of a rental.

So what are the most common things left in a rental car by its passengers? Well, they can be anything from sunglasses and CDs, to loose change. But as for Europcar’s most weird lost and found article list, here are its favourites in 2012:

*     A live mouse in a cage

*    Two 6×10 ft oil paintings

*    30 plants

*    A hedge trimmer

The most memorable of them was perhaps an urn of ashes left in the car when the car was returned at the company’s Belfast City Airport branch. The ashes belonged to a customer’s mother, and the customer was grateful to have them back, to scatter them at her mother’s birthplace and fulfil a promise.

Second only to the urn of ashes was a life-size dummy doll in old clothes, which was mistaken for a dead body at the Blackpool Station location outlet of the company.

Ken McCall, the managing director of Europcar UK Group, said, ‘Judging from our lost property, our vehicles have a tale to tell. But our staff always go out of their way to reunite our customers with their forgotten items, no matter how bizarre.’

Earlier, the company hosted a Europcar Caraoke Competition, which ran from July to August 2012 simultaneously on the YouTube and Facebook social media channels of the company to increase its fan base. Weekly prizes were offered, as well as a grand prize of a Fiat 500 car.

Ken McCall, commenting on the competition, said, ‘We are absolutely delighted for our winner, David, and want to thank everyone who took part in this very successful competition. It was another example of Europcar’s focus on engaging with consumers, using social media to create a buzz around our brand by reaching out to a new audience. We had a 33% increase in Facebook ‘likes’ equating to a quarter of a million additional reach since the start of the competition so we’re very pleased with the results achieved.’

Sixt to Operate In Ireland through Franchise Partner

Sixt, a European car rental company, has expanded its services in Ireland, as it partners with an Ireland-based car rental company.

The company will now be able to offer an exclusive portfolio of rental cars to its customers in Ireland, with models ranging from Opel and Toyota, to Audi and Mercedes, in all sizes, to include small and mid-size cars, SUVs, premium vehicles, and minibuses. The vehicles may be picked up from a number of locations in and around Dublin, catering to the requirements of both leisure and business travellers. Customers may also book a vehicle in Ireland, using the company website, www.sixt.com.

Sixt customers can now also benefit from a new and improved range of services in Ireland. Sixt, Germany’s largest vehicle rental company, and one that is claimed to be a provider of high-quality mobility services, has joined forces with a strong vehicle rental partner on the Emerald Isle. The franchisee has around 20 years’ experience in the field and is claimed to be renowned for its outstanding service.

Detlef Krehahn, the senior vice president of international franchise, at Sixt, said, ‘We are delighted to have on board such an experienced company with the highest standards in quality and service as our partner in Ireland. Private and business customers alike will soon benefit from this new partnership. What’s more, the new partnership will make a key contribution to creating synergies between Sixt partners and companies in Ireland and the United Kingdom in the vehicle rental and leasing sectors.’

Hertz Car Rental to Merge With Dollar Thrifty

Hertz Global Holdings, a US-based car rental company offering services across the globe, will be acquiring its car rental rival, Dollar Thrifty.

The acquisition is valued at around $2.3 billion and will be a consolidation of the various brands of car rental owned by both the companies, under a single entity.

As part of the merger, Hertz will be selling off its budget car rental brand, Advantage, to offset likely competition controversies in the US. The merger will see a synergy of the three biggest car rental brands, Hertz, Dollar Rent A Car, and Thrifty Rental.

Hertz chief executive officer, Mark Frissora, said, ‘We are pleased to have finally reached an agreement with Dollar Thrifty after a lengthy – but worthwhile – pursuit. We have always believed that a combination with Dollar Thrifty is the best strategic option for both companies.

The transaction provides Hertz instant scale with two new, well-established brands with airport concession infrastructure in the mid-tier value segment. We’ll be a stronger global competitive player with a full range of rental options not only in the US but in Europe and other markets given Dollar Thrifty’s strong international presence.

In addition, we look forward to moving efficiently and swiftly through the regulatory process having reached an agreement to divest our Advantage brand.’

Scott Thompson, the chief executive officer of Dollar Thrifty, said, ‘Hertz has made a compelling offer to our stockholders that reflects the strength of our business and our team. Hertz is the logical partner for us with the resources to expand our value focused leisure brands in key car rental markets around the world.

After three years of merger-related activity and speculation, I am pleased that we have reached a win-win transaction for both Hertz and Dollar Thrifty.’

Europcar Offers New Service in London

Europcar Groupe SA, a France-based car rental company, is launching a new fast track service in London, UK.

The company is offering its customers in the capital a London Key Ready initiative, which is currently on trial at its Kings Cross location. The initiative allows the customer to collect their vehicle key from a locker and drive away their car rental without having to visit a rental counter.

The London Key Ready programme is available to selected customers that organise the booking for their vehicle through the company website or call centre. The customers will receive a secure PIN, against which they can collect the vehicle key and paperwork from a Key Ready locker.

Ken McCall, the company managing director, for Europcar UK Group¸ said, ‘We aim to provide customers with as efficient a service as possible for vehicle collection so that they can get on their way with their journey without delay.

But London Key Ready takes this one step further, demonstrating our sustained commitment to providing travellers with highest level of convenience, choice and simplicity throughout their journey.

During the trial at our Kings Cross location, selected customers who may be arriving by train will be able walk the short distance to the branch to collect their vehicle key from the designated locker so that they can get on the road in minutes.

London Key Ready meets our goal to provide today’s busy travellers with a constantly evolving range of services designed to meet their needs and make their journey easier.’

Travellers Advised to Read Car Rental Fine Print

Travellers hiring a car during a vacation are not paying enough attention to the small print, according to online car insurance company, Carhireinsurance.co.uk.

The company has stated that travellers are often ignorant of rules that include paying for replacement costs in case of damage as part of an additional cost, or excess. The excess may range from GBP500 to GBP2000, and is often used to pay for minor damage to the car. It is important for travellers booking car rental to be aware whether they have paid for insurance that also covers the excess.

Ben Simpson, the spokesperson for Car-hire-insurance.co.uk, said, ‘Customers often panic-buy excess insurance policies from the supplier at the pick-up location when they are informed about the potential high costs involved if they damage the vehicle in circumstances not included in their basic policy. This last minute buying means the prices paid at the rental desk aren’t as competitive as buying excess policies online ahead of travelling.

Customers need to be aware that they will be required to leave a deposit to the value of the excess on the hire car when they pick up the vehicle, however, the money customers save as a result of buying an excess insurance policy in advance and the increased cover they get with this policy compared with a rental desk policy makes it a worthwhile product to purchase.

The important point for customers to remember is that if you have already purchased a policy ahead of picking up the vehicle it is not necessary to purchase an additional policy as you will be fully covered for the excess.

We advise all customers hiring a vehicle to shop around for the best possible price for their excess insurance policy prior to going on holiday as this can save you significant amounts of money in both purchasing the policy and in the event that the vehicle is damaged.’

 

Car Hire Upturn As Olympic Games Draw Near

The demand for car hire has taken an upswing in London for the Olympic games period, even as UK-based government agency, Transport for London (TfL), has advised UK residents in the city to make best use of public transport, bicycles, and walking to reach their destinations while the games are taking place.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games commence from July 27, 2012, and end on September 9, 2012. Around 150,000 international visitors are expected to be in the city for the world’s largest sporting event.

A UK based car hire company, Carrentals.co.uk, has reported that around 40 percent of its UK bookings have been made for a London pick-up. Around half of all of the company’s bookings that are due for pick-up between July 20 and August 8 have been made by UK residents, which is indicative of the level of interest that the event is generating at home.

The company managing director, Gareth Robinson, said, ‘People are tempted to head to the Eurozone this summer due to the current exchange rates, but Brits are known for their patriotism and being the hosting nation for the Olympics is something people are proud of and want to be a part of. This has been reflected in the booking patterns we’re seeing – the convenience and cost-effectiveness of hiring a car is outweighing the reports of extra congestion in London.

In order to avoid any disappointment, especially for those travelling to London to enjoy the games, it is important to take note of the advice out there and give yourself extra time to reach your destination. We would also suggest checking the opening hours of the car hire desk to ensure you have enough time to drop off your vehicle before your onward journey.’

 

Avis Mobile Wi-Fi Device at Edinburgh Airport on Car Rentals

Avis Budget UK, the UK-based subsidiary of car rental company, Avis Budget Group, is offering a mobile Internet service to customers that rent their Avis vehicles at Edinburgh Airport, in Scotland.

For rental prices commencing from £8.50 per day, the company’s customers can stay connected to their businesses and social circles via the mobile hotspots. The new service may be booked through the rental company’s call centres, and the portable hotspots may connect to as many as five devices at once, including laptops, smart phones, tablets and game consoles.

Kaye Ceille, the company managing director, said, ‘Internet access is becoming essential for business and leisure travellers and an increasing number of people require daily internet access whilst abroad to contact the office, read their emails or simply keep up to date with news and friends and family via social networking sites.

Avis’ Mobile Wi-Fi product means that Avis customers can benefit from ‘being connected’ without the risk of high charges or the worry of unexpected bills on arrival home. We hope our customers will take the opportunity to try this new product which is a cheap and convenient solution to keeping in touch.’

The customers can use the Mobile Wi-Fi to surf, stream and download content at fixed daily prices, and return the device when returning their hire car to the company’s Edinburgh Airport location.

Currently, the product is also available at Dusseldorf Airport, Berlin Tegel Airport, Munich Airport, Hanover Airport, Hamburg Airport, Stuttgart Airport and Frankfurt Airport, in Germany.

Europcar to Utilise Electric Bikes for London Vehicle Deliveries During Olympics

Europcar Groupe SA, a France-based car rental company, will be using electric bikes to facilitate the delivery and collection of its hire cars during the London 2012 Olympics.

The company has renewed its pledge to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions and, at the same time, reduce traffic congestion and speed up its service, by providing its delivery operatives with electric bikes when delivering and collecting cars from customers. The bikes can be folded and put in the boot of a car when not in use. The service has been developed in collaboration with logistics company, AutoClenz.

Ken McCall, the managing director, Europcar UK Group, said, ‘There’s no question that getting around London during July and August will be more challenging. But for some businesses and individuals there’s just no way to avoid using their vehicles rather than public transport. Our goal is to do as much as possible to make these journeys stress-free, without adding to the congestion with our own delivery and collection vehicles.

Working in partnership with AutoClenz, their delivery and collection agents will be able to get around more quickly than if they were on 4 wheels, especially around the more congested areas. This is part of our commitment to delivering the same quality service to our customers during this intensely busy period.’

Transport for London (TfL), a government body looking after transport services in Greater London, has advised tourists and residents of the city of London to use public transport as much as possible, until September, 2012.

The London 2012 Festival, a 12-week celebration for international travellers visiting London for the 2012 Olympics Games, has also urged Olympics fans to use bicycles or electric bikes to reach the Games venues.

Sixt Launches Luxury Car Rental Service in UK

Sixt, a European car rental company, has recently included a range of high-end luxury vehicles for rental in the UK.

The company is offering a new vehicle range that includes the Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari California, Porsche, Land Rover, Rolls Royce and Bentley models, for short term and long term rentals. The models are available from the company’s 20 or so van and car rental locations in London, including those at Heathrow Airport and Stansted Airport. The airport outlets will also be offering last minute deals on car rentals.

For those customers outside London, the company will arrange to drop off a car to their home or workplace for an additional payment. The new service is intended to expand the company’s portfolio to include a car for every budget.

Paul McLoughlin, the managing director of Sixt UK, said, ‘Our business is going from strength to strength and we are really excited to launch our new premium vehicle rental service as part of our ongoing expansion in the UK.

Our growing offering now includes a convenient, flexible way of renting luxury cars at a fraction of the cost of ownership – catering for customers looking to hire for a special occasion, right up to large-scale corporate businesses requiring top-end, long term rentals.

The flexibility of the service will also give luxury car-owners access to short-term replacement cars straight away.’

Fortunate customers can also benefit from the company’s offer of five pairs of tickets for the Farnborough Airshow, to be held in Hampshire, UK, from July 14 to 15. 2012.

Hertz Upgrades Customer Service Programmes

Hertz Global Holdings, a US-based car rental company that provides services across the globe, is expanding its customer service offerings.

The company is currently offering mobile and on-site service options, as part of its ‘Travelling at the Speed of Hertz’ campaign, in a bid to improve customer services.

The company chairman and chief executive officer, Mark P Frissora, said, ‘Hertz is responding to the exponential growth of mobile technology to streamline consumers’ lives, including business and leisure travel. Customers love our Mobile Gold ‘Carfirmations’ because the service provides consumers confidence that their rental vehicle is ready to go. Hertz’s suite of technological innovations is a key element of our commitment to make the car rental experience the fastest and easiest in the industry.’

The Hertz Gold Choice programme is also currently available at 48 US locations and 7 European locations, and will be available in another 10 locations in the coming year. Hertz ExpressRent Kiosks, which allow customers to rent a car through a video kiosk, are currently live at 153 airports and other locations.

The company is also offering Mobile Gold Alerts, a mobile email and text service that confirms a customer reservation; an option for Hertz Gold Choice members to select their car; and email confirmation of a car receipt for Hertz Gold Plus Rewards programme members.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards programme members enjoy a variety of rental lengths and car types including the Prestige, Fun or Adrenaline, Green Collections in Europe and America, the Family Collection in Europe, and specialty vehicles in Australia, Brazil and New Zealand.