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Hertz subsidiary cuts frills and prices

Mobility & Transport

Airlines proved that passengers are willing to book online and get their boarding passes from airport kiosks if it meant saving money. Now Hertz Rent A Car has applied the concept to its Simply Wheelz budget-priced subsidiary, which debuted in September. Weekend rental rates start at just USD 15 dollars a day and weekly rates start under USD 100. To get those savings, customers must book online and check in via an electronic kiosk at the airport. Customers can choose online from 8 car models. When they arrive at Simply Wheelz’ airport location, they let a self-service rental machine scan the bar code on their printed web reservation. The machine also scans the renter’s driver’s license, and lets the customer select from a few options such as adding drivers, renting a portable GPS system or booster seats for children, after which it assigns a vehicle and prints the rental agreement. Renters can then go directly to their cars. One-way rentals aren’t allowed, minimum rental periods apply and customers don’t receive frequent flyer miles. Hertz launched Simply Wheelz in Orlando, Florida, where cost-conscious family travellers en route to Disney World can already choose from a multitude of budget car-rental companies. As the Orlando Sentinel reported, Hertz, which announced plans to cut more than 1,000 jobs early this year, may be targeting leisure travellers as a way to boost margins. But that shouldn’t take anything away from Simply Wheelz’s automated, no-frills approach. The trend, which began decades ago when consumers showed they were willing to pump their own gas, bus their own tables and check out their own groceries has firmly taken hold—all the more so as companies find new ways to integrate the web into the sales process, cutting costs and offering a segment of customers the convenience and lower prices they desire. Even if you’re not in the car-rental business, you can still capitalize on this trend by devising ways to streamline interactions with customers, whether it’s self check-in technology at the gym or movie tickets booked via text message. Or go with the inevitable counter-trend, offering high service and high touch for fewer sales and higher margins 😉 (Related: Mobile car rental, wherever it’s needed.)



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