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Hertz believes the company has assembled all the big pieces it needs. That includes buying Dollar Thrifty to attack the mid-tier market, and a slew of car-sharing technology acquisitions. Now the company can focus on lubricating the customer experience to make it more fluid.
Road warriors renting cars want speed and Hertz plans to introduce tablets later this year in the company’s cars and to expand the deployment of ExpressRent audio/video kiosks at rental locations to get customers in and out of their vehicles faster.
Speaking at an investor day in Manhattan today, CEO Mark Frissora cited a Maritz Research customer experience study showing renters value the speed of the pickup most highly among their preferences, followed by the speed of the return process.
Frissora said Hertz-Dollar Thrifty has retaken the lead in U.S. car rental market share at airports (36%), besting Enterprise-National-Alamo (33%), and Avis Budget (27%), and wants to increase that market share by bolstering value with a slew of tech enhancements.
“We don’t want to gain share by reducing price,” Frissora said.
Rob Moore, Hertz’s senior vice president, technology, explained how a “black box” in the vehicles “knows who you are,” stores reservation and maintenance information, and controls locking and unlocking the vehicle.
Hertz also developed its own “iPad-like” tablet as a user interface in the vehicle for the customer, and it has “four times” the power of an iPad, Moore said. The Hertz tablet, to be introduced later this year, can handle large temperature swings, features a 5MP camera, can run apps in the car, and will faciltate communications with Hertz personnel.
Hertz plans to place the box and tablet in every car.
With the exception of off-airport locations, “our technology allows you to just park the car and go,” Moore said.
At off-airport locations, customers have to push an “end my rental” button to complete the rental and leave, Moore added.
The company also plans to dramatically expand ExpressRent kiosks beyond the 400 currently deployed globally, Moore said.
Hertz is also investing in mobile. The company says it has generated $500,000 in additional revenue since giving customers the ability in December 2012 to swap or upgrade cars via mobile devices.
The company’s mobile apps have been downloaded 2.5 million times, officials said.