Hertz’s plans to beat Enterprise in the off-airport car rental market

Skift Take

Video kiosks at off-airport locations sound great. But, if the Dollar Thrifty car for rental is filthy, is the video kiosk going to wash it?

— Dennis Schaal

Enterprise controls about 80% of the off-airport car-rental market in the U.S., but Hertz has big plans to strengthen its position using newly acquired Dollar Thrifty.

Off-airport is an $11 billion market in the U.S. — about as large as airport rentals — but Hertz currently only has about 12% market share, says CFO Elyse Douglas, who addressed the topic yesterday at the Credit Suisse 15th Annual Global Services Conference.

Hertz plans to change that by installing 24/7 video kiosks at off-airport locations, “which allows us to expand our off-airport presence on a very cost-effective basis,” Douglas says. “So we do this by setting up a video kiosk rather than putting in bricks and mortar.”

Douglas says Hertz is also integrating Hertz on Demand car-sharing technology.

“We’re going to equip that in the fleet, and that’s eventually going to give us the ability to offer 24/7 service out of all our off-airport locations,” Douglas says.

Hertz will use its new mid-tier Dollar Thrifty brand to attack Enterprise’s hold on the off-airport rental market and in that way the company will protect the “premier segment” Hertz brand, Douglas explains.

Unlike the business-travel market, the off-airport sector is primarily for leisure travelers, as well as for insurance-replacement vehicles, and commercial business.

Hertz’s insurance replacement business grew “double digits” over the last two years, and its commercial business increased 14% in 2012, Douglas says.

In addition to adding the video kiosks to the off-airport locations and integrating Hertz on Demand car-sharing technology, Hertz has also been busy elsewhere on the mobile and technology front.

Hertz sends Mobile Gold alerts via text message or email when the customer lands at the airport, and at 25 airports they can select a different car or choose to upgrade. Hertz also offers eReturns, which provide “return receipts on your cellphone,” Douglas says.

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