In today’s financial market, which is suffering in the majority of the countries throughout the world, consumers are becoming more tight-fisted with their spending. More than ever before people are looking for bargains. They are looking to reduce costs and are becoming more wary of how and what for they are being charged.
This applies to vacations as well.
Travelers will pinch the pennies in some areas in order to free up more money for fun activities. Automobile rental is one area that generally is targeted. Unless the vacationer is on a road trip with a Rolls Royce touring car or a tooling along the roads in a Maserati, they will be looking toward minimizing the cost of car rentals.
The car rental agencies are responding in several ways to meet the consumer needs. In addition to meeting their customers’ needs, they are also looking at maximizing their profits. Sometimes these goals fight against one another, so most companies have developed ways to deal with all the perplexities.
Rogue Charges and Tactics
Just because your automobile rental has GPS, navigation, cellular live help and other amenities, this does not necessarily mean they are included in the rental cost. Most of the time these are not included and assuming they are free can result in a rude awakening when the time comes to pay the bill.
GPS and navigation use may trigger a daily cost or even hourly rental fees. On monthly rentals, this can trigger a charge for the full month even if your use was minimal.
If the car has an electronic payment unit for tolls, have them remove or disable it with an RF blocking cover. If you go through a toll booth you can be charged for the toll plus a surcharge that may be 5 to 10 times the toll. Alternatively, it may trigger another one of those monthly or weekly charges.
Other extra charges for using features like even a child seat may surprise you when you turn in the car.
In defense of the car rental companies, they do have to make money, so additional charges look like they are here to stay throughout the rental industry. Additional charges allow the rental agencies to advertize lower rental prices.
There is a growing “green” movement throughout the world. Every industry in the world is affected and the car rental industry is no exception. Countries are adding carbon taxes to conventional automobiles and awarding tax credits and other incentives for green vehicles, both hybrid and electric vehicles. Car rental agencies like Europcar already have hybrid and electric vehicles as part of their rental fleet.
Consumers are becoming more aware in the green area and are also requesting greener alternatives to the gasoline and diesel cars. The most often “greener” car requested is the hybrid car that can travel long distances and doesn’t need recharging.
The totally electric powered vehicles are often selected for short trips. If you are planning a long trip with an electric vehicle, you have to be meticulous in your planning for distance so you can stop at recharging stations. You also have to plan on each type of recharging station as some can recharge a vehicle overnight and other stations may take up to 20 hours for a full charge.
The United States government is hoping to persuade people to have one million electric vehicles on the road by the end of this decade. Germany may beat the U.S. as they plan to also have one million electric cars on the road before 2020. It does look like Germany will have a greater adoption rate of electric automobiles than the U.S. and the rental agencies in these countries will make more of them available as time passes.
Some of the car rentals are being siphoned off by a newly-emerging phenomenon: Car sharing. It seems that the desire for alternative income sources have driven some people to rent out their own cars. There are a lot of pitfalls like stolen vehicles and accidents and not many people do it themselves.
Social media has given birth to new breeds of car sharing companies that arrange rentals, insure and make sure the vehicles are returned promptly. They do this for a percentage of the rental fees and these rental costs are generally lower than traditional rental companies are. These car sharing companies generally operate in a local area so they are not quite suitable for long or one-way rentals. They are great for hourly rentals.
The car rental industry is growing. In Europe, airlines are expected to grow and the car rentals at airports will mimic this growth. According to Yahoo News, a Research and Markets report says the entire car rental industry “is expected to reach US $67.6 billion by 2017.”
This will be some great news for the economy. We are looking forward to this.