Car hire firms speed toward 2011

Car hire firms speed toward 2011

Finally some good news for holidaymakers - car hire industry experts predict that the cost of hiring a car will be significantly cheaper in 2011 than in the last couple of years, where prices have rocketed by as much as 500% in top summer destinations.

Holiday Autos, the UK’s leading leisure car hire broker, recently held a round table event where they invited key car hire suppliers from all over the world to reflect on the main challenges in 2010 and to get their predictions for the year ahead.

2010 in particular saw major disruption due to Iceland’s volcanic eruption, strikes and the lingering effects of the economic downturn, all of which led to transport chaos and higher prices for travellers.

However, 2011 is set to be a better year, partly due to car hire companies finding their feet post recession, purchasing more vehicles and growing their fleets. The upside for holidaymakers will be more choice, more availability and competitive prices.

That said, some countries will take longer to see the positive effects. For example, Greece and France were heavily affected by nationwide strikes in 2010 but with tourism on the increase and their respective economies getting stronger, they are both facing a brighter 2011. While in Portugal, recovery from the recession was comparatively slower than its European neighbours. However, the economy is showing positive signs of improvement and Holiday Autos expects the car hire industry in Portugal to be in a stronger position in 2011.

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Further afield, South Africa’s recession has been made worse by the dramatic reduction in domestic travel, since the World Cup ended. However, they do expect an increase in visitors who may take a renewed interest in planning holidays there after the attention during the tournament.

Matthew Thornett, Head of Pricing at Holiday Autos, comments: “2011 will be the first time for a few years that customers could see a significant drop in car hire prices. However, we still expect to see prices and supply to be similar to previous years at peak seasons, such as Christmas, Easter and school holidays, and in popular destinations. Ensuring you book your hire car early will still continue to be important in 2011 to make sure you get value for money.”

Sandra Downs, Head of Trade Sales at Holiday Autos also advises customers to take advantage of January sales, early booking deals and special offers whenever possible to ensure that your money goes further. “Make sure you search around, compare prices and whoever you book with, always check that the quoted rates are fully inclusive and include all necessary insurances and extras – you don’t want to end up paying over the odds for things you thought were included.”