Advantage Q&A: New Initiatives, New Direction

Photo courtesy of Advantage Rent A Car.
Photo courtesy of Advantage Rent A Car.

Q: How does the new employee service training differ from previous training?

A: We took a whole new approach with training. This training was intended to establish a new mindset among all employees. We started at the executive and manager level to embed a new customer service mentality company-wide. We then trained every employee who has direct customer contact, from the bus drivers to the return agents.

Our training focused all employees on a “customer first” orientation in terms of delivering a positive and friendly rental process experience.

We call it the “Advantage Experience,” and it’s backed up with a brand promise. When you rent from Advantage, you get: a new or almost new auto, clean and ready to travel; the car you reserved at the price you were quoted — or better; the car will be ready when it was promised; a friendly experience; and if we don’t deliver, our employees will fix it on the spot or the next rental is on us.

Q: What business travel niches are you looking to service?

A: We are less about niche or size than travel mentality. That is, we are targeting value-conscious business travelers who seek “the best price and service with the greatest benefits.”
Delivering one flat-rate price anytime, anywhere (with no black-out dates) delivers an unheard of value in this industry.

Waiving add-on charges like extra driver and young drivers (21-24 years old) delivers the benefits. With millennials slated to make up nearly half the workforce by 2020 — and already traveling more than their older work colleagues — we see it as very important to offer benefits targeted to that younger generation of business travelers.

Q: In what ways will you reach out to business travelers specifically? 

A: We are targeting active business travelers and firms that have an employee base of less than 250. Professional services such as law, accounting, consulting and engineering are a top priority. We are also approaching associations and online business marketplaces that attract businesses and individuals who travel.

Q: Can you give us the details of your recently launched loyalty program?

A: The Advantage Instant Rewards Program entails the following:

  • The first reward program that delivers a usable award on every rental. There are no blackout dates; award redemption is based only on vehicle availability.
  • Awards can be transferred to friends and family.
  • Awards are valid for one year.
  • The program is available to all Advantage for Business accounts.

Q: How does your flat-rate pricing differ from how other RACs structure business rates?

A: Most corporate or business programs have surcharge cities where extra charges apply in large markets, such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Plus, they have blackout dates that prohibit use of the programs on holidays and peak seasons. Advantage for Business is one flat-rate anytime, anywhere with no blackout dates and no restrictions.

Q: Will your fleet procurement include any makes and models outside of the usual rental mix?

A: For model year 2015, we will have Volkswagen Beetle convertibles in the sun destinations. We are also adding Chrysler 300s in the Premium line and the Cadillac ATS in the Luxury line. We also have a large selection of SUVs, including Chevrolet Tahoes and Suburbans.

Q: What is your percentage of fleet buy in terms of risk and repurchase?

A: Our goal is to split the fleet 50/50, but it will vary throughout the year based on deliveries and deletions.

Q: What is the vision for the new Advantage in terms of market focus?

A: We want business travelers to seriously consider us because of the Advantage experience and our brand promise guarantee. Included in that promise: We will drive more business to advantage.com; we will expand our partnership with Europcar; and we will focus our attention on Advantage for Business and Instant Rewards by continuously improving and expanding them.

Q: Can you give us an idea of growth opportunities moving forward? 

A: We will increase our market share profitability and in a steady and sustainable manner. Working with our worldwide partner Europcar, we will become a factor in booking and delivering outbound rentals in 143 countries.

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