Value for Rental Car Price Tops Travel Manager Survey

While car rental companies continue to invest in their technologies by introducing new mobile functionality, expanding use of global positioning systems and smoothing the arrival and departure experience through upgraded kiosks, what’s most important to travel manager respondents as far as car rental services go is “good overall value for the price,” according to a BTN July-October 2014 survey.

Travel managers rated price value 5.63 on an ascending importance scale of one to six, with one being “not at all important” and six symbolizing “extremely important.” Expedited car return and preferred check-in status ranked next in importance among buyers, with ratings of 5.52 and 5.45, respectively.

Engineering and design firm Arcadis Senior Vice President John Moriniere said price and reliability are at the top of his list of important factors to consider when choosing a car rental company.

“Cost is not the most important element because you want quality cars that are reliable,” Moriniere said.

National Car Rental is Arcadis’ primary car rental supplier, and Moriniere said he rates it for overall service as a five on an ascending one-to-six scale.

“Buyers now are focusing on total costs of rental when they’re doing their sourcing, rather than negotiating on the rate components,” said Doyle Gunnell, global project manager for the Carlson Wagonlit Travel Solutions Group. “They’re looking to cut controllable ancillary costs that drive the overall price.”

"Cost is not the most important element because you want quality cars that are reliable," said Arcadis Senior Vice President John Moriniere.

Keysight Technologies Global Director of Travel and Expense Kim Kaye said she looks to avoid surcharges like one-way or drop-off fees. She also tries to secure value add-ons like unlimited mileage for loyalty program members.

For surveyed travelers, having professional, polite staff was the most important factor among those offered, indicated by a 5.03 average rating, followed by 24-hour roadside assistance (5.00) and expedited car return services (4.90). Roadside assistance was less important for buyers, ranking fourth, which may be indicative of the relative infrequency with which such services are required. “It’s very important, but I haven’t heard of anyone that has used the service,” said Arcadis’ Moriniere.

The availability of in-car directions using global positioning devices was rated lowest and second-to-lowest in importance respectively by travelers and buyers. With the emergence of smartphones, Gunnell said the service presumably is becoming obsolete.

Importance of Rental Car Services and Satisfaction With Primary Supplier

Rated on a scale of one to six, with one meaning "not at all important" and "falls short of expectations" and six meaning "extremely important" and "excedes expectations." Source: A BTN July-October survey of 257 business travelers and 121 business travel buyers and managers.
Rated on a scale of one to six, with one meaning "not at all important" and "falls short of expectations" and six meaning "extremely important" and "excedes expectations." Source: A BTN July-October survey of 257 business travelers and 121 business travel buyers and managers.

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