Once relying on car rental customers from its “long-haul markets” including the U.S and the U.K., GO Rentals’ General Manager James Dalglish talks in this web-exclusive with Auto Rental News how the uptick in travelers from Asian markets — particularly China and India — have helped this New Zealand-based company offset lost revenue. Dalglish also attributes the company's success to its Web marketing.
The GO Rentals team.
What's your total fleet size?
1,200 vehicles ranging from hatchback, sedan, wagons to 4WD, people carriers and van rentals.
How many locations do you have and in what types of areas?
Five Locations across New Zealand in the four major cities: Auckland City, Auckland Airport, Wellington Airport, Christchurch Airport and Queenstown Airport.
How did the business start?
The company founder, John Osborne, began as a used vehicle importer and entrepreneur who seized on the car rental opportunity before the Japanese import market bubble burst in 1998. John’s passion for the auto industry, business vision and calculated risk taking has been the foundation for this successful Kiwi business.
What are your primary sources of rental customers?
Currently we have a 35% domestic, 65% international split for a high leisure/tourist market with some replacement and corporate rentals.
Are you an affiliate of any kind?
Not at the moment — we have been rowing our own boat. However, we are considering options all the time.
Are you pursuing new sources of business/customers?
Yes, we are particularly interested in growing the international wholesale and domestic corporate markets.
How has the car rental market in New Zealand evolved in the past 10 years?
As with much of the travel industry there has been a complete transition doe to the World Wide Web and technology. The modern travel e-commerce model has flipped the business on its head, so to speak, so gone are the days of relying on localized print media to source business. It’s all online these days!
Describe your specific marketing efforts and what the payback has been so far?
In the early days we focused on more localized print media and industry agents to source new business; however, Google Search has transformed the way we do business. We now rely on numerous online channels to source our customers, search engine optimization and search engine marketing have been at the forefront of the transformation, and the great thing with digital is that because it is measureable, you get to understand your return on investment (ROI) and cost per acquisition (CPA) inside and out.
We embraced the dot come era very early on, and our continued investment into technology and online channels has really helped the business grow.
How do you buy cars?
Predominantly we buy our vehicles; however, over the years we have entertained some lease vehicles as well. The key to our business is purchasing for the right price at the beginning and selling for the right price at the end.
How do you sell your cars?
We retail some through our own channels, sell some back to dealers and use John’s industry contacts to wholesale a few as well.
How long do you keep cars in fleet?
On average 2-3 years, though some stock purchased new could be longer. We have a “premium” and “budget” offering within our fleet, so once vehicles have enjoyed their premium time they can slip down into our budget tier and chill for their last couple of years!