Car Rental Booking Prices Compared Across Providers

In comparing online travel agencies (OTA) with direct travel suppliers for rental cars, SmarterTravel.com finds virtually identical pricing whether booking directly with the rental car company or with an OTA. The three largest OTAs recently eliminated booking fees for airfare, but not for hotel or rental car transactions.

Five car rental scenarios were tested for the Columbus Day holiday weekend, comparing the same car class, city, rental duration, and car company. SmarterTravel.com received quoted rates from Payless in Los Angeles, Budget in Dallas, Avis in Miami, Hertz in Boston and National in Chicago, and compared them with online prices from Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity. All final costs from major airports in these cities, including estimated taxes and fees, were identical, with only a one-cent difference in one estimate.

SmarterTravel reports that in the absence of price differentiation, travelers will mainly have to decide whether convenience (a range of choices with an OTA) or brand loyalty (frequent customer rewards programs, discounts, etc.) is more important.

Research did not include quotes from sites such as Hotwire or Priceline, which tend to offer significant savings on rental cars. SmarterTraveler.com reports that comparing providers can result in surprising savings, such as a cheaper rate for a full-size car from one provider than an economy car from another. In addition, sales, seasonal promotions and membership bargains were not considered.

Comment On This Story

Name:  
Email:  
Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.

 
 

Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

The Problem with Valuing Safety Technology

As advanced safety technologies have migrated to mainstream vehicles, retaining value for these options at resale remains an issue.

ELD Mandate: Is Your Head Still in the Sand?

If you think you have 11 weeks to implement an Electronic Logging Device system to meet the Dec. 18 compliance deadline, you really don’t — for a few reasons.

Who Controls Your Vehicles’ Data?

In the name of security, an automaker’s alliance is advocating denial of third-party access to the OBD-II port. Is this going too far?

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.

>