Q: What can car rental companies do to extract more revenue and future opportunities from their rentals?

A: In the world of car rental, the expression of a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” holds true for every customer interaction — whether it is in a rental situation, an online booking scenario, or an inbound call to a rental car company’s reservation center.

The following techniques will help your rental operation secure more revenue and rental opportunities in a positive fashion:

At the end of the rental or reservation call, a rental agent should always ask to book future rentals. Train your agents to say, “Mr. Brown, at this time what other rentals can we book for you?” Especially in a local market location and a call center, this technique known as a capture will help your operation secure additional business. It also conveys the positive message of “we want to see you again.”

Add a third-party product like the Travel Tab or wireless product to enhance the customer’s experience. These products especially appeal to international travelers and families renting while on vacation because they offer additional Wi-Fi spots, updated maps, and entertainment options for kids.

In larger airport markets, provide a direct return service at the curb and charge a $50 to $75 one-time fee.    

For larger corporate operators and dealership-based operators, pre-sell 40 transferable rental days via a mobile channel at the cost of 35 rental days. This is a similar strategy that some airlines have deployed because many business travelers will use the credits for future business trips and vacations.

Q: What are some new uses of social media to help car rental firms attract and retain talent?

A: Within the car rental industry, it can be argued that protecting your team’s engagement level and your candidate pipeline is just as important as protecting your fleet and rate integrity.  

At the end of the day, you are in the business of moving people. The following tools will help you build a great candidate pipeline and support your team’s engagement level:

LinkedIn: Not only is LinkedIn a powerful recruitment source to attract top talent, it is also a great platform to highlight the positive events that your operation may be involved in through the year. Whether it is a charity event your team is participating in, a service-based sales training, or a recent team member promotion, LinkedIn is a platform to highlight your team’s success and convey that you have good company culture.      

Glassdoor: Many people consider this the Yelp of employment, but regardless of how you feel about it, candidates do research your business via the platform. Although you may not be able to satisfy every candidate, you can respond to any negative reviews in a professional and positive way. In many cases, candidates look to see how the management team will respond to a complaint and give that more weight than a bad anonymous employment review.

Instagram: With Instagram, have fun — let your team have fun and let your customer base know that you have fun. Whether it is your support of a new location, “College Football Saturdays,” special events, or just recognizing your team, Instagram is a great way to showcase your team.

What's Your Question?

Email your car rental operation-related questions to Auto Rental News care of chris.brown@bobit.com.

Andrew Rodriguez is a vice president of client services in Frontline ­Performance Group’s automotive practice. He can be reached at arodriguez@frontlinepg.com.