A study by the Luxury Institute rates the top car rental companies in various categories, including a company's ability to deliver on its promises.
Posted May 9, 2006
Hertz edged out Enterprise Rent-a-Car and more easily outpaced eight other firms among luxury auto renters, according to a survey from the Luxury Institute. The ratings were based on the Luxury Institute's own Luxury Customer Experience Index survey, which ranks the companies as evaluated by their own high net worth customers. The Institute surveyed a nationally representative statistical sample of more than 2,000 households with a median income of $296,000 in gross annual income and median net worth of $1.8 million (including home equity).
These customers rated 10 of the nation's largest car rental firms based on these renters' direct individual experiences. Other firms in the survey were Advantage Rent-a-Car, Alamo Rent-a-Car, Avis Rent-a-car, Budget Rent-a-car, Dollar, Enterprise Rent-a-car, Europcar, Hertz, National Car Rental, and Thrifty Rent-a-car. Customers rated Avis third behind Hertz and Enterprise.
"It is a very close contest between Hertz and Enterprise in a category that has great diversity in brand strengths not seen in most categories," says Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute. "Among wealthy consumers Hertz and Enterprise are rated almost equally on critical experience factors, but each brand achieves its score based on different strengths. Hertz does the best job of delivering on the core car rental promise, while Enterprise has the people who are most enthusiastic, courteous, and trustworthy."
Advantage was rated highest on delivering the most pleasing and organized environment, while Alamo had the least incidence of problems, and Advantage was also rated as most responsive. If one brand could get all the fundamentals right, it would be a runaway success, based on the ratings.
"It was surprising that so many different companies had so many different strengths," Pedraza says. "In other categories (i.e., hotels), the top companies are leaders across a number of different categories." Auto rental firms are still too focused on products rather than on relationships, according to Pedraza. Even auto rental firm "club" members are required to go through an IVR maze to get to a live person or wait up to a day for a response to an email.
"They need to go to a higher level of service for their best customers and their best prospects. Interestingly, Advantage is rated by its high-net-worth customers as most worthy of a price premium, while its wealthy customers rate Hertz tops in customer retention and Enterprise is rated best in customer referral," Pedraza says. "High net worth consumers are the best customers of car rental companies for business and pleasure. It is absolutely essential for car rental firms to pay closer attention to their high net worth customer experience ratings."
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