Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote Systems, today released the results of the Keynote Competitive Research Industry Study examining U.S. Rental Car Web sites. In the 2011 U.S. Rental Car Sites study, Enterprise.com took first place for best overall customer experience.
The rankings are based on responses from real users, who were observed as they accomplished tasks on each of the sites studied, as well as real data collected through Keynote Web site monitoring to assess the technical quality of the sites. For each study, Keynote recognizes the companies with the overall top ranking, as well as those exhibiting excellence in specific categories.
For the study, Keynote observed and conducted online interviews with 2,000 prospective rental car customers as they interacted with the Web sites of 10 leading rental car reservation sites: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Expedia, Hertz, Orbitz, Thrifty, and Travelocity. Keynote sent 200 U.S. resident Internet users to each of the 10 Web sites. The online panelists were asked to evaluate the site’s home page, then to think of a trip that they might take to a major city where they would rent a car. Choosing specific dates, the panelists were asked to find a rental car that would accommodate their needs, including price, special options, and availability for specific dates. Once the panelists found a suitable rental car, they were asked to make note of the total cost and proceed through the process of making a reservation as far as possible without actually entering payment information. Finally, panelists were asked to use the sites’ customer support features to find the answer to a question or problem they might have had when looking for a rental car.
The study revealed that when tested by actual users, Enterprise.com offers the strongest overall customer experience, placing first in both conversion impact and customer satisfaction. Other key findings include:
- Enterprise, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Budget share the top performance tier for overall customer experience, brand, and customer satisfaction;
- Hertz is also a top site for customer satisfaction;
- Enterprise, Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity are top sites for conversion;
- Post-experience, Enterprise is seen as the most reliable and trustworthy;
- Expedia is seen as the most helpful; and
- Hertz, Expedia, and Enterprise are considered the most high quality.
“Based on our analysts’ observations and interviews with our panel of real online users, our study of U.S. rental car reservation Web sites revealed that when booking rental car reservations, price satisfaction and customer support predict the business outcomes of online customer experience, predicting brand perception and conversion,” said Christopher Musto, general manager of Keynote Competitive Research.