Thursday 17 January 2013

Update from Economy Car Hire

Just received an email from Economy Car Hire. They say that "We are now working with  an additional car hire supplier at Alicante Airport, Spain who offers a fair fuel policy. We have also started offering car hire in the Czech Republic"

All sounds great news for the start of 2013, so if you are looking for car hire, find out more Here

They also run a great blog site with plenty of useful tips and stories like - Top Travel Mistakes Not to Make! (January 11th 2013)

1) Don’t book solely based on price
Everyone likes a good deal but sometimes a cheap price isn’t everything. Think about it – do you really want to have to be at the airport for 4.00am to catch that super cheap 6.10am departure to Malaga, for a £10.00 saving? Don’t get me wrong, cheap is often cheerful but sometimes it’s worth considering spending a little more to be truly happy before you click the book button. 

2) Don’t book flights without enough time for connections
If you’re flying long haul, a lengthy wait at a connecting airport can send even the most seasoned travellers into a gloomy mood but that said it’s usually better than a very stressful 15 minute race for your next plane. If there are a couple of options available, it’s more sensible to allow a longer connection, purely for peace of mind. This then means you have some breathing room in case of unforeseen delays; you can stretch your legs, breathe in some normal air and make your next plane at a comfortable pace.

3) Don’t go to the wrong airport
This sounds silly I know but in cities with multiple airports, it can be easily done, particularly if you’re not very organised! If it happens to you, you likely won’t notice until you try to check in and one mad dash for the taxi rank will likely ensue. My tip is to ensure you check the name and airport code that you are flying home from a few times throughout your holiday! 

4) Don’t forget to check your passport expiry date
These days you usually have to enter your passport information whilst booking your flights which then prompts you to check your passport expiry date. No problem then right? Wrong! Some countries insist that you have at least 6 months and sometimes longer left on your passport in order to enter. So ensure you check both the passport expiry date and the entry requirements of the country you’re visiting!

5) Don’t wait until you are due to travel to check your details
Airlines are notorious for their costly fees to make amendments to tickets and so one slip of the finger when entering a passenger name can make for a very costly mistake! The best thing to do is proofread what you have entered before booking, but also to double and triple check the confirmation email you receive, as soon as you receive it! This way you can rectify any mistakes immediately.

6) Don’t forget to check your hire car on collection
Frequent car hirers will be first in line to tell you that this is a tip you don’t want to overlook. You might be tired after a long flight but be sure to check over your allocated vehicle before you drive away. If you can, go round the vehicle with an employee and mark down any pre-existing marks or scratches on a contract or piece of paper that you both sign. If there’s anything that you’re not happy with, now is the time to say. You won’t regret it! 

7) Don’t forget to read the terms
Terms are usually contained on a separate page, where the information can be displayed in full size and set out in an easy to read manner… but this makes it’s all the easier for you to not read them, after all it requires just a quick tick of the box and on you go with your booking! It’s laborious, yes, but don’t forget to read the terms and conditions whatever they pertain to; this way, you can make a truly informed decision and avoid any nasty surprises!

and finally 8) Don’t book a hotel miles from where you want to be
“A dream hotel at an unbelievably great price and within a reasonable distance of the main attractions” – This could be the description of many hundreds of hotels but what’s wrong with this sentence? That little phrase “reasonable distance”! Make sure you find out exactly how far the hotel is from the local amenities or town and ensure you are happy with it otherwise the cost of the hotel could soon shoot up once you include the cost of public transport!

All very important for that perfect trip with car hire. Find out more about Economy Car Hire Here.   

Monday 14 January 2013

Great customer service from National Citer before they are re-branded by Enterprise

I rented a car at Nice Côte d'Azur, France earlier this month and as usual made my bookings via Holiday Autos. I have been booking car hire in the south of France for many years now, always making the initial booking on line with Holiday Autos.

The majority of the time their partner car hire company was National /Citer and occasionally it was the Europcar franchise there. National/Citer staff have always been very helpful and although in the early days they kept on offering me an automatic (and I don't like automatics) they changed their customer notes and never done that again. 

They also must have written into their notes, don't try and sell him additional car hire excess waiver insurance.

This time we collected a Fiat Punto and found additional dents and scratches that were not on the check out paperwork and got this amended.  The car kept on stopping every time you went into neutral at traffic lights and put your hand break on. I started it again as it was all rather unusual and was on the point of returning it to the car rental company when we thought this not a car fault, but part of the design. My niece has a new Alfa Romeo and was finding the same problem. only to discover as soon as she put it into "drive" (it is an automatic) the engine would start again.

Sure enough, as soon as you pressed the clutch the engine would start. It does take some getting used to and personally hope all manufactures don't do the same

We returned it last Thursday evening to the fantastic car hire depot at Terminal 2 at Nice airport  (details here) and were greeted by a National/Citer representative who wanted us to take part in a quick survey. I explained I had already carried out one on line the day before regarding an early December rental.

Anyway we did and gave them good marks. He explained that from February onwards National/Citer would go back to it's old name of Citer and hopefully Holiday Autos will continue to use them. I understand that Enterprise Holding are one of their partners so hopefully with the change of name of National Citier it will be business as usual.

It is really good to have excellent customer service when you are hiring a car and the people at National/Citer do try and go that extra mile or rather kilometre. 

If you are flying to France and looking for great value Car Hire, find out more about Holiday Autos Here

Sunday 13 January 2013

Car hire comes up again in"Luring tourists to Ireland" letter

On the 29th December, The Irish Times ran an article "Attracting missing British tourists will be in 2013 focus". - After a 100,000 fall in British visitors Irish Tourism chiefs are fighting back... Picking up the content of this article, I immediately wrote a letter to the Irish Times saying that in my opinion there were two issues for organisations to address. First of all the very high cost of taking a car to and from Ireland for a British visitor compared to taking it to France.

The other issue was that with great deals on air travel, to get around tourists usually will need to hire a car. "If they fly, they will require a car to hire, and unfortunately a lot of car hire companies in Ireland have had a bad name for a number of years. Customers are often “forced” to buy the company’s expensive excess insurance and other unwanted “add-ons”. One company appeared to add a “crossing the M50 toll” fee automatically even if the vehicles in question never went anywhere near it." See here for published letter  It was published under the heading "Luring British tourists to Ireland"-

Reading yesterday's Irish Times (12th January 2013), I see the theme continues, but under "Luring tourists to Ireland"  - This is the year when Ireland is trying to bring in more visitors, with "The Gathering" campaign.

There were a couple of letters, firstly about the price of a burger and six chips  and then one on the old car hire problem in Ireland. Peter Thornton from Dublin 13 wrote "My son, who lives in England, hired a car at Knock airport when he was visiting Mayo after Christmas this year. 

When he booked the car he was quoted €430 for six days, which is excessive in the extreme, and when he arrived the car hire company had increased the quote to €610!

There will not be much of a Gathering this year unless the Minister for Sport and Transport and Fáilte Ireland can control such excessive greed.

In contrast, around the same time, one could hire a car in Portugal for about €105 for seven days".  See here for both these published letters

Friday 11 January 2013

iCarhireinsurance mentioned in Daily Telegraph Car hire on a Skiing Holiday feature today

Car Hire insurance excess waiver company iCarhireinsurance was given some good publicity today. "Car hire on a skiing holiday - Ask the experts: motoring expert David Williams outlines the benefits and pitfalls of hiring a car for a skiing holiday" was a feature in the Travel section of The Daily Telegraph / on line.

It started  with someone called Ben Preston saying they were taking a family skiing holiday at half term and wanted to hire a car at the same time.

David Williams pointed out the advantages of having a car with you for getting about and then went on to say "Experts from iCarhireinsurance.com recently investigated vehicle rental at popular European destinations. They found that hiring a car was “like skiing in a blizzard, hampered by poor visibility and a lack of transparency”, because of hidden charges for extras, such as winter tyres, snow chains (snow chains alone can add around £60 a week), roof racks for skis or snowboards, as well as excess car insurance. Together these extra charges could see your weekly bill soar by nearly £400."

Read the entire article Here

Now for the important bit. Find out about iCarhireinsurance and their excess waiver insurance products Here  

Thursday 10 January 2013

Holiday Autos has started it's January 2013 sale

Holiday Autos who celebrated 25 years in business last year have announced that they are offering customers who book international car hire huge savings of up to 30% in their seasonal sale. The weather is seasonally bad in the northern hemisphere and although they might have only recently returned after a Christmas and New Year break, people need to think about a 2013 vaccation now

For over 25 years, Holiday Autos have made securing the best price and quality service for vehicle rental across the globe their business. This year, on behalf of their customers, the UK's leading car hire agency has brokered fantastic savings in a series of ten daily flash deals.

Holiday Autos are offering customers who book their rental car online the chance to snap up a great deal. For ten days, the broker is promising discounts of up to 30% on bookings made to a different group of countries each day. Customers can benefit from huge savings on offers ranging from car hire in Ibiza for a few weeks, to rentals in the UK for just one day providing their vehicle is collected between the 7th January - 31st October 2013. 

A spokesperson for Holiday Autos said, 

"January is always a really exciting time for us and our customers. It's that time of year when we all start considering where we'll take the annual getaway and what our customers tell us, is that in this current financial climate, getting a great deal is one of the biggest factors in helping them choose how to spend those precious few weeks away from daily life. We're really pleased that we've been able to secure some great deals for them in some of the world's most popular destinations." 

Among those already announced, holidaymakers heading to Germany, Austria, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Norway can snap up a bargain and it's expected that discounted car hire in Paris with Holiday Autos, as well as offers for Spain, Portugal and the Balearics will be announced in the next few days. 

Holidaymakers who make their travel plans now, can benefit from some serious discounts not only on their Holiday Autos car hire, but also on flights and accommodation. A number of other travel providers like lastminute.com are also offering price reductions in January, which means that vacationer who commit to a holiday now can save themselves hundreds of pounds in comparison with bookings made later in the year. 

To find about more about the Holiday Autos January Sale, visit holiday autos here.

Source Holiday Autos - 9-1-13

Friday 4 January 2013

Car hire excess insurance mentioned in letter to Irish Times yesterday

Car hire excess was mentioned in a letter to the Irish Times yesterday. Following an article last Saturday "Attracting missing British tourists (to Ireland) will be 2013 focus", one of the problems that has been ongoing for a number of years has been the attitude of certain Irish car hire companies.

This issue has been featured on this blog and on many others. Ireland needs British Tourists, however if the car hire companies put visitors off then they will not return and tell their friends about problems experienced.

Under the title added by the Irish Times "Luring British tourists to Ireland" -
Sir, – Further to Genevieve Carbery’s article (“Attracting missing British tourists will be 2013 focus”, News Agenda, December 29th), a major problem for British tourists is how they get to Ireland.

There are plenty of low-cost flights bringing visitors to the country; however the average family of four needs to get about easily.

If they fly, they will require a car to hire, and unfortunately a lot of car hire companies in Ireland have had a bad name for a number of years. Customers are often “forced” to buy the company’s expensive excess insurance and other unwanted “add-ons”. One company appeared to add a “crossing the M50 toll” fee automatically even if the vehicles in question never went anywhere near it.

The other way of going to Ireland from Britain is by car ferry. Car ferry costs to Ireland have increased quite dramatically over the last five years. I have just looked at prices for a family of four taking their car to Ireland on June 28th and returning on July 12th. It would cost €460. The crossing takes 3½ hours.

Comparing this with a crossing from England to France, which takes just under two hours, the cost would be €117. The additional crossing time is only 1½ hours, but the difference in the two fares is over €340, money that the tourists could be spending in Ireland. Instead they go off to France and further afield.

Unfortunately there is not too much competition on the Irish routes and ideally the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation needs to lobby the car ferry companies to reduce their fares to tourists instead of continuing to increase them.

As long as it continues to cost tourists a great deal of their holiday budget to actually get to the country, whatever the Tourism Recovery Taskforce does will regrettably not make a lot of difference. – Yours, etc,


Wednesday 2 January 2013

Zipcar to be acquired by Avis Budget Group

The Avis Budget Group issued the following press release earlier today - Avis Budget Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:CAR) and Zipcar, Inc. (Nasdaq:ZIP), the world's leading car sharing network, today announced that Avis Budget Group has agreed to acquire Zipcar for $12.25 per share in cash, a 49% premium over the closing price on December 31, 2012, representing a total transaction value of approximately $500 million. The transaction is subject to approval by Zipcar shareholders and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013. The Boards of Directors of both companies unanimously approved the transaction, and Zipcar shareholders representing approximately 32% of the outstanding common stock have agreed to vote their shares in support of the transaction.

Car sharing has grown to be a nearly $400 million business in the United States and is expanding rapidly in major cities around the world. Zipcar has led this industry, leading in innovation and world-class service. Zipcar now has more than 760,000 members, known as Zipsters, with a market-leading presence in 20 major metropolitan areas in the United States, Canada and Europe, and fleet positioned at over 300 college and university campuses. Zipcar has combined leading-edge technology, an outstanding customer experience, and clear brand messaging to develop strong loyalty and advocacy among its customers.

"By combining with Zipcar, we will significantly increase our growth potential, both in the United States and internationally, and will position our Company to better serve a greater variety of consumer and commercial transportation needs," said Ronald L. Nelson, Avis Budget Group chairman and chief executive officer.

"We see car sharing as highly complementary to traditional car rental, with rapid growth potential and representing a scalable opportunity for us as a combined company. We expect to apply Avis Budget's experience and efficiencies of fleet management with Zipcar's proven, customer-friendly technology to accelerate the growth of the Zipcar brand and to provide more options for Zipsters in more places. We also expect to leverage Zipcar's technology to expand mobility solutions under the Avis and Budget brands."

Avis Budget expects to generate $50 to $70 million in annual synergies as a result of the transaction. In particular, Avis Budget expects significant cost reductions across the fleet life cycle (from procurement to operations and maintenance to disposition, as well as financing), in addition to savings from eliminating Zipcar's public-company costs. Avis Budget also plans to achieve substantial cost savings by increasing fleet utilization across the two companies. Significant revenue growth opportunities exist, including by leveraging Avis Budget's fleet to meet more of Zipsters' weekend demand, which is currently constrained by fleet availability.

These synergies, combined with the expected growth and rising profitability of Zipcar, are expected to make the transaction accretive to Avis Budget's earnings per share in the second year following the acquisition, excluding certain items and purchase-accounting effects.

"We are delighted to announce our intention to join the Avis Budget Group family of companies, and we believe this combination is a win across the board for our members, shareholders and employees. We will be well positioned to accelerate enhancements to the Zipcar member experience with more offers and additional services as well as an expanded network of locations," said Scott Griffith, chairman and chief executive officer of Zipcar.

"As the leading global provider of car sharing services, with a brand that is synonymous with the category, we remain committed to the values and vision that have driven us forward for many years, grounded by our passion for delivering a superior experience to every member for every trip, every day. By combining Zipcar's expertise in on-demand mobility with Avis Budget Group's expertise in global fleet operations and vast global network, we will be able to accelerate the revolution we began in personal mobility."

"Avis Budget's existing infrastructure, scale and experience with managing multiple brands make us uniquely positioned to accelerate the growth and profitability of Zipcar," Mr. Nelson added. "At the same time, we are committed to retaining the elements of the Zipcar brand and culture that have allowed Zipcar to achieve such rapid growth and success over the last twelve years."

Following the acquisition, Zipcar will operate as a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group and will continue with its planned move to new headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Avis Budget anticipates that key members of the Zipcar management team, including Mr. Griffith and Mark Norman, president and chief operating officer, will continue to set the overall direction and run day-to-day operations of Zipcar.

Avis Budget Group expects to fund the purchase price primarily with incremental corporate debt borrowings, as well as available cash. As of September 30, 2012, Avis Budget Group had cash and marketable securities of approximately $554 million, and Zipcar had cash and marketable securities of approximately $82 million, or approximately $2 per Zipcar share.

Citigroup is acting as financial advisor, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal counsel, to Avis Budget Group. Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor, and Latham & Watkins LLP is acting as legal counsel, to Zipcar.

Separately, Avis Budget Group today reiterated its previous estimates of its full-year 2012 results. Avis Budget continues to expect that its full-year 2012 revenue will be approximately $7.3 billion, a 24% increase compared to 2011, and that its 2012 Adjusted EBITDA will be approximately $825 million to $840 million, excluding certain items, an increase of 35% to 38% compared to the prior year. Avis Budget also continues to expect that its 2012 pretax income will be $450 million to $465 million and that its diluted earnings per share will be approximately $2.35 to $2.45, excluding certain items.


Looking for Car club excess insurance? Find out more Here 


About Avis Budget Group, Inc.

Avis Budget Group, Inc. is a leading global provider of vehicle rental services through its Avis and Budget brands, with 10,000 rental locations in approximately 175 countries around the world. Avis Budget Group operates most of its car rental offices in North America, Europe and Australia directly, and operates primarily through licensees in other parts of the world. Avis Budget Group has approximately 29,000 employees and is headquartered in Parsippany, N.J

About Zipcar, Inc.

Zipcar is the world's leading car sharing network, with more than 760,000 members and over 10,000 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain and Austria. Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car

Source Avis Budget Group

ProtectYourBubble car hire excess insurance mentioned in 1st January 2013 article

I came across an article earlier today from a website called "Wheels Express"

"Car Hire Insurance and its Need" was the title of the article on this blog site. It covered the essentials like many articles and then went on to say "Protect your bubble car hire is helping people in getting easy and affordable car hire insurance so that one can ride the hired car without any worries"

ProtectYourBubble's website say that they offer cheap car hire excess insurance from just £2.42 a day.

Protect your bubble Car Hire insurance is underwritten by White Horse Insurance Ireland Limited (a Thomas Cook Group Company) and administered on their behalf by Questor Insurance Services Limited who are authorised by the Financial Service Authority

So if you are just about to hire a car don't do this without buying you car hire excess insurance first. Find out more about ProtectYourBubble car hire excess insurance Here