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TTG Features Holiday Essentials


Avis Budget Group is entering a period of consolidation for its trade relations. Katherine Lawrey speaks to Lisa McAuley and Julie Kemp about trade stategy


attention to servicing existing trade partners and training them to sell the product. Lisa McAuley, head of international


Don’t forget the car A


fter a growth period seeking out new business, Avis and Budget’s trade team is turning its


leisure and strategic accounts, said: “Last year our focus was to engage with as many new agents as we could. We signed up Flight Centre and the Travel Network Group among others. Now we’ve won that business, our focus this year is to support them.” As part of a recent trade campaign,


Love Avis, the team visited agent partners to deliver chocolate hearts and the “Avis cheat sheet”. McAuley explained: “Car hire is


still seen as a complicated product to book, so we’ve produced a laminated card for agents that takes it back to basics. It tells agents what’s included


in the rate and how to book.” Agents completing the Avis online


training modules have the chance to win £100 in Toni & Guy vouchers. Other resources for agents include trade website avis.co.uk/travelagents and avisdestinations.com, which works as an information portal for


TO HIRE, OR NOT TO HIRE?


Is a car useful on a city break? Peter Ellegard says yes, when he visits Barcelona and Lisbon


Barcelona When I told friends and family I was renting a car in Barcelona they thought I was mad. It’s so easy to get around by bus and


metro, they said, adding that there were great places to stay close to bustling Las Ramblas, in the city centre. I didn’t want that. I wanted to enjoy the city by day, but with somewhere quiet to retreat at night away from the bars and crowds. I found the perfect place – a hill- top apartment in the Guinardo


Booking car hire for clients needn’t be complicated


both agents and customers, with its live weather updates, restaurant tips and scenic drive suggestions. Avis is also encouraging agents to


provide feedback: “How can we help agents become more confident in selling car hire? Are we missing anything from the training


district, with commanding views of the city from its rooftop terrace. It was cheaper than city-centre alternatives, I could park outside and a few minutes’ stroll led to a bus stop where frequent buses ran to Las Ramblas. I rented an unassuming diesel Opel


Meriva from local Hertz supplier Firefly through Affordable Car Hire, perfect for blending in with local vehicles. Some roads were a little narrow for comfort, but I found it easy to get around, taking in sights such as Park Guell and Barcelona’s Olympic park in an afternoon and even venturing into the city on the Sunday, when the roads were quieter. affordablecarhire.com


Barcelona’s Park Guell is easy to get to by car 50 13.03.2014


Lisbon I didn’t need a car to explore Lisbon because many of its sights are walkable or can be explored by bus


perspective?” McAuley said. “Let us know on travelsales@avis.co.uk.”


Zipping ahead Last year Avis acquired car-sharing service Zipcar. Julie Kemp, director of corporate sales, leisure and partnerships, said the long-term plan was for agents to sell it. “Zipcar is still in its infancy in Europe, but we will be looking at all channels and how we drive Zipcar forward. I’m sure agents will be part of that. It’s a great business model.” Kemp also added that 2013 results


for the Avis/Budget/Zipcar group were “spectacular”, with the Europe, Middle East and Africa region having an “astonishing” year. As well as introducing Peugeot’s


eco-friendly cars in the UK, other new product from Avis includes a portable wireless router, currently available at car hire counters in selected Spanish locations, which can connect to five devices simultaneously. After a trial period, this will be rolled out in other destinations.


or on its historic trams. But as I was combining a visit there with playing golf along the Lisbon Golf Coast, I rented a nippy little BMW 1 series car from rental company Guerin through Your Car Hire. It gave me the freedom to drive


to some of the outlying towns around the Portuguese capital where the courses are located, with boot space that easily fitted in two sets of clubs and suitcases for me and my golfing buddy. The motorway links that lead


from the city and its nearby airport, where I picked up my car, make getting around a doddle. And with its wide main avenues, Lisbon is car-friendly, although as with every major city the roads are a no-go zone in rush hour. Renting a car can definitely help make visiting cities slicker. yourcarhire.com


Avis


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