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TTG Features Holiday Essentials


manufacturers launch models with higher driving ranges and cities improve the needed infrastructure,” says Hertz senior vice president of international sales Chris Rusden. “People will opt for them as long as it is competitive and as each year goes on the number doing so is getting higher,” adds Affordable’s Day.


Avis Budget Group is pioneering “connected cars”


Destinations Flexible Autos’ top-selling destinations for the year to date are USA, Spain, Italy, Canada and the UK. “As is traditionally the case, the Balearic and Canary Islands continue to sell well and we encourage agents to book early to avoid disappointment. We currently have offers from £6 a day,” says Flexible’s managing director, Sue Dixon. The Canaries are up 30-40% year-


Glamorous classic convertibles are growing in popularity among those touring Route 66


More adventurous vehicles Larger family vehicles are on trend, with SUVs gaining popularity. A more unusual shift has been the rise in campervan hire by younger people, noted by Affordable, and demand for convertibles such as Ford Mustangs, particularly for touring America’s Route 66 – a trend noted by Flexible Autos, Affordable and Hertz, which has expanded its fleet as a result. “People are getting more


adventurous – they like to do things differently now,” says Day, who also notes an increase in requests for motorbikes such as Harley-Davidsons in Europe and the Middle East. Some bikes can be hired with a regular driving licence and can be a lucrative seller, she points out. Affordable is also launching extras such as helicopter flights through a tie-up with Viator.


New technology Avis Budget Group is pioneering “connected cars”. It has established a test bed Mobility Lab in Kansas in the US and 20 rental locations so far have vehicles that seamlessly communicate with the company’s


72 22.02.2018 Updates


Flexible Autos launched a new-look website in December based on agent feedback. It’s designed to be quicker and easier to navigate with various fi lter options and clearer promotions and discounts.


Your Car Hire has appointed Vivienne Shenkin as its Scotland sales rep. “We know that with her expertise and experience of the agents, she’ll be able to increase our market share in the area,” says managing director Ruth Bligh.


Aff ordable Car Hire is poised to launch a new training platform for agents with a guide to download and a certifi cate to earn. It already off ers tailored weekly webinars and “pizza lunches” with a rep. Meanwhile, clients can currently opt to donate £1 per booking to its chosen charity Just A Drop.


Europcar is promoting its service that allows customers to begin and end their rental from home.


Demand for eco-cars is slowly growing


management platform and its mobile app.


Customers can make and manage


their reservations, and even lock and unlock their cars using the app. The company meanwhile receives real-time information such as vehicle diagnostics and location, which it says helps to reduce costs and improve service. An additional 50,000 vehicles


will become fully connected in 2018 and its full global fleet should be compliant by 2020. Avis Budget has also been trialling


voice-controlled access to the booking system via Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Sixt has meanwhile been working


on intelligently interlinking mobility with transportation partners such as buses, railways and airlines.


Eco-cars There is slowly growing demand for greener hire vehicles, with hybrids more popular than electric cars due to the current lack of charging points on certain routes. “This is still a small segment, which we expect will grow as car


on-year for Affordable as customers pre-book for Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. Canada had a strong year in 2017 due to its anniversary celebrations. As customers become increasingly


adventurous, Australia and New Zealand are both showing an increase of more than 50% year-on-year for Flexible, while South Africa, Australia and, more unusually, Thailand, are up for Affordable. Your Car Hire has a new North America programme featuring Avis Budget, Hertz and Dollar Thrifty, in addition to Alamo, Europcar and Sixt. “We’re very excited to be able to launch these new products for the USA and Canada to the trade giving more choice to the agent than any other broker,” says managing director Ruth Bligh.


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