Car rental race revs up for summer

The battle between the region’s car rental companies is hotting up as they compete for agent and consumer business this summer. All of the UAE’s leading car hire providers are offering special rates both locally and internationally and are aggressively promoting these offers via e-mail, newspaper and radio campaigns.

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By  Joseph Mortimer Published  July 6, 2006

The battle between the region’s car rental companies is hotting up as they compete for agent and consumer business this summer. All of the UAE’s leading car hire providers are offering special rates both locally and internationally and are aggressively promoting these offers via e-mail, newspaper and radio campaigns. Leisure-focused car rental company, Alamo, which recently launched its services Middle East-wide has sent an e-mail blast to its entire database offering clients the chance to win an official World Cup jersey. “The internet campaign has given us a lot of visibility with the travel agents and has boosted our database. We were at around 3000, but now its more 6500,” said Bibbs D’Souza, product manager Middle East, Alamo. “The World Cup has really kicked it for us. We've seen about 20% more bookings since we launched the campaign at the beginning of the tournament.” The company is also offering travel industry professionals discounted weekly car hire rates in the UK, Orlando, Austria or the Netherlands throughout July (see page 7). Meanwhile, Holiday Autos has teamed up with four leading airlines to offer fly-drive packages to encourage passengers to book their car hire as part of their holiday. Fly-drive deals start from AED 2,020 ($550) to destinations including the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland, including flights with Etihad Airways. Other destinations offered in the packages include the UK, Australia, or New Zealand, flying with Royal Brunei; France, Austria or Switzerland with Swiss International Airlines; and Dublin with Aer Lingus. “In effect, customers will have the benefit of seven-day car rental, with additional valuable extras such as unlimited mileage, all within the price of the air ticket,” said Naz Musa, managing director of Holiday Autos Middle East. Hertz is lending its name to Dubai Summer Surprises promotions this year, under the auspices of Al Futtaim, which is sponsoring the event. The car hire company is offering customers 35% discount on car rental across its entire fleet during the event, which runs from June 21 to September 1. Europcar UAE was preparing its summer promotion campaign as ATN went to press.

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