Do you love airport car rental? If you answered yes, you’re in good company. According to a 2018 survey by J.D. Power, airport car rental has higher customer satisfaction scores than any other part of a typical trip. That’s right — people report that they have a better time with airport car rental than when they check into a hotel, book an airline flight, or spend any time in an airport. The reasons for this phenomenon are interesting.
Four Keys To Car Rental Success
J.D.Power ranks customer satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 1000. Satisfaction scores for airport car rental companies are now averaging 830 points. When asked to explain why renting a car at an airport gets higher marks than any other stage of a trip, J.D. Power pointed out four keys to success for car rental companies:
Everyone loves a bargain. Consumers shop around endlessly for deals on hotels, airfare, vacation rentals, meals, and other details. Car rental companies have done a great job of keeping costs low without skimping on service.
Smart travelers often enjoy splurging on one aspect of their travel budget. Some might prefer to stay at a pricier hotel. Others like to eat in better restaurants when they’re traveling for business or pleasure. Money saved on one stage of the travel process allows you to spend more where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck.
In general, travelers see that they’re spending less on car rental than before, and understand that it frees up money to be used elsewhere. Saving money on car rental makes other parts of the trip more enjoyable, too.
On the whole, rental car companies have a better selection of cars than ever before. The cars aren’t simply newer or more expensive, either. Travelers of all types are able to find the correct vehicle for their needs at a price they can afford. This includes vehicles that were once hard to find, like vans and motor coaches.
In addition to more choices at traditional rental car companies, there are a lot of local car rental businesses that rent good quality used cars. For most travelers, saving a ton of money by renting a “daily driver” type car is a no-brainer. As long as the car is big enough, clean, and in good working order, most consumers are willing to overlook the facts it’s not brand new if they can save some money.
3.The Reservation Process
For a long time, car rental companies had a reputation for being hard to deal with. They were famous for complicated pricing structures and unreliable reservation policies. Frustrations with car rental even turned into situation comedy routines, like this one from Seinfeld:
According to the survey, those days are mostly over. The car rental process is much easier to manage these days. With the rise of the internet, customers could find out more about the deals they were making, and compare prices more easily.
Communication is better in general. Even the smallest independent auto rental agency usually has a full-service, interactive website. Nearly instant communication is possible using phone, fax, email, and various chat apps. Customers can also check online reviews to make a more informed choice.
Automation does help auto rental companies to keep track of their fleet of vehicles and their customers, but travelers mostly still prefer the personal touch. One of the most effective ways for car rental companies to increase customer satisfaction is to have a positive, personal interaction with the customer.
Smartphones are invaluable when you’re traveling. Making phone calls is only a small slice of their usefulness for a traveler, however. Smartphone apps can handle all sorts of important details of your trip, from making reservations to watching out for traffic jams.
The J.D. Power survey reported that travelers who use travel apps report much higher satisfaction than customers who do not. Using your smartphone for travel is smart!
The Two Big Car Rental Satisfaction Secrets
A spokesman for J.D. Power identified the two points that lead to customer satisfaction. First, customers want to know exactly what it costs to rent a car, and they want that information quick. That might explain why rental car services at the airport are so popular. If the rental counter is inside the terminal, you’re likely to pay more, but at least you can talk to a real person and ask questions.
If the company is located offsite, but offer picks up and drop offs at the airport, you can visit their website to find out what you’re paying before you plunk down your cash. Either way, pricing is transparent and easy to understand.
Secondly, how long it takes to actually get into the car is a big factor. While traditional car rental companies often have car rental counters in most airports, their parking lots can be quite a hike from the terminal. Car rental companies are doing a much better job at ferrying customers to their remote lots than in the past. In addition, many travel services now have remote check-ins, which moves things along. Many independent car rental agencies can’t afford a lot at the airport, but have pickup and drop off service. In some cases, this is even faster than airport counter service.
More Ways To Pay
New payment methods for car rental are growing in popularity. This also could have an effect on customer satisfaction. It used to be nearly impossible to rent a car without using a major credit card with a very high limit. That’s changing rapidly. Many traditional car rental companies now accept additional forms of payment. In addition, there are many smaller, independent car rental agencies that accept non-standard payment methods like debit cards, gift cards, and cash deposits.
In the recent past, many car rental companies had strict rules for the age of the customer, the type of payment used, credit scores, and other details. This is also changing. Young drivers, consumers with bad or no credit, international travelers, and people with other unusual circumstances can usually find a car rental company that will work with them to get them into a car. This might also be having an effect on customer satisfaction in the auto rental industry. The fastest way to a customer’s heart is to make reasonable adjustments to your rental policies to make sure that if you want to rent a car, you can.
For more information about airport car rental in Los Angeles, contact Value Rental Car. They have convenient locations near LAX, and in Pasadena.