Are you part of one of Africa’s most successful business partnerships? Efficient, effective and forward-looking, it involves Europcar working on the business of your travel, leaving you more time and energy to focus on building your business.
“Our brand promise is ‘moving your way’, and that means listening in every way possible to our customers to evolve our offerings alongside their evolving business needs,” says Europcar SA Commercial Officer Martin Lydall.
Central to this is Europcar’s fleet of 18,500 vehicles in southern Africa alone, catering for car rental, van rental (in South Africa only) and chauffeur service. Within these mobility solutions, customers may select from a wide range of vehicles, from luxury business vehicles and 4x4s, through to utility vehicles, bakkies and vans, economy sedans and people-carriers.
“Bringing new products to market is key, with the Business Connect online booking service for small businesses being our most recent,” says Lydall. “Added to this, we take care of existing customers by polishing and upgrading the existing products they know and love, such as the successful major upgrade of our Business-to-Business website in mid-2013.”
Accolades of excellence
“Receiving the title of ‘Leading Car Hire Company of Africa’ for the eighth year in a row at the annual World Travel Awards in late 2013 was gratifying recognition of Europcar’s efforts to remain both pro-customer and highly competitive in this challenging business sector,” says Lydall.
“We’re also reaping the benefits of the great foundations this company has laid over the years,” he says. “In southern Africa alone, Europcar runs across 120 branches based in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho.”
Thanks to its international network, business travellers have access to Europcar in 38 countries across Africa and about 150 countries around the world.
Efficiency and streamlining
Many of Europcar’s branches are strategically placed at major airports, conveniently assisting business people to implement their streamlined itineraries efficiently. For those booked through Europcar’s Business-to-Business website or its new Business Connect system for small businesses, this is simply a matter of showing a driver’s licence and ID, and collecting the keys.
“A significant proportion of our business is with longstanding corporate clients,” says Lydall. “They appreciate how we are constantly upgrading our online booking systems to ensure our customers’ travel lives with Europcar are smoother and more pleasurable.”
Introducing the latest best-practice upgrades made booking car rental online even easier for large corporates and travel agents from mid-2013, notes Lydall.
“We constantly try to harness technology that delivers win-win world-class solutions,” he says. “That means enhancing every aspect of the travel experience for customers, leaving them free to give their full attention to what’s important in their own businesses.”
Mapping technology and a vehicle comparison process were introduced, as well as implementing faster online booking and improved search and navigation features. Europcar’s Business-to-Business website tool is compatible with all major web browsers, and the upgraded portal is accessible from anywhere in the world with Internet access. You can maximise this website tool for your business, using its facilities for accounts and accounts management, electronic management information reporting, and electronic invoices.
Extending your reach
“Europcar constantly develops and delivers products and services to address and meet our customers’ ongoing, changing needs,” says Lydall. “With the recently-launched Business Connect, an exciting extension of the Business-to-Business brand, for the first time in South Africa SMEs can benefit from a service and the attractive, lower rates usually reserved for larger corporate and government departments.”
Business Connect fast tracks car rental for SMEs – from real-time online booking, through pick-up which is paper-free and requires only a driving licence (no credit card), to streamlined online authorisation and billing procedures, offering all-in-one financial control.
“We understand how SME owners are often very stretched, multi-tasking as managing director, financial director, sales, marketing and HR executives,” says Lydall. “With Business Connect, the pay-off is better business practice, allowing more focus on their core concern of business development.”
Protection in emergencies
Because safety is always paramount for Europcar, every vehicle in its fleet undergoes a 30-point quality check each time before being rented out. ABS braking, 90% of the fleet with airbags, and selected vehicles with protective window film are all standard features throughout the substantial fleet. And to assist customers when they’re on the road, all vehicle tags and windscreen tags carry the free-access number for Europcar’s 24-hour emergency call centre.
“That means a customer can easily report an accident or vehicle theft if necessary,” says Lydall. “A replacement vehicle can then immediately be dispatched so the customer can proceed with business with the minimum possible disruption.”
For the discerning business person, Europcar chauffeur services are a cost and time-effective alternative to traditional self-drive, with options ranging from economic to luxury and including off-peak rates. Europcar chauffeur services win on three major fronts:
- Airport transfers – These alleviate concerns about traffic delays, worries about leaving your car at the airport and the budget implications of the high costs of airport parking. Europcar’s chauffeur service has competitively priced rates.
- Arriving smoothly – Savvy businessmen away from their home towns enjoy chauffeur services, because they don’t have to find their own way around challenging road diversions or worry about parking. And while travelling, they can safely attend to calls and messages, or go through the next meeting’s papers.
- Attending social functions – Your chauffeur service driver is automatically the designated driver, so you are free to relax and enjoy the event.
Aiming for excellence
“As an industry leader, we constantly engage with stakeholders to offer our customers continually evolving, best-practice solutions, because we know that what customers really care about is how we deliver on our promises,” says Lydall.
“In a nutshell, we aim to make the booking and the whole car rental process as accessible, speedy and efficient as possible, so that our customers can focus instead on their business plans.”
Europcar South Africa
Claire Tyler – General Manager: Marketing
Tel: +27 11 479 4207
* This article was paid for by client