Q&A: Innovation is Key

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What does Avis stand for as a car rental company?

Service, it’s a customer-centric organisation and it stands for responsible business, which is why we have gone on an extensive sustainability drive. It’s about what the customer needs and what the customer wants.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the South African Car Rental Business?

It’s in a very tough position and at a stage now where it has to get rates up. We are renting out cars with rates below three or four years ago. Inflation has caught up, the yields are under pressure and, with looming interest rates coming, continuous other increases such as electricity, we are in a situation where we have to get rates up. Car rental is highly competitive and the deals are great. For an average price of R90 a day, you cannot get anything – you can’t rent a tuxedo, a weed-eater, you can’t even get a transfer from the airport to town, and we give the customer a car for 24 hours. It’s value for money like you cannot believe.

So how do you get your edge?

You have to offer value across the board and our edge is customer satisfaction and service. A lot of our investment is in people and training. We also run our utilisation of fleets the best in the industry and we ensure that there is no waste, through our sustainability.

What are Avis’s plans going forward?

Just to be innovative, to be sure that we continue to hone the machine and give great service, and then play a very good game in the online space, on the internet and in the social media, and to continually look for new products and new ways of doing business. If you look at the last ten years, we pioneered chauffeur-drive, we introduced point-to-point drop off, the luxury car division, coach cars. So, a lot of firsts in our industry were driven by Avis and we will continue to bring new and exciting products into the market.