Upwards and onwards: Hertz expands its southern African footprint

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Effective 1 April, Hertz Rent A Car chalked up another milestone with the introduction of the global brand to Botswana. And that’s no joke says Wils Raubenheimer, CEO of Hertz’s operations throughout southern Africa.

With the Hertz brand firmly on home ground in South Africa and Namibia, Zimbabwe and most recently, Botswana, are the latest additions to the Hertz Rent A Car family in southern Africa.

“We’ve just formalised an agreement with an existing car hire company to acquire its operations in Botswana and, with our re-branding programme in its final phases, the ubiquitous yellow and black is positioning itself at four strategic locations throughout Botswana,” says Raubenheimer.

“Effective April 1st, Hertz switched on the lights at Gaborone’s Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, the main international gateway to Botswana and we have also stamped our mark on downtown Gaborone and Francistown and Maun airports.”

The Hertz Botswana fleet currently comprises brand new Groups B (VW Polo hatchback), U (Toyota Corolla Quest), E (Toyota Fortuner 4 x 2), H (Mercedes Benz C 180) Group M (Toyota Hilux 4 x 4 double cab).

“Between 2000 and 2009, tourist numbers to Botswana grew by an estimated 50%, and while tourism still contributes a relatively small portion towards the country’s GDP, the growth trend is continuing,” he adds. “We believe that a strong Hertz presence will boost this by our taking an active stance in promoting Botswana as a

top tourist destination both locally and internationally.”

Upscaling in Zimbabwe on the cards

Hertz made its move into Zimbabwe in mid-2014 and the operation is in the process of making a move to Harare

International Airport. Suitable sites are under review and the relocation is imminent.

Raubenheimer reports that based on the exponential growth of tourist numbers to Victoria Falls as the hub for that region and the increasing demand for airport/hotel road transfers and vehicle rental in the region, Hertz’s trademark black and yellow will soon be forming part of the landscape. “Our plans are quite far down the road but that’s all I can say right now.”

Hertz’s Zimbabwe fleet mix currently comprises late model Groups T (Hyundai i10), B (Hyundai i20), U (Nissan

Almera), E (Nissan XTrail) and D (Hyundai Sonata).

In early 2013, Zimbabwe’s Civil Aviation Authority initiated a US$150-million airport expansion programme which, according to Ronnie Masawi, Victoria Falls International Airport Manager, will see the new airport able to accommodate more than three times more passengers. “It will have an annual passenger handling capacity of 1.2 million international travellers and 500 000 domestic passengers,” heconfirms.

Reporting on the status upgrade, Victoriafalls24.com quoted Ross Kennedy, CE of Africa Albida Tourism as saying: “The VictoriaFalls Airport is going to be a massive game changer, not only for Zimbabwe, but for the region. We will have a new airport capable of landing and handling – in all conditions – long-haul wide body jets.”

While this would transform Victoria Falls into a new regional hub, firstly for tourism, it also had the potential to become a commercial centre, he added. With the airport expansion programme well underway, Maswai says that tourism in the region is expected to boom with the “long overdue development” scheduled to be completed and operational by end-July 2016.

In Namibia, Hertz has two locations each, in both Windhoek (downtown and at Hosea Kutako International Airport) and in Walvis Bay (downtown and at Walvis Bay Airport). A fifth location is in the pipeline for the new airport at Ondangwa in the north and expected to be operational during May.

“The expansion of our footprint within southern African presents both an exciting opportunity and an incredible challenge for the Hertz brand and with the full backing of our holding company Unitrans Automotive and, Hertz

International, we are confident of success,” concludes Raubenheimer.

Latest value-add

In response to the increasing demand for affordably priced, longer term rentals in the SouthAfrican market, Hertz has recently launched its value-add 30 Day Plus rolling rental plan.

“We’ve sharpened our pencil in terms of rates which makes this offering particularly well-suited to contract workers, expats home for an extended holiday, employees with car allowances, long-term visitors and tourists to SA and also for small business owners and individuals not wanting to go the long-term finance route,” explains

Sherl Camera, General Manager of Business Development. “30 Thirty Plus is a product that has been tailored and priced for a niche market and we are very happy with the take up since launching in mid-February. It offers flexibility in favour of the renter with early termination of the agreement carrying no penalty.”

 TOP HONOURS

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, the Hertz Corporation’s global customer loyalty programme took top spot in the ‘Drive’ category across the Americas, Europe/Africa and Middle East/Asia/Oceania at the 2015 FlyerTalk Awards held in the USA on 10 March.

Judged the top car rental loyalty programme worldwide for the fourth consecutive year (from more than 100 affinity programmes),  Hertz Gold Plus Rewards also received ‘Outstanding Benefits’ recognition across the latter two regions.

With the awards determined by the FlyerTalk community, a group of half a million frequent business and leisure travellers, “we’re very proud that the African region has been acknowledged for their contribution yet again,” says

Raubenheimer.

Home to Hertz

Hertz Rent A Car is one of South Africa’s premier car rental companies. With almost 100 years of international heritage, excellence and innovation underscoring our car rental product and service offerings, our aim is to satisfy the needs and exceed the expectations of our business and leisure traveller clientele alike.

From modest, entry-level city run-abouts and holiday hatchbacks, to top-of-the-range luxury models and 4×4 double cabs that cater for our customers’ on- and offroad needs in style and comfort, we pride ourselves on running a diverse range of vehicles aged, on average, 12 months or less.

With close to 50 locations strategically located throughout South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, Hertz has a fleet mix suited to every need.

Hertz is the world’s # 1 car rental company and a market leader since 1918. Operating the largest global vehicle rental network, Hertz Rent A Car operates in over 8,000 locations in more than 145 countries in North America,

Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand.