If you’re getting ready to pack your friends or family into
a rental car for a summer road trip, you’re not alone. Weekend rental
car reservations have been very strong this summer, reflecting a new
consumer trend known as "lifestyle renting," according to
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the largest rental car company in North America.
"More and more, we’re finding that our customers are matching
the automobile they drive to special occasions," says Jill Lane,
general manager and vice president of Enterprise. Lane notes there is an
exceptionally strong demand for SUV, pickup, and minivan rentals over
long weekends. "Today, renting a set of wheels is not unlike
renting a tuxedo for a wedding," says Lane.
A recent survey of 1,800 North American drivers confirms this
observation. The poll, conducted by Enterprise, found that people are
renting vehicles other than the ones they own to satisfy lifestyle
needs, from a long weekend getaway, driving the kids to a weekend
baseball or soccer tournament, to celebrating a special night on the
The survey confirmed that the trend is being fueled largely by
younger drivers between 21 and 30 years of age who tend to view their
vehicle as an extension of themselves. These younger drivers are more
likely than older drivers to say that their vehicles do not always meet
their needs in terms of image, trunk space, seating capacity or
Tips for that ideal rental car experience
Brian Hampton, general manager and
vice-president for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, offers some helpful tips for
consumers in their quest for an ideal rental car experience:
To get the best rate
Many rental car companies offer weekend discount packages especially
at local neighborhood locations. Ensure you book a large enough vehicle
to accommodate both your passengers and their luggage. If you are
interested in upgrading your rental car, you can often do so for a few
extra dollars at the time of pick-up, if the vehicle is available.
Use the Net to compare rates and make reservations
A convenient way to compare rental car rates is to visit the Web
sites of the rental car companies in your community. Rates at these
sites are updated more frequently than those posted on travel web sites.
Most rental car companies also take reservations over the Internet.
Ask if the rental car company will pick you up
For added convenience, some community-based rental car companies
offer free pick up and return. This eliminates the need for you to
arrange to have a relative or friend drive you to the rental office.
If in doubt, take the insurance
Before renting a car check with your insurance broker to determine
whether your personal auto insurance covers rental cars. Also verify the
coverage offered by your credit card company before you rent a vehicle.
If you are not covered, or if you’re not sure about your coverage,
take the optional Collision Damage Waiver coverage. The nominal cost
will be a real bargain if you have an accident.
Always inspect the rental vehicle first
Avoid subsequent disputes by inspecting the vehicle with the
rent-a-car employee to assure that any pre-existing damage or scrapes is
acknowledged by the rental car company before you drive away.
These tips are provided by Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
- News Canada