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Enterprise Rent A Car expands home working pilot


Car hire company Enterprise rent-a-car is expanding its home-working pilot programme after experiencing significant positive results after only a few months.  Enterprise launched the pilot to establish whether home-working was a viable approach to growing its call centre, based in Aldershot. During the pilot, call centre employees from the Enterprise Business Support (EBS) facility were given the opportunity to work from home and were set up with all the technical support to make this a success. EBS is primarily responsible for handling telephone reservations and due to the growth of the business and the premises were almost at capacity.

Enterprise then compared the cost of setting up an employee to work from home against the cost of having an office-based employee. The comparison showed the cost of an office-based employee is around £5000 per year whilst the cost of a home-based employee is only £1500 in the first year for set-up costs and is then almost minimal in subsequent years.

This immediate 70 per cent cost-saving, combined with several other very compelling benefits which the company has seen from the programme, has demonstrated that home-working is a very successful business approach.

Some of the other benefits of the home-working pilot have included improved retention, reduction in absenteeism and disciplinary issues, higher employee satisfaction and a more diverse work force – helping the company to fulfill its wider commitment to creating a fully inclusive and diverse work place.  The retention level for EBS home-based employees is 80 per cent, almost 20 per cent higher than the national average for call centres. In addition, the home working programme has made it easier for Enterprise to provide out of hours call centre assistance, improving the customer experience.

As a result, Enterprise will be expanding the programme as demand for call centre employees increases moving forwards, with a view to achieving a target of 50 per cent of EBS employees becoming home-workers over time.

Leigh Lafever-Ayer, HR Director UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, said, “Most of our UK employees are branch based and need to be on the branch floor to look after customers. So we’ve focused our home working opportunities on back office functions. We’ve proved employees can be as effective working from home and this approach can help control cost. It’s evidence that flexible working can be a very successful business strategy.

“We’ve also found that we’ve been able to recruit a more diverse work force to our call centre because we can offer greater flexibility. The home-working pilot has attracted a completely wide group of candidates from working mothers to retired company directors, people who want to work and be part of an ambitious business, but need the flexibility of working from home.”

Katy Harding is one of the home-based Customer Service Specialists at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and lives in Farnham, Surrey.

She says: “Since becoming a home worker, I have definitely seen my work-life balance improve for the better. I find I have much more time for my family and friends, which is ironic as I actually now work more hours per week than when I was office-based.Compare Car Hire with Car Hire Assistant

“Although occasionally I miss the friendly faces, I find I am much more productive at home, plus it’s nice to not have to fight for the parking space, or, wait for the over-crowded bus to get home.”

Car Hire Assistant provides a car rental comparison service which includes local car hire companies as well as well know brand names such as Sixt, Europcar, Avis, Budget, Hertz, National car rental, Thrifty, Alamo and Dollar. Car Hire Assistant can compare up to 550 suppliers in under a minute via a website search engine, or a mobile app for the iPhone called “CarHirePro“ which can be downloaded by following the link or searching for “Car Hire Assistant” from any iPhone.

 

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Sixt acquires powerful franchise partner in Ireland


Sixt customers can now benefit from an improved range of services in Ireland. Sixt, Germany’s largest vehicle rental company and one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality mobility services, has joined forces with a strong vehicle rental partner on the Emerald Isle. The franchisee has around 20 years’ experience in the field and is renowned for its outstanding service.

Sixt offers an extensive range of vehicles for customers in Ireland. Models range from Opel and Toyota to Audi and Mercedes. The fleet caters to all requirements: from small and mid-sized cars to SUVs, premium vehicles and minibuses. Many of the vehicles are equipped with automatic transmission.Compare Car Hire in Ireland

Both private and business customers have a range of options to choose from when it comes to the rental period – from classic 24-hour rentals to rental periods lasting a couple of weeks or even several months. Initially, Sixt customers can pick up their vehicles at a variety of different locations in and around Dublin, such as in Dublin city centre or directly at Dublin International Airport: the point of arrival for almost all leisure and business travellers.

Sixt has been present in the Irish vehicle rental market since 1998. Since July 2011, Sixt has also offered a range of high-quality leasing services all over the country. Just as in the vehicle rental sector, Sixt also works together with a high-quality, experienced franchisee in the full service leasing sector. This ensures that Sixt is able to keep up with rising demand from business customers for fleet solutions Europe-wide.

Detlef Krehahn, Senior Vice President International Franchise at Sixt: “We are delighted to have on board such an experienced company with the highest standards in quality and service as our partner in Ireland. Private and business customers alike will soon benefit from this new partnership. What’s more, the new partnership will make a key contribution to creating synergies between Sixt partners and companies in Ireland and the United Kingdom in the vehicle rental and leasing sectors.”

 
 

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10 tips on how to save money on your next rental car


 1.      Shop aroundCar Hire Comparison with Car Hire Assistant

The internet can be your best friend when looking for a rental car. All of the major car rental brands have their own websites that provide instant prices. In addition, many smaller, independent operators will also have an internet presence, although the quality of the websites and ability to provide an instant quote will widely vary. In addition, there are a number of excellent car hire comparison sites, most of which will provide instant prices from a broad cross-section of rental companies including well known brands, national and local car rental companies.

2.      Book early

Yes, contrary to popular opinion, booking your car early will save your money. Rental fleets are a finite resource and when there is a shortage, prices rise quickly. The same principal applies for peak periods, if you want to save money and maximise choice, then book early. Remember, smaller vehicles tend to go first, therefore, unless you want a larger car, together with the premium that accompanies it, get in early.

3.      Vary hire dates and periods

Rental operators have a day rate, weekend rate and weekly rates. If you want to hire a car for 4 or 5 days, check also for their weekly rates, it may actually work out cheaper overall. In addition, renting your car on a weekday rather than a weekend can also alter the price in your favour. Experiment with dates, you may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

4.      Vehicle Choice

Although it may be tempting, avoid being seduced into opting for a vehicle larger than you need. The difference between smaller, compact cars and their larger counterparts can be considerable. Because smaller cars are in demand, there is always the chance that the rental company will offer to upgrade you on arrival. Although they will try and sell you the upgrade, if you refuse to budge, you can often get a premium car for no extra money.

5.      Avoid the headlines

Unless you are adept at discovering the ‘catches’ or have a lot of time on your hands, avoid being drawn in by the promise of a rental car for a few Pounds (or Dollars) per day. Few of the companies running these offers ever substantiate these bold claims. These headlines are designed to entice prospective customers to enter their lair. Once there you will quickly discover that the price quoted will not deliver you a fully insured car on the dates you want at the location you need. Any rental company or broker that makes these misleading claims are not worthy of your time or your money.

6.      Avoid airports

Airports are an expensive place to run a business and this is always reflected in the prices of rental cars. It is not unusual to see an “airport surcharge” on your rental quote. Although some companies claim that there are no surcharges, the reality is, these charges have already been factored into the rental price. Check the price of the rental car at your destination airport and then compare it with nearby locations. In return for a little inconvenience, you could save a huge amount on the rental charges.

7.      Understand insurance and waiversCar Hire Excess Insurance Waiver Policy

If you are going to get caught out on anything, it will inevitably be insurance. Whilst the vast majority of rental operators will include some form of insurance, the types offered vary widely. Be sure that, at the very least, your insurance includes Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Waiver Insurance. In some countries it may also be sensible to have some form of Loss Damage Waiver, which covers the hirer for any loss of earnings the rental company may suffer when a vehicle can’t be hired due to damage or loss. However, this is a two-part process; insurance is only half of the story.

Although rental companies love to use the term “waivers” when referring to insurance, this does not include any excess, which will be your responsibility. The excess passed on by rental companies can be huge, maybe as much as $3000 (£2000). There also appears to be some correlation between the low headline price and the amount charged for an insurance waiver to cover the entire excess. No surprise there then!

If you are going to be paying by credit card, check with your issuer because, if you are going to pay for the car by credit card, some will offer some form of cover for these eventualities. Alternatively, if you want to be certain, purchase a standalone ‘car hire excess insurance’ policy. These pay and claim policies are offered by specialist insurers and can be purchased for a fraction of the price charged by rental companies. For example, you can expect to pay anything up to $25 (£13) per day for ‘excess waiver insurance’ from your rental company, whilst a specialist insurer could offer you an annual policy for under $65 (£40). It is not unusual for hirers to claim that their rental price increased threefold after they were sold “essential” insurance policies at the rental counter. You have been warned. This is probably the most common complaint amongst disgruntled hirers.

8.      Price Premiums

With very few exceptions, most car hire comparison sites receive their income from the rental companies in the form of a commission. Although some comparison sites may charge a ‘booking fee’, those that don’t will make this very clear at the outset. Price comparison sites can only succeed if they consistently provide the best prices for the consumer and this mean the final price, not the headline price.

9.      Avoid extras or go prepared

Want a SatNav or child seat? You can expect to be charged up to $12 (£8) per day for either of these items. It is the “Gillette Effect”, you pay a few Dollars for a razor and then get charged an exorbitant amount for the blades. However, unlike razor blades, you have a choice.

If you have your own portable SatNav, upgrade the mapping software and take it with you. Alternatively, SatNav’s with local maps can often be purchased for around $75 (£50), this is a viable alternative to a weekly rate of $80 charged by rental companies. In addition, you maybe be able to sell it on an auction site when you get home, thereby recovering at least half of your investment.

Most airlines will allow you to take a child seat free of charge. If this option is available to you, then consider this rather than paying $75 (£50) a week to the rental company. You can also consider ‘booster seats’, these can often be purchased locally for less than $20 (£13) and are a viable alternative. Another possibility is to consider hiring an MPV or people carrier, most of these have integrated child seats and, it may prove to be a cheaper option.

10.   Fuel: Know the rules

Every car hire company will have their own variation on fuel policy and knowing the rules is absolutely essential if you don’t want to get hit with a surcharge or penalty. If the rental company provides you with a full tank, then you must return it with a full tank and that means full tank. Don’t be tempted to short-change the rental company, this is a false economy and you could be hit with a fixed charge as well as having to pay a premium for the fuel added. If you are provided with a car which has a full tank of petrol, you can expect to be charged for this in the form or a deposit or a pre-authorisation on your credit card.

If you are given the option of having the car provided with a full tank, you can expect to be charged a premium for the service and, if you don’t expect to use all of the fuel, it can be a very expensive option.

Car Hire Assistant - Compare Car HireSummary:

The most important advice that can be given to any prospective hirer is to be fully cognisant of the terms and conditions of the hire. Terms vary between operators and you can’t assume that because you are hiring through a well known brand that there terms and conditions will be less onerous or more upfront. The main areas to look at are; insurance, mileage, fuel policies and penalty fees, for example if a vehicle is returned a few minutes later than agreed. You also need to understand if you are expected to pay some form of deposit and/or if your credit card is pre-authorised for any amount because this could have a bearing on your available money whilst away from home.

Many rental companies, car hire comparison sites and brokers offer a cancellation policy. In most cases, as long as it is not within a few days of the hire, there is no penalty. If you have read the terms and you are not happy, don’t be afraid to vote with your feet!

© This article is copyrighted by Car Hire Assistant. Reproduction in part or in full is prohibited without written authorisation. 

 
 

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Average Briton spends 24 hours researching their holiday prior to booking


A study by one of the UK’s leading online independent travel agencies has revealed that the average Briton spends more than 24 hours looking for and researching holidays on the internet before they actually book anything; regardless of whether they book online or in a travel agency in the end.

It would appear that Britons put a lot of thought and research into their annual summer holiday, as research by a leading online independent travel agency has revealed that the average UK holidaymaker spends 24 entire hours trawling the internet to research and look for holidays in the run up to booking.

A poll from online travel agency http://www.sunshine.co.uk formed part of ongoing research into the holiday habits and preferences of people around the UK; with this study having a specific focus on the research process before a holiday is booked. 1,049 UK adults took part in the poll and all of them had been abroad in the past year.

When asked to estimate how much time they spent per week researching holiday destinations and hotels online before they finally got around to booking their last holiday, the average answer was ‘4.5 hours’ per week.

They were then asked how many weeks it had taken them to decide on and book a holiday destination and accommodation for their stay, to which the average answer was ‘6 weeks’. When taking into account that the average respondent researched holiday destinations and hotels for 4.5 hours per week for 6 weeks before making a final decision; that equates to 27 entire hours sat in front of a computer screen searching for somewhere to go on holiday.

When asked what their most important requirements were for accommodation when carrying out their research, the top 5 answers were as follows:

·      Air conditioning – 77%
·      Sea View – 64%
·      Pool – 61%
·      Good food – 58%
·      Child-friendly – 53%

Chris Clarkson, co-founder of sunshine.co.uk, said the following:

“Of course it’s important to make sure you’ve booked a holiday that’s right for you and that you know you’d enjoy, but you shouldn’t over-think things when searching for your next destination or hotel to visit. You can end up overcomplicating things by being too picky and then you just end up going round in circles.Compare Car Hire

“If you aren’t just returning to a destination that you know and love and are searching for somewhere new, ask family and friends for their recommendations and use that as inspiration. The most important thing is that you are getting the best deal, so it’s important to shop around or look for agents with a low price guarantee.”

Fortunately, when it comes to booking a rental car, there is no need to spend 24 hours trying to find the best deals. The Car Rental Search and Booking Engine employed by Car Hire Assistant includes 550 suppliers, in 175 countries with 30,000 locations. And, these can be searched in less than a minute. The best deals are summarised and booking is a simple 3 step process.

Car Hire Assistant adds nothing to the price of the rental car and using their service if free to the user.

 

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Car Hire Excess Waiver Insurance Protection


Have you been shocked by the amount of insurance excess your selected car rental company wants to impose on you? If the answer is yes, then you are not alone.

For those that are not familiar with this practice, the “insurance excess” or a rental contract is the amount that the hirer is expected to pay in the event of a claim. Even if the hirer has Collision Damage Waiver or Theft Waiver, this insurance invariably comes with a very substantial sting in the tail, in the form of an excess.

As competition between car hire companies has intensified and insurance premiums have risen, most operators have elected to keep the headline prices low by accepting a large excess from the insurers and then passing this burden onto the, often unsuspecting, hirer.

Of course, these rental companies are not naive; they also know that offering “waiver insurance” provides a new revenue stream. However, not content with just covering the true cost of the waiver, many rental companies charge a substantial premium for the insurance waiver. It is not unusual to see reports of the insurance waiver premium exceeding the entire cost of the hire car for the duration of the hire.

If hirers are not aware of the large excess prior to collecting the car, then they can expect to listen to a high powered sales pitch on the virtues of taking out the insurance. Remember, this is now a new revenue stream and, it may be a substantial part of their profit on the contract term. Nervous hirers may be too tired to argue or feel pressured into taking this expensive insurance, or having to face the prospect of shouldering the entire burden for the duration of the hire. Neither prospect is particularly appealing.

However, there is an alternative. Hirers can take out an independent insurance policy to cover the insurance excess. These policies can be purchased at any time and it doesn’t matter who the car is hired from. The policies normally operate on a “Pay and Claim” basis, where the hirer pays the claim and then claims it from the insurance company post hire.

Although benefits may vary between insurance companies, they will typically offer insurance of up to £2,000 per claim and also cover additional areas such as damage to tyres, windows, the roof or the underside of the vehicle. These polices are also more flexible, given they can be purchased for a day, the duration of the hire, or even a full year.Buy Car Hire Excess Insurance

Car rental price comparison site, Car Hire Assistant offers once such policy in association with specialist insurer, Odyssey Group. It is not necessary to rent a car with Car Hire Assistant to take advantage of the benefits offered by this insurance excess policy. It is completely independent of the hire.

As always, forewarned is forearmed. Prospective renters need to be fully aware of what is included in the price of the car and the lever of any excess they may be responsible for. It is then for the hirer to decide whether to accept the risk, purchase insurance direct from the car hire company, or to opt for purchasing a ‘standalone’ insurance excess policy.

 

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Seychelles leads the way in eco-tourism and conservation.


Eco is the buzz word in world tourism travels, and expectations are intensifying on destinations expected to be considered serious in that area. The Seychelles leads the pack in many areas in the field of eco-tourism and conservation.

Mr. James Michel, the President of the Seychelles Republic, has been one of the strong advocates for protection of the environment, and he has been personally involved in having over 50% of the total land area of Seychelles declared as protected reserves. This is no easy feat for a small island nation, but the island’s President has said that his government will be seen as good custodians for the natural wonders the mid-ocean islands of the Seychelles has been blessed with.

President Michel has recently named Prof. Rolph Payet as the island’s Minister responsible for the Environment. The enthusiasm of this new Minister as an environmentalist will help ensure that the Seychelles remains the jewel it is today. Prof. Payet is an expert in climate change and the problems of small islands states and sea level rise. He is a frequent speaker at international forums and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for some of his works.

The Seychelles conservation approach was highlighted by their Tourism Minister in discussions with the press in Brazil. He went as far as to explain the importance being placed on not only protecting the environment, but also on the new regulations being implemented to right areas where the islands had moved in the field of development. The island of La Digue in the Seychelles group was cited as an example by Minister Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.

“The Seychelles government wants the islands to not only retain the spectacular natural beauty it has, but wants to also regain grounds of areas we allowed development to gain an upper hand,” the Seychelles Minister said.

Minister Alain St.Ange explained that one area that is now the focus of attention on La Digue is transport, and this includes cars and pickup trucks. He said that President James Michel of Seychelles is personally monitoring progress in this area, as the island would lose its charm if the number of petrol vehicles on the island were not tackled to make way for eco-friendly, battery-operated vehicles. The Seychelles government has already made necessary arrangements through Minister Pierre Laporte, the island’s Minister responsible for Finance, to encourage the La Digue island inhabitants to move to eco-friendly vehicles by removing all duty on such imports.

“The Minister responsible for Transport, Minister Joel Morgan is working on the details and time tables for this move, and it is believed that this move is set to make La Digue island even more eco-friendly than it is today,” the island’s Tourism Minister said when answering questions from the press.Compare Car Hire

Seychelles believes that such moves as will be taking place with petrol vehicles on La Digue will enhance the island’s tourism industry and safeguard the investments in tourism made by La Digue islanders themselves.

Car Hire Assistant provides search engine and booking service allowing visitors to compare the prices of rental companies in up to 175 countries, including the Seychelles. In addition, car Hire Assistant offers a range of ‘travel extras’, including Travel Insurance, a standalone Car Hire Excess Insurance policy, Hotel, Seaport and Airport Transfers and a range of tours, attractions and other things to do.

 
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Posted by on 28/08/2012 in Tourism News

 

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JetBlue Airways launches Puerto Rico services


JetBlue Airways, Puerto Rico’s largest carrier has launched its new nonstop “capital-to-capital” service from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico today.

JetBlue was granted a pair of beyond-perimeter slot exemptions from the United States Department of Transportation to launch this new long-distance flight in May. JetBlue’s flights are the only nonstop service between D.C.‘s downtown airport and San Juan. This route is JetBlue’s 14th destination from San Juan and will operate from JetBlue’s exclusive new ‘home’ in Terminal A at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.

“Today’s new flight represents JetBlue’s continued growth at National Airport, having grown from an initial nine flights in 2010, to our 18 daily non-stop, low fare departures today,” said Rob Land, senior vice president of government affairs and associate general counsel at JetBlue.

“It was gratifying to see the overwhelming community support that made this flight happen and this support represents exactly what JetBlue is about: listening to our customers. We’d like to thank both Secretary LaHood and his team at the Department of Transportation and Governor Fortuño and his administration for their support.”

Compare Car Hire“San Juan’s new capital to capital direct service on JetBlue is a major step in our effort to be the premier U.S. hub in the Caribbean, giving travelers new, low-cost fare options that will boost Puerto Rico’s standing as the best destination for business and tourism in the region,” Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño said.

Price Comparison Site, Car Hire Assistant compares prices on car rental in Puerto Rico and beyond, including all major seaports, railway stations, airports and cities. The booking search engine used on the Car Hire Assistant website can interrogate up to 550 suppliers based in 175 countries.  In addition, Car Hire Assistant can provide insurance against the car rental excess imposed by car hire operators.

 
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Posted by on 26/08/2012 in Airlines

 

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