Travelers for the seventh consecutive year rated
Enterprise Rent-A-Car the top rental car brand, according to J.D. Power and
Associates' 2010 U.S. Car Rental Satisfaction Study, released on Tuesday. Customer
satisfaction scores improved from last year for all rental car brands covered
by the report.
The average rental car score this
year grew to 750 on a 1,000-point scale from a 733 average in 2009 as
satisfaction with costs and fees, reservations and pick-up and shuttle service
hit three-year highs.
snapped back to levels not seen since before the downturn two years ago," said
Stuart Greif, vice president of the J.D. Power travel practice, "and this has been
broad-based, with both business and leisure customers."
Greif said "business travelers tend to be tougher
graders, but they also tend to be more loyal."
Business travelers indeed were harder on rental
car suppliers than their leisure traveler counterparts. The overall
satisfaction score this year would have been 738 if J.D. Power looked only at their
responses, which comprised about 43 percent of the 11,500 evaluations on which
the survey is based. The aggregate score among leisure travelers was 759.
While overall satisfaction largely has returned
to 2007 levels, business travelers in particular still rate rental car supplier
performance slightly lower than before the recession. In 2006, business
customers gave rental car companies an average score of 758, which fell to 740
in 2007. "Then, in the past two years, it really dropped with the
recession," Greif said, "In 2008, it was 720, and in 2009, it came up
just a little bit to 724. This year, it came back to 738—close to the 2007
Still, Greif noted that
segmenting respondents by business customers only would not change the overall
rankings in this year's study. "When
it comes to the business segment, Enterprise, National and Hertz are in the
same order in terms of satisfaction," he said.
Finishing after Enterprise's
industry-leading 786 score, based on all respondents, Enterprise's National brand
came in second place with 767, followed by Hertz's 762. The remaining players
fell below the industry's 750 average, with Thrifty's 713 score firmly at the
particularly well among the business customers," Greif said, "and
Hertz does particularly well among leisure customers. When you look at
performance of customers in member programs—those that might have expedited
services when they bypass the counter—Alamo, which doesn't rank as highly
overall, does particularly well with its members, following just behind Enterprise
roughly in terms of satisfaction." Alamo's overall score, 749, fell just
below the industry average.
Fielded in September and October, the survey measured
on-airport car rental vendors based on costs and fees, the pick-up process, the
vehicle, the return process, the reservations process and shuttle or van
service to and from the airport.