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Avis Budget Group chairman and CEO Ronald Nelson on Thursday
said the company does not plan to aggressively push no-show fees for U.S. car
rentals in the near future and instead will rely on other tactics for fleet
optimization, such as pre-payment.
Industry analysts last year suggested that the rental car
industry seemed poised to widely roll out fees that penalize travelers who cancel
bookings at the last minute, and Avis Budget has tested the fees for small-market,
non-corporate business. While Avis Budget has systems in place to handle
no-show fees, Nelson said the company does not plan to roll them out further.
"We've slowed it down, because there hasn't been
industry acceptance of it yet," Nelson said.
Instead, Avis Budget plans to focus on the pre-pay option it
has in several markets, in which renters pay rental costs upfront and receive a
rate discount of between 5 percent and 15 percent, he said. Since it's less likely
travelers will cancel a rental car booking for which they've already paid, the
system accomplishes the same end as no-show fees, according to Nelson.
"For us, it's never been about getting more revenue,"
he said. "It's been about managing our fleet. It's the same issue, but you're
looking through the prism on the other side."
Avis Budget still plans to use no-show fees in certain
cases: around such large events as major conventions or the Super Bowl, Nelson
said, and for rentals of specialty car types.