Agents and operators make agreements with new owner
The Holiday Autos name will survive, and agents and tour operators can already make agreements with the online car rental’s new owner, the Irish-based rental site CarTrawler.
Mike McGearty, CEO of CarTrawler: “We were very surprised when we were told after the purchase that the previous owners Travelocity Global would be giving up their business in the travel industry, although this was not part of the deal. We have not yet fixed how we should use the Holiday Autos brand, but it is too good not to use.”
CarTrawler announced the acquisition of the online assets of Holiday Autos from Travelocity Global on June 18, 2013. The online assets comprise the Holiday Autos brand, Holiday Autos URLs and domain names as well as the underpinning B2B2C commercial agreements. CarTrawler did not buy the operations of Holiday Autos.
“Our strategy is to realize the strong potential of the Holiday Autos brand through the CarTrawler platform,” the chief executive explains. “The acquisition will deepen our geographic footprint in markets where Holiday Autos has an established presence and accelerate our growth in existing markets, so we certainly intend to keep the Holiday Autos brand.”
McGearty continued: “At the same time we would like to offer Holiday Autos clients in the travel industry that they can get an appointment with CarTrawler, which should allow them to re-order the cars for their clients.”
Holiday Autos has said goodbye to about 60 employees in the Nordic region, while in Germany it fired more than 200 people. In the Nordic countries bookings were being accepted up to August 31 with effect until October 31.
Following the acquisition of Holiday Autos online assets, CarTrawler, which has delivered significant growth since launching in 2004, will now have pro forma booking volumes of 2.5 million per annum and gross sales of €500 million. In 2012, Euromonitor valued the global car rental industry at almost €40 billion.
CarTrawler secures the agreement with the car rental supplier on behalf of all of our partners so that they are not required to do it themselves.
“CarTrawler’s system makes it possible for airlines, hotel chains, agents and tour operators to have their own platform,” McGearty explained. “Today, ancillaries and acquisitions are becoming increasingly important for airlines’ sales and profits. It can also help create independent revenue for our partners – as it probably has for the airline Norwegian, which has been our partner now for several years.”
Norwegian flies to 122 destinations but car rental has been booked on its website for over 1,000 destinations. Norwegian customers and customers of 52 other airlines choose to visit Norwegian.com to book their car rental regardless of whether they are flying with Norwegian or not.
On an airline’s website, the customer is offered a menu where a car from the size, brand or even the rental company can be selected.
CarTrawler currently includes the following partners who use the company’s system to generate extra revenue: Norwegian, Vueling, Emirates, SAA, Finnair, Icelandair, Malaysian and Air India. Within the accommodation sector Starwood with Sheraton are among the largest, as is STA Travel.
Analysis shows that customers’ claim “price” is the most important factor when booking car rental. However, up to 60% do not choose the cheapest car when booking.
Mike McGearty: “We are not interested in being responsible for the rental or to set up a special brand for car rental. We want only to be a mediator of contact between, for example, an airline and a rental company and in this way provide both the best choice as B2B2C.”
He continued: “CarTrawler is a car rental platform servicing multiple routes to market. We power car rental partnerships instead of targeting the customer directly through the CarTrawler brand. Our objective is to maximize revenue for all of our partners from across all segments of the travel industry. Our business model is based on a revenue share with our partners and suppliers so we can only succeed if they do.”
CarTrawler provides for payment to the rental firm, where it and the airline share the commission for a deal.
The site distributes more than 10 million rental days a year in 40 languages. At the same time a fun fact is that in 2012 selected passengers travelled with 52 different airlines to book a car on Norwegian.com.
“We aim to give the customer the greatest possible freedom of choice,” McGearty said. “I believe this is the cause of our great prosperity.”
TTG Nordic Magazine
[pictured: CarTrawler CEO Mike McGearty]