Avis targets corporate growth
Sales director Anthony Ainsworth admitted that the firm had taken its eye off corporate rental, but since he had taken over the sales team 18 months ago, it had been planning a comeback in the business sector.
Mr Ainsworth said that Avis had undergone a restructure in the last year, with a third of staff on the corporate team being new.
Mr Ainsworth has set up three new departments: a business development team aimed at winning small fleet and corporate business, an account development team to manage corporate customers and a business travel specialist arm to focus on travel companies.
Evidence of the firm's new commitment, he said, could be seen in deals such as the massive £20 million contract it won with BAE Systems last year to handle its rental needs.
'When you asked business customers about rental firms a few years ago, Avis would have had very strong brand awareness and been in the top three, but that has dipped recently. Last year we made a concerted effort to go out and speak to customers more, to find out what they wanted and tailor our business towards them.
'As a result, in a market that really struggled, we managed double-digit growth with our share of corporate business, and we intend to expand further over the next three years.'
Mr Ainsworth added that the firm was also looking at ways to make rental more profitable, saying the industry had relied on deals between manufacturers and rental firms for too long.
'And I think as an industry we need to be tougher – so often we are not charging fees for non-cancellation of a booking, which would be standard practice in many other industries, so we are introducing a £40 penalty.
'Perhaps another area to look at is introducing more mileage-capping initiatives: a car is an expensive asset and there is an argument for saying that there is a point where, after a certain pre-agreed daily mileage, you have to pay more on a per-mile basis.'