I received an email from a customer this morning who was kind enough to tell me about his rental in Copenhagen. He wrote that the service he received was great, pointing out that this is very typical of the service industry in Denmark. Yesterday Eibhlin spoke about how impressed she was with the Baby on Board service in Portugal. On the other hand one comment posted on this blog said that “UK companies are very poor at listening to customers” while the email I received this morning implied that perhaps the UK service industry could learn a thing or two from the Danish.

It’s interesting that some countries seem to have a better reputation for service than others. Is this true? Who has the best reputation? Is it Denmark? And what is it about their service that makes them great? Let me know your thoughts!

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I visited Portugal last week for a meeting with our Avis colleagues there. I have a very tough life!

We spent some time at Faro Airport and I was really impressed with a company called Baby on Board. It supplies and fits all of our baby seats at Faro and other major locations, uses the Chicco brand of baby seat exclusively and has almost every type and size of seat you can imagine!

It works really well, the team is specialist in baby seat fitting, so that gives parents an added level of reassurance and they have the time to talk each customer through what needs to be done and answer any questions they might have. I don’t have children myself, but I do know from friends, family and customer feedback how important the security and cleanliness of a child seat is. You can book the seat and pay for it through Avis along with the rental for your convenience. A great service, check it out on your next visit.

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Washing and valeting our cars in between hires can be a hectic job. The teams work very hard to make sure cars are spick and span every time for the next renter. They often find property people have left behind in the vehicles. Nothing more annoying than leaving your wallet or ipod in the car and not realising until you’re on the plane! We often get anguished phone calls from airside customers or customers who have arrived home and realised they left a CD in the car.

Happily we’re almost always able to reunite possessions with their owners. Just this week, a customer arranged for a courier to pick up his sunglasses, a very expensive camcorder and a dog lead and have them returned to him in Japan! So we encourage you to always check the car before you leave it as we don’t accept liability for anything you lose as a result of leaving it behind.

Recent items logged in Lost property at one of our biggest locations include

  • A Prosthetic Arm
  • Pack of condoms and a pair of knickers
  • A brace of pheasants not sure whether they were plucked or unlocked, but I think they were dead!
  • Barry Manilow CD… strangely nobody has claimed this back yet
  • Tiffany bracelet – sadly this was reclaimed says Eibhlin

The valet teams do a great job and we like them to tell us what they find. Keep it up!

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Vauxhall AstraDespite growing red tape for British business, few could argue with the intentions of the Duty of Care legislation, although I do sympathise that this can create anxiety and confusion for businesses who are unsure about how to fulfil their obligations. I am talking about this on our blog because the legislation means that any vehicle being driven by an employee in a business capacity is considered a place of work and is therefore subject to Duty of Care. However, if the vehicle is a hire car it can save major headaches and potential legal implications as it puts the responsibility on the car hire company to ensure the car is fully checked, roadworthy and legally compliant.

As a business, if this is something that concerns you, you may be interested in our new Avis Business Solutions which offers tailored car rental products for business customers. You can find out more information on our website.

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Looking outside my window right now you would not know that Summer is coming. But contrary to the weather it is and this means we are moving into our busiest period. If you are looking to rent a car over the Summer here is my top tips for getting the best value…

1. Book in advance
This is my top tip. It is not always possible to do this but where you can, try to book your car hire in advance. Our pricing model is very similar to that of airlines. When there are lots of seats available the prices are good but as soon as these start to sell out the prices go up!

2. Prices are in 24-hour blocks
We price by the day. For example, if you get a quote for a rental to start at 9am on the Tuesday to be returned at 11.30am on the Wednesday you will be quoted for 2 days. In this instance you may want to see if you can arrange to bring back the car at 9am on the Wednesday to get a one day price.

3. Try a different day
Different rental locations get busy on different days. For example, some locations may get a lot of customers picking up a car on a Friday for the weekend but are not very busy during the week. In this case prices during the week may work out cheaper.

4. The longer rental, the more economical it is
You will generally find that the longer the rental length, the cheaper the price works out per day. This is because having a car out on a longer rental length reduces the risk of having it sitting around idly making no money and so we can pass on the savings to our customers. For this reason many of our advertised prices are based on a 7 day rental.

I hope this helps. If I can think of any other tips I’ll post them as a comment.

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Over the weekend I was catching up with the travel news from the past week and read an article that should spell the end for the £1 cheap flights. As of May 10th the Office of Fair Trading will bring enforcement proceedings against any airline that fails to include all mandatory costs into its advertised prices. So from now you can be confident that, when you are told about a great deal on a flight, the price won’t double when all the taxes are thrown in!

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I’m into my gadgets and I think there’s a lot of great in-car technology that is either available now or we can expect to see the future. We have alluded to some of this on our blog with Rob talking about satellite navigation on Wednesday while not so long ago I blogged about how wi-fi is being introduced into our cars in the US. So yesterday it was great to be told about some of the cool features included on some of the newer cars on our UK fleet. Our new Ford Mondeos now include an ipod docking station, our Peugeot 407s have bluetooth and our Renault Meganes include a 12-volt socket for plugging in, well, whatever electrical appliance you feel you might need in a car. Here are the top 5 things I’d like to see:

1. Head-Up Display
Fancy yourself as Maverick from Top Gun? No, I’m not suggesting flying cars are just around the corner, but you soon could drive like you’re flying an F14 fighter jet. No need to look at the dashboard as your speed, radio stations, fuel levels, etc are displayed on the underside of your cars windscreen.

2. Satellite navigation with traffic
This is one that can really cut the stress from driving and it is readily available now. Pity that when there is a jam on the M25, no other route is going to save you time. I know this from experience!

3. Ipod connection
I talked about this in my intro. No need for CDs when you’ve got a miniature jukebox in your car.
  

4. Integrated Blackberry that converts text to voice
I’m not sure if this is even in the pipeline but if you are unfortunate enough to live your life by Blackberry (like I do), then you’ll see the benefit of this.
  

5. Green mode on automatic transmission
How about a Green mode instead of the Sport mode? It was an option available on the Toyota Prius I recently tried out.

The ones that just missed my list were automatic parking and automatic 3-point turn. Maybe I’m an optimistic, but the technology is there so it might just be round the corner! So what do you think? Do you know of any other gadgets that deserve to be on the list? Or have you got a brilliant idea that no one has even thought of yet? Feel free to post your top 5!

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Tom Tom One EuropeFollowing a review of our satellite navigation product I am pleased to announce that we now have the Tom Tom One Europe available to rent at several Avis locations in the UK. I read a really positive review on the Stuff website about Tom Tom so, if you are like me and you want to avoid losing an hour of your life driving aimlessly around country roads south-east of Alderley Edge, you’ll see this as good news.

Renting one of our Tom Toms in the UK costs £12.99* per day and we only charge for the first 10 days of the hire with any extra days free of charge. You can rent one of the units from our Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bristol airport locations and at our Mayfair location in central London. We also offer Tom Tom across Europe in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland. If you are renting with us in the US don’t forget to read our post about the Where2 satellite navigation we offer in the States.

The Tom Toms are not currently available to pre-book but this is something we are working on. To rent one simply ask at the counter when collecting your hire car.

*The price of our Avis GPS units quoted in this blog post has been changed from what was originally quoted. This is to reflect changes in our pricing since this post was published.

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Edinburgh CastleI’ve just been to Scotland, visiting the Avis office at Edinburgh Airport, Scotland’s fastest growing airport serving over 8.4 million passengers a year! Situated just 7 miles from the centre of Edinburgh, the airport is within easy reach of Glasgow and our staff reckon it’s a perfect gateway to the Highlands and the Borders. Here’s some information to help you with your rental when you’re there. 

The Avis office at Edinburgh is based in the terminal building and is open from 7am to 11.30pm on weekdays, 8am to 11.30pm on Saturdays and 9am to 11.30pm on Sundays. Don’t worry, however, if your flight is delayed. Staff will wait for you so you can be on your way as quickly as possible. Remember to always put your flight number in your booking so we know at what time and on what flight you’re arriving. 

Once you’ve completed the paperwork, it’s just a short ride on the courtesy bus to the car rental area to pick up your vehicle. However, if you’re a member of Avis Preferred, you can pick up your keys at the terminal desk and collect your vehicle from the car park opposite the terminal building, a great way to save time if you’re in a hurry. Why not sign up today? 

To return your car, just follow the signs for car rental return, or look at our map and directions. Our Rapid Return agents check over the car and give you a receipt, after which we guarantee there’ll be no further charges. You can also return your car outside of the opening hours by dropping your keys in the drop box in the car return area. 

On a personal note, I can recommend the Apex International Hotel for somewhere to stay. It’s located right in the centre of the old town and has a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the castle. You can see the view from my room at the top of this page. Not only that, you also get a free rubber duck when you stay there! 

We’ve now given you information about Heathrow, Gatwick and Edinburgh. Please let us know any other locations you’d like us to cover.

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Please note:

The details of all blog posts are correct at the time of publication. Information and offers are subject to change without prior notice. Please check www.avis.co.uk for the most up-to-date information.

All comments will be moderated so there may be a delay in your comment going live. We will filter out anything that is confidential, inappropriate, abusive, defamatory, profane, or anything considered as spam or an advertising link. We promise not to cut something just because it's not favourable to Avis.

We ask that if your feedback is regarding a past rental, you include your reservation details (which will be removed from the live post). If your comment is a customer service issue, you can email customer.service@avis.co.uk .
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At Avis, we really do try harder. We pioneered blogging in the car rental world and we aim to make our blog much more than just an information source. You can use our blog to ask questions or tell us what’s important to you when you hire a car. We try harder because we care what you think, so we really do value your feedback.

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