Dec 29

Do You Have Accident Recovery Solutions in Place?

As a rental agency, what do you do when you rent a vehicle out, and the renter has an accident? What accident recovery solutions do you have in place? The car that you rented could be severely damaged, even totaled.

Of course, if the renter has purchased the insurance that you offer, these are easy questions to answer. You simply make the claim against that insurance policy. That company will pay out the damages.

This becomes a slightly stickier problem if the renter opts out of the insurance that you offer. Many times, this is exactly what renters will do. They assume that because they have their own personal auto insurance, that will cover them in the event of an accident in a rental vehicle. That very well may be true. However, it’s not always the case. As the rental company, it is your responsibility to be sure that your renters have adequate insurance to cover losses to a rental vehicle.

Accident Recovery Solutions

Here are some tips that you can use to be sure you won’t have to take a hit on damages done to your vehicles:

  1. Every time a renter comes in, even if they are a regular, check to be sure they have a valid driver’s license.
  2. Check renters’ addresses every time they rent. If they have an accident and you don’t have a valid address on file for them, you will have to bear the responsibility and cost for trying to find them to collect damage. Renters must also pay fees, including administration and loss of use fees. But you can only collect if you can find them to bill them.
  3. Check renters’ insurance information, every time they come in to rent. It’s not uncommon for a renter to buy insurance so they get the card, and then let the insurance lapse. If they have an accident without any insurance, you may be responsible for the damages.
  4. Be sure renters’ insurance includes collision coverage. Most rental agencies require that renters’ insurance has this provision, or they will be required to purchase the insurance from the agency. You won’t know for sure if they have collision coverage unless you check.

Accidents Can Cost You Big Money

As the rental agency, you can sue renters for accident recovery fees. However, if you can’t find the renter, or they have no insurance, you will have to pay for the damages or purchase a new vehicle. This can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

You may be thinking that finding all of this out takes too much time, and it will increase line length and customer complaints. While this may be true, finding out all of this information can save you money in your accident recovery efforts.

Need help making sure your renters are adequately covered? Reach out to Bluebird Auto Rental Systems today at 800-304-5805. We can help!

Dec 01

Upgraded RentWorks Ensures Safety Recalls are Handled

 

SafetyRecall

If you rent or lease cars and your fleet consists of 35 or more vehicles, you need this information about safety recalls. The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act took effect recently. This law makes it a violation to rent, loan, or sell defective, unsafe recalled cars until the safety recalls have been repaired.

The act’s namesakes, two sisters ages 24 and 20, died because of an accident in a rental car that had been recalled but not repaired.

Rental car companies purchase the most new cars in North America. They also sell the most used cars. Under the new federal law, rental companies will have to repair millions of used cars.  This is in addition to existing state laws that prohibit dealers from selling unsafe products to the public. 

This new law is the first expansion of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) authority over safety recalls since the agency’s start in the 1960s. Now the NHTSA can issue fines and other sanctions to help prevent tragedies caused by defective vehicles.

Most players in the rental car industry, including Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, Dollar-Thrifty, Alamo, National, and the American Car Rental Association, helped persuade lawmakers to vote in favor of the act.  They worked with representatives of the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety and other supporters to pass the new law. General Motors and Honda also supported the bill, unlike other major auto manufacturers.

The Senate and House both rejected auto manufacturers’ attempts to kill the bill. They also voted to legalize rentals and loaners of recalled vehicles with disclosure. This would have blamed victims for accidents, since sellers warned buyers in advance of issues with the cars.

How can Bluebird help with safety recalls on vehicles?

Now that this law is in effect, you’ll need to know which vehicles in your fleet currently have recalls. We can help with that. We just released our latest version, RentWorks 4.1.G. It includes VIN decoding, which is an interaction between the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Authority) and RentWorks. The VIN goes to the NHTSA, and in return we receive specific vehicle information based upon the VIN. RentWorks stores this information for future use. 

We also receive Safety Recall information for the specified vehicle(s) based on the first eight characters of the VIN. RentWorks stores them as pending maintenance alerts. Once activated, these maintenance alerts will ground available vehicles and ground vehicles when they are returned. They will remain grounded until owners satisfy the safety recalls.

Are you ready to get started with RentWorks, or upgrade to the latest version? Call Bluebird today at 800-304-5805, or email sales@barsnet.com for more information.

 

Oct 09

RentWorks Express is Released!

Bluebird is pleased to announce our new “app” for Android and iOS tablets: RentWorks Express!

rentworks-express

Available from Google Play and the Apple AppStore, RentWorks Express has been developed in the Telerik Kendo UI platform.  Telerik, now a Progress Software company, is an award-winning development environment.

For dealership service departments, this app will quickly open a loaner agreement:

  • Import driver details from a DMS or the RentWorks renter table
  • Enter the repair order number
  • Assign the bill-to and service writer
  • Select a vehicle

 

You will then be able to electronically obtain their signature on the tablet, and email the completed contract.

For regular car rental operations, use the app to honor an existing open reservation.  The contract will be opened using all of the information from the reservation.  Assign the car, have the driver provide their initials and signature on the tablet, and you’re done!

The app has been developed so that ANY contract/agreement form can be used as long as there is sufficient “white space” surrounding each initial and signature.

RW Express will work with Android OS version 5 or greater or iPad iOS version 8 or greater. For our on-premises customers: please note that RW Express requires Progress version 11.6.

Please contact your account manager if you would like to try it out.

Aug 29

5 Bad Habits for Car Rental Social Media

Five Bad Social Media Habits

Car rental and social media unfortunately do go well together. Here are he main bad habits of car rental’s social media presence. In the next edition, we will discuss how to solve them!

 

social-media

 

1. Spamming Social Feeds with Repetitive Messages

One sure way to get people to avoid following you, and those following you to stop doing so is to spam their feeds. Instead of making every last tweet about your rates, try some content that is engaging and motivates your ideal customer to learn more about your business. You will be amazed by the amount of people who stick around, and actually respond to what you have to say!

2. Sticking to Only Facebook and Twitter

While they are no doubt the big two, and need to be used – there are plenty of other social media services that can help market your business. We have previously discussed Instagram and its capabilities; other platforms to consider are Tumblr and Pinterest.

3. Leaving Social Media Accounts Barren

While we strongly suggest keeping your accounts active, nothing makes your business look more abnormal than having social accounts that have been inactive for months or years. It’s one thing to understand that you can’t take the time to manage your business’s social media needs, but at least take the time to delete inactive accounts. That way when potential customers check you out they don’t see a ghost town, which has the potential to reflect poorly on your business.

4. Asking for Retweets or Likes/Shares (Cringe!)

A compliment is best when it is given unsolicited. A compliment means little when it is asked for repeatedly on social media. If your content is good, people will notice. If not, people will ignore it. It’s really that simple.

5. Not Talking with Your Audience

Ask your audience questions, reply to their comments, and proactively engage with people on channels like Twitter and Instagram who have similar interests as your brand in a genuine manner. Searching hashtags that are similar to your brand’s interest can accomplish the latter. You’ll see your engagement, sentiment and audience grow. For more social media discussion follow our blog at

Jul 24

Bluebird Teams With JumpDrive

BrightLot announces that Bluebird Auto Rental Systems, a leading provider of cost-effective software to vehicle rental companies and dealership loaner fleets, has completed integration with their JumpDrive product, the latest technology in vehicle monitoring for your assets.

jumpdrive

 

The integrated solution was successfully deployed at a luxury car dealership in the Boston area. JumpDrive uses an on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) plug-in device to monitor a vehicle’s precise fuel level and odometer.

The device transmits this information directly to Bluebird’s system when a vehicle returns back on the lot for check-in. JumpDrive also sends an arrival alert that shows the exact fuel charge, driver behavior compared to previous trips on the same vehicle, and alerts agents of vehicle damage, off-road driving, or pilferage.

 

 

“We are excited to release this powerful product to our customer base” said Angela Margolit, President of Bluebird Auto Rental Systems. “The time it normally takes to obtain the odometer and fuel levels by service agents is virtually eliminated – and of course the values are 100% accurate.”

Sachin Chaudhry, Co-CEO of BrightLot said “We are proud to work with the Bluebird team. We are impressed by the breadth of their products and the team’s passion for their many long standing customers.”

Jun 27

Bluebird Auto Rental Systems Integrates With Dealertrack

Bluebird Auto Rental Systems, a leading provider of cost-effective software to vehicle rental companies and dealership loaner fleets, is proud to announce that it has completed integration of its Bluebird’s NetRent/LoanerTrack with Dealertrack’s dealership management system (DMS).

dealertrack

Dealertrack DMS customers who use Bluebird Auto Rental’s software NetRent/LoanerTrack for their service loaner fleets and rental departments will benefit from increased efficiencies by having the two systems fully integrated.

NetRent/LoanerTrack, which was approved via Dealertrack’s Opentrack Certification Program, speeds up the check-in and check-out process of loaner cars and makes it easy to track which cars are out on loan and when they are due back.

Data fields can be made mandatory and unlimited custom codes can be created, i.e. Employee Use, which can be assigned to each vehicle. The product’s graphical Reservation Planner allows users to instantly review how many vehicles are on rent, when they are due back and what the assigned reservations are in the future.

“Dealertrack’s Opentrack Certification Program made it easy and inexpensive to integrate our system with their dealership management system,” said Angela Margolit, President of Bluebird Auto Rental Systems. “Our customers who use Dealertrack’s DMS will be able to access Netrent/LoanerTrack directly from their DMS workstations, streamlining the loaner car and rental process and creating associated revenue opportunities.”

“Dealertrack’s DMS Opentrack Certification Program allows dealers to securely integrate their Dealertrack DMS with certified third-party providers and software, like Bluebird and its NetRent/LoanerTrack software, used within a dealership,” said Sharon Kitzman, Vice President and General Manager, For Immediate Release DMS, Dealertrack. “In addition to Bluebird, there are more than 120 certified Opentrack partners.”

If you are a Bluebird customer using Dealertrack and are interested in more information, feel free to contact us today!

Jun 17

Customer Service and “#Spiderpocalypse2016”: What We Can Learn

We have stressed the need of having a strong online presence when it comes to customer service for years now. However, a recent event involving a rental car, and a plethora of spiders, demonstrates exactly how important it is to have someone behind the keyboard for your operation.

customer-service

What went down?

Chris Tarantino rented a vehicle from a Hertz location in the Fort Meyers, Florida, area. He was reaching in his backseat when suddenly something happen which would surely garner the same reaction from many….

Now don’t get me wrong, this could happen at any time to anyone. However, seeing that it this happened in a rental car, it is understandable that the blame quickly was deflected to Hertz.

Of course, the Hertz location didn’t want someone driving around with baby spiders, so they worked with Chris to get him a replacement for his spider-ridden Dodge Charger. Chris took the opportunity to name his misfortune “#Spiderpocalypse2016”

In the meantime Hertz’s official Twitter account made sure that everything was under control.

Luckily, someone at the Hertz location was on the ball and had someone ready to respond, and the situation was taken care of (Tarantino’s car was replaced). He was quick to thank Hertz for their efforts.

 

Once the situation was handled Hertz made sure to let them know that he could always reach back to them if any other issues arise.

What we can learn!

Having a strong customer service department, both online and off, can mitigate many issues that arise. With both the original Hertz location and the corporate location responding to Chris’ time of need, the situation was handled and it was clear that the company cares about their customers.

This should go without saying, but it is absolutely necessary that you respond promptly. Hertz’s responses didn’t come a day later, they came minutes later, and that’s an important detail. The longer you wait, the worse your operation is going to look.

Also, the Hertz corporate account gave them their number to call. It is important to take the conversation offline and make it personal. The last thing you want is a long conversation over social media where words can be misinterpreted and everyone can see it.

What’s your Customer Service advice?

What does your operation do to respond to customers online? Let me know in the comment section below!

May 20

Marketing Car Rental With Snapchat

With the popularity of Snapchat rising, it’s time for car rental marketers to take notice!

snapchat

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile image messaging service that allows users to send pictures and videos to one another. The message exists for a short period of time then disappears. It has grown from humble beginnings to a service recognized by marketers of the largest brands in the world, ranging from publications to sports teams.

How your business can use it!

Snapchat has gone the route of Facebook and Twitter, in that it’s no longer a niche social media outlet. Everyone, of all ages, uses it. If your operation is savvy with their marketing, now is the perfect time to utilize Snapchat for a competitive edge.

Of course, you have to produce solid content in order for people to follow your operation. Here are some ideas:

Behind the scenes

Many business use Snapchat to show the inner-workings of their operations. Why not debut the newest addition to your fleet to your followers?

Promotions

Keeping up with the theme of your customers needing reason to follow you… send exclusive offers to your followers.

Let an influencer take control

If your operation is community-based, have a figure take the reigns for a day and let them be a spokesperson for your brand. If your operation is larger, well then… find some with even more influence.

Observe other brands!

If your still struggling for ideas, follow other brands and see what they are doing. Mimic what you like, stay away from what you don’t.

 

There is no concrete guide for Snapchat marketing, as it’s an outlet still in it’s infancy in terms of use. However, there is great potential in using one of the fastest growing social media outlets in the world! Take the dive today!

 

May 01

Car Rental: Let’s Consider Email Marketing

Marketing is an ever-evolving buzzword that we hear all the time. However, the focus of marketing is often lost in the conversation. Car rental operations (of course, not all of them) are notorious for losing focus on what matters… customers!

 

email-marketing

Time to face facts!

Those facts? That traditional means of advertising are not guaranteed ways to target your intended audience! Even worse they can become a drain on your operation’s financial resources. Radio ads can cost in the $10,000 range if you want the most people listening, and even a local television ad can cost up to $1,500, just for production!

The Better Option..Email Marketing

Instead of purchasing ads that are expensive, outdated, and not very personal, it may be time to consider an email marketing campaign for your car rental operation.

Email marketing allows your business a personal means of communication with your existing and potential customers.

Unlike traditional advertisements, most email marketing platforms allows for senders to create an email that is personable, which makes it harder to ignore than any ad they’d normally see.

For example, you can customize an email to include a customers name in the subject heading as well as in the body of the email. That just doesn’t work in a radio, tv, or print ad…

Yeah… but does it work?

We all skim through emails everyday, so what’s to say that your marketing efforts will be just another victim of the junk folder?

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 5.32.23 PM

Data from smartinsights.com

Fear not, as the travel and transportation industry enjoys a comfortable 20% email opening rate. Recipients only unsubscribe from email lists at 0.24%. The bounce rate, both hard (0.51%) and soft (0.69%) does not equal the 2% threshold which business are advised to stay under.

Even if they don’t read them the first or second time, they are more likely to open an email from your operation than they are to unsubscribe completely.

Make The Change..

Next time your operation is offering a sale or discount, instead of running to the traditional means of advertisement – implement an email marketing campaign.

There are plenty of services for email campaigns such as Constant Contact and Mailchimp. These services offer cost-effective ways to market your business, as well as analytics that allow you to gauge the success of your campaigns and what changes you can make.

Have you already started an email marketing campaign? Let me know how it is going in the comment section below!

Apr 18

International Car Rental Show: Visit Bluebird!

Bluebird Auto Rental Systems is proud to be in attendance, and a sponsor, for the 2016 International Car Rental Show.

international-car-rental-show

The Bluebird team will be at booth 318, and we will have a demo of our latest product, RentWorks Express!

We look forward to seeing our customers, and meeting new friends at this year’s show!

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