AVIS has launched a campaign to raise trade awareness of its partnership with Eurostar. The rental company is working with the Channel Tunnel rail operator's travel sales team to tell agents about the competitive rates available to rail-drive customers and the extra commission they can earn by selling a rail/car package.
The Avis rack rate for one week's rental in France in July for a Group A car, such as a VW Lupo, is around £140 including unlimited mileage, collision damage waiver, theft protection and local taxes. The Eurostar/Avis rate is £130.
The car-rental company has had an exclusive alliance with the Channel Tunnel rail operator for three years but has developed an integrated marketing plan for the first time this year.
Avis UK partnership marketing manager Claire Harrold said the aim is to raise the profile of the partnership and consequently the volumes of car rental booked by Eurostar passengers arriving in Paris, Brussels or London.
"We have already seen huge increases this year as a result of our new strategy," she said.
Harrold would not release figures, but said the number of rentals taken by Eurostar passengers arriving in Paris has doubled year on year, albeit from a low base.
In Brussels, volumes have tripled, again from a low base, while rentals among French passengers arriving in the UK are up 50%.
Avis is now keen to make the concept of raildrive as acceptable to the UK traveller as it is to the French domestic market. If clients are concerned about driving a car in the city centres of Paris or London, they can opt to collect their car from a rental office outside the city.
Harrold said the company's partnership with French rail company SNCF generates more car-rental bookings from railway stations than from French airports, at 500,000 a year.
Avis has rental offices at 195 railway stations in France. The next step is to develop a reservation link between Eurostar and Avis.
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