Avis Rent A Car was founded in 1946 in Detroit. It was the first company to rent cars from airports. Over the decades, the company has expanded through both franchised and corporate-owned locations. Avis also implemented “Avis Connect” which offered customers portable wireless Internet – the first rental car company to offer this.
Avis is the second-largest car rental company. Avis operates in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, India, Australia and, New Zealand. Other units of the Avis Budget Group are Budget Rent a Car and Budget Truck Rental.
One distinction between Avis and other smaller car rental companies is that Avis sells cars. They offer what they call “The Ultimate Test Drive “ which allows you to choose a car online and rent it up to 2 hours free or up to 3 days at a discounted rate. The 3 day rental fee will be refunded if the car test drove is bought.
Services Available by Avis
Typically Avis includes unlimited mileage in their rental rates or at least a pre-designated number of included miles daily, weekly, or monthly as part of the rate. Mileage charges will apply should the number of miles exceed the number of pre-designated miles. Avis will inform customers at time of the reservation whether the rate includes unlimited mileage or if it is pre-designated mileage.
At an additional cost, Avis does offer optional insurance plans. Additional insurance must be purchased at time of the rental.
Renters are reminded that their personal insurance plans and/or charge cards may offer insurance for rental cars. It is advised that customers look into these services prior to renting the cars.
Avis does not offer customers a points-based loyalty program. It does, however, offer an invitation-only loyalty program based on the number of rentals in a calendar year. The benefits include upgrades, weekends, free rental days, by-pass of rental counter, etc.
Avis offers customers two main ways to book: online and by phone with a representative. If booking online, Avis also offers assistance to customers having trouble with the online booking system. In 2009, Avis launched the first iPhone application which was the first rental car application in the US. It is easy to view, cancel, and modify reservations online with the user-friendly Avis system. Avis also introduced an e-receipt system which allows customers to access their receipts online instead of waiting for a paper receipt. Avis also has a “bereavement travel” service to help those travelers who are booking a rental because of a death. This service is available by calling customer service.
Avis has made some advances in their check-in process over the years. In 1987, the Roving Rapid Return was first introduced. This is a handheld computer terminal, intending customers to be able to bypass the rental counter. Another way that Avis helps its customers to check in is most airport locations will stay open to meet customers with advance reservations and who have had their flights delayed. It is their policy to honor reservations up to 16 hours beyond the reserved pick-up time, making it less stressful for customers who have been delayed through no fault of their own.
At airport locations, Avis offers courtesy bus transportation to and from the airport terminal and the rental facility. In addition, some Avis locations may provide free local pickup and delivery as long as the customer is within five miles of the rental facility and has advised the location at least 24 hours in advance of this service to ensure it is available.
Avis does allow one-way rentals, usually at a premium. There are many locations at airports making it easy to find a location to drop off vehicles.
Avis offers its customers key services including: e-receipts, an iPhone application, and the Roving Rapid Return allowing customers to bypass the rental counter. Compared to other car rental agencies, Avis appears to have the less-strict reservation policy for those customers who encounter flight delays. A lot of other rental car companies will only hold reservations up to the end of the business day whereas Avis offers a grace period of 16 hours for customers who have been delayed through no fault of their own.