Can Hertz See Available Inventory?

Old Oct 28, 06, 2:23 pm
  #1  
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Question Can Hertz See Available Inventory?

My question is whether the Hertz CSRs at the rental site locations can see what cars are available on their own lots.

The reason for my question is because I have had the following experience repeatedly at the SFO and SEA locations over the past three months.

1. I arrive, and the available car is
- dirty (SEA)
- not what I reserved (SFO, SEA)
- missing from the slot indicated on the board (SEA)
- other
2. I tromp back to the desk past rows of apparently-available cars (no shortage of cars as far as I can see, no names above them, no contacts on their dashboards)
3. I ask for another car
4. I overhear the customers on either side having a similar conversation
5. My CSR and the other CSRs begin to peck at their terminals and/or make telephone calls to mysterious other Hertz employees in a search for cars
6. After fairly long (ten to thirty minute) manual searches, I am issued a new contract and car

So why is it that the CSR cannot just pull up a listing or inventory of all the available cars, select one, and hand it out? The manual search thing is painful to watch, and I have heard my fellow renters make queries as to what the CSRs are doing and wondered it myself. Can anyone shed some light on this?
Wilbur is offline  
Old Oct 28, 06, 2:48 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: UK
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Originally Posted by Wilbur
My question is whether the Hertz CSRs at the rental site locations can see what cars are available on their own lots.

The reason for my question is because I have had the following experience repeatedly at the SFO and SEA locations over the past three months.

1. I arrive, and the available car is
- dirty (SEA)
- not what I reserved (SFO, SEA)
- missing from the slot indicated on the board (SEA)
- other
2. I tromp back to the desk past rows of apparently-available cars (no shortage of cars as far as I can see, no names above them, no contacts on their dashboards)
3. I ask for another car
4. I overhear the customers on either side having a similar conversation
5. My CSR and the other CSRs begin to peck at their terminals and/or make telephone calls to mysterious other Hertz employees in a search for cars
6. After fairly long (ten to thirty minute) manual searches, I am issued a new contract and car

So why is it that the CSR cannot just pull up a listing or inventory of all the available cars, select one, and hand it out? The manual search thing is painful to watch, and I have heard my fellow renters make queries as to what the CSRs are doing and wondered it myself. Can anyone shed some light on this?
Most major Hertz corporate locations have a car control department, these guys are responsible for everything to do with fleet: car allocation, upgrades, what vehicles are available for CSR to upsell. They also control the flow of clean cars to ready bays and control refuel / valeting of returned cars. It is possible that some times cars are missed especially when they can deal with upto 2000 vehicle movements per day as they do at London Heathrow.
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Old Oct 28, 06, 4:10 pm
  #3  
 
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Yes, in short, every one of those cars should be searchable. However, there may be many reasons for a car not listed in the system or why a seemingly available car isn't. First, are all those available cars the actual car class you reserved? Are you 100% sure or just think that the car over there "looks like a midsize"? I've heard literally hundreds of times people's complains that "I wanted a fullsize and they gave me X instead." Over 99% of the time, they were wrong. In addition, if you're one of those "mandatory upgrade" people based on your status, just know that those are also usually based on availability. That's my comments for your claim that you didn't get what you reserved.

As for why a car would not be easily available, here are some common reasons:
1. Once each car is parked in a stall, it is manually entered into a computer. On busy days, sometimes they just don't do that ahead of time.
2. The daily manifest will tell the CSR a lot-including how many reservations for each class and when they are. There may be 10 C's one hour and 23 F's the next. Thus, when you come to pick up your car, you might be seeing all of the C's and half of the F's. They may be unassigned at the moment, but are actually for specific reservations.
3. Cars may be parked in gold and rented through the main counter if Gold is slow and the main counter is busy for the day.
4. Once the cars are assigned, someone needs to run the contracts out to the car (that would be the job of gold prep) and sometimes they either get behind or pulled to other tasks. I used to do gold prep and gold gate at the same time--jumping between the two.
crnk is offline  
Old Oct 29, 06, 2:51 pm
  #4  
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Interesting, thank you for the replies.

Do the one-tier upgrades cause the CSRs problems? Do they only look for cars in that car class?

I usually just want a clean car, and I am not overly picky about the class - would it help to state this outright, something along the lines of, "Any clean car with low miles will be fine"?
Wilbur is offline  
Old Oct 30, 06, 10:18 pm
  #5  
 
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For your recent questions--

I don't think the CSRs ever really looked only for one class upgrades. Obviously, if there aren't any cars in that class, there wouldn't be much of a reason to keep searching the computers for those cars. I'd say that by your gold profile, they sort of know what to look for with giving you a car....here are some guidelines of notes you might have in your profile:
PC/high renter--significant upgrade. Maybe a towncar or such if avail.
smoker--higher mileage
nonsmoker--lower mileage usually to avoid a potential smoking car
make or model pref--they usually try fairly hard for getting you the make pref. not so sure about the model pref.
They usually try to give gold upgrades first, and will often only send a B (that is, compact) if ordered (or if A was ordered).

That said, if you're looking for a lower mileage car and are a non-smoker, I'd just ask sometime that they tag you for non-smoker cars. I don't know much about cars being clean or not, but usually people with those sort of notes in the profile were obsessive (or at least seen that way). I'd say that asking for low miles explicitly probably won't do you much good. THAT is the type of gold profile note that they would laugh over and not care about. After all, most cars didn't have too many miles on them.

My only real question for you is: What is high miles? What do you consider low miles? And honestly, unless you are on a lease and swapping cars every year, I have serious doubts that the rentals you are getting have more miles than your personal car. For extremes, I've driven quite a few cars with 2 miles on them (actually, I think 1.6, based on the trip ODO). I've also driven my dad's truck that probably had 150k on it at the time. The highest I've seen on a Hertz car was probably 35k, and it was rare for them to go past 25k. Hell, It wasn't all too common to see anything over 20k either.
If you're really the low mile fanatic, try getting a car with 2 miles on it...good luck! The lowest I've seen rented was with 3, and I've seen a few more with 4-5. That's out of a good 2k cars probably when I worked there (2k??? maybe more...don't know).
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Old Oct 31, 06, 9:50 am
  #6  
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Thanks, CRNK, for the good insights. I am not (or I hope I am not) an obsessive, but as you noted, my experience with asking for "low-mileage" cars has been that most CSRs are happy to give out the car with less than 2,000 miles on it, and once or twice the under-50-miles car. They are in very good condition with low miles, and my Hertz experience in general has been very good.

It is the few SEA or PHL rental experiences with the really marginal customer service or old, dirty cars that form the outliers, along with the recent SFO trips where a lot of people, including myself, were asking for car changes.

Thank you also for the tip about updating my profile, and have a nice day.
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