Car Rental and Rail Report Card 2015: Which Companies Earned High Honors?
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Over the last year, the car rental and rail industries have featured some highlights and lowlights, but there are several companies that have earned high honors when being judged for 2015.
With Enterprise dominating the car rental industry again, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft gaining popularity and Amtrak owning the rail market, here are the companies that consumers should notice after a strong year.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: A
One of the most recognizable brands in the car rental industry is Enterprise, but the reason the company stays at an elite level is the commitment to educated business decisions and a dedication to customers.
The continued success showed up on paper as well, as Enterprise announced in October that the company produced double-digit growth across several business lines, grew total revenues and increased overall fleet size in 2015.
Another factor in Enterprise’s grade is the focus on international expansion. Between a new brand launched in the Middle East and adding another franchise partner in Latin America, the car rental company amped up its global impact this year.
A company that was a major winner in 2015 was ride-sharing service provider Uber. The app-based service allows people to get affordable rides to destinations using a private network of self-employed drivers.
The biggest win for Uber this year was a study from expense management company Certify that claims the ride-sharing service has surpassed taxis as the preferred means of ground transportation for business travelers.
Another victory for Uber was several airports in major cities ruling in favor of the ride-sharing services being permitted to operate on the property. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was one of the first areas to allow Uber users access, and many other shave followed since.
Add in several Uber drivers going above and beyond for their riders, and it’s been a great year of growth and establishment for the company and the ride-sharing industry as whole.
Avis Car Rental: B
Another car rental company that thrived over the last 12 months was Avis Car Rental. The company brought home several top awards already, including a 2015 The Beat Readers’ Choice Award for Most Admired Car Rental Company.
In addition to winning several awards, Avis was also added to the 2015 Brand Keys Loyalty Leaders List thanks in part to the company’s commitment to improving the customer experience.
Another major step forward for Avis was the announcement of the expansion of its partnership with the Wyndham Hotel Group. Reward program members now receive discounts on hotel stays and car rentals from the companies.
The car rental industry thrived over the last year, and one of the main reasons was the success of Avis.
At the beginning of 2015, Uber was in a class all its own at the top of the ride-sharing food chain, but upstart brand Lyft has made a major splash in the industry in only a short time.
Early in the year, Lyft secured major funds from several partners in order to give it a boost in the competition against Uber. Since that time, Lyft has become a viable alternative and helped produce competitive pricing from both brands.
Lyft also made major headway with business travelers when the company announced a new three-way partnership with travel and expense management solutions brand Concur and accommodations app HotelTonight.
With ride-sharing services winning the court battles to operate around airports and the rise in business travel customers, Lyft has become a major player in the industry and will continue to be competition for Uber heading into 2016.
Photo by Brian Major
A year in review regarding Amtrak wouldn’t be complete without addressing the tragic events of the crash near Philadelphia's Port Richmond neighborhood in May. The devastation of the event is terrible, but the rail industry as whole is learning from the incident and is addressing any and all major concerns.
From that tragedy has come fundamental changes, which include cameras inside all locomotives and major facelifts to potential problem areas in the infrastructure. Those who died and were injured in the Amtrak Train 188 crash will never be forgotten.
On a more positive note, Amtrak has also made major upgrades to its rewards program and also improved the travel experience for passengers with disabilities. Both of these changes have made it easier for people from all walks of life to enjoy Amtrak’s service over and over again.
In 2015, Amtrak also gave passengers on the popular Auto Train line access to the free Wi-Fi service the company had installed on the trains. With technological, fiscal and safety upgrades throughout the year, Amtrak has dealt with tragedy and came out stronger than ever.
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