Last updated: 07:00 PM ET, Sun December 27 2015

Car Rental and Rail's Biggest Winners for 2015

Car Rental & Rail | Donald Wood | December 27, 2015

Car Rental and Rail's Biggest Winners for 2015

After a wild year in the car rental and rail industries, it’s time to look back on 2015 and determine which companies were the biggest winners.

Between fundamental changes regarding which generation is driving the future success of the car rental industry to several major partnerships and acquisitions, there were several marquee companies which made major changes and improvements over the last 365 days.

Millennials Are Driving the Car Rental Industry

The car rental industry is a key part of travel and tourism industries, and a study from J.D. Power suggests that millennials are driving a surge in rental car customer satisfaction.

According to J.D. Power’s 2015 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study, millennials are the most satisfied generation when it comes to rental car service. Younger people are also the second largest group of renters overall and second largest group of business travelers.

With 47 percent of the millennial customers expected to post a review online, car rental companies are more focused than ever on making sure they are satisfied with their experiences.

Love Always Wins, Per Enterprise

Anyone who has been in love knows the control it has over a person, and a study from Enterprise Rent-A-Car showed that the biggest winner of 2015 — and of all time — was love itself.

The study asked car rental customers what would get them to drive the farthest, and the overwhelming No. 1 response was love. An astounding 42 percent of respondents said they would travel the farthest to see a loved one, and only 25 percent said they would travel the farthest to attend a wedding.

Love for a favorite sports team is also a major reason why people travel, with the survey claiming college football fans are willing to drive an average of more than 230 miles to see their team. Hockey fans are willing to drive an average of 185 miles.

Avis Joins Forces with Universal Studios

The Universal Parks & Resorts chain is one of the most popular in the world, so the car industry scored a big victory when Avis Budget Group announced the company was working as the Official Car Rental Partner of the theme parks and hotels.

For Avis and Universal customers, the partnership will make them eligible to receive discounted rates and special offers from Avis Car Rental, Budget Car Rental and the Universal Parks & Resorts.

In addition to discounts, the deal between the two companies also expands to advertising, including the Avis and Budget car rental brands being featured on the websites of Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Advantage Makes a Major Acquisition

In one of the biggest moves in the car rental industry this year, Advantage Rent A Car announced in June that it had officially purchased the E-Z Rent-A-Car Group Holding company.

Advantage was already the fourth-largest company in the car rental business, and the addition of E-Z Rent-A-Car brings the company’s reach to a network of 85 locations and to 22 of the top 25 airports in the United States.

Instead of combining the two brands under the Advantage name, though, the company has continued to use the E-Z name due in part to its recognition as a low-cost rental alternative.

Rail Industry Thriving During Holidays

Most people will be hitting the road during the holiday season, so Amtrak has been operating extra trains and capacity to deal with the surge around Thanksgiving and the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Amtrak hasn’t been the only winner, as many train companies are offering journeys this winter themed after Santa Claus and the “Polar Express” movie and book. One of the most popular train rides will be in Batesville, Mississippi.

If you can’t make it to Mississippi, don’t worry, there are other well-known rail companies all over the United States that will offer themed train rides meant to capture the spirit of the holidays for people of all ages.


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