In October last year, the Woodford Group announced a partnership with global mobility leader, Enterprise Holdings, in a move that would bring Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo to all Woodford Car Hire's current and upcoming locations.
Since then, Woodford and Enterprise have worked together – with teams from both South Africa and abroad – to bring these brands to the country. The launch and the first pick-up for Enterprise Rent-A-Car took place at Cape Town International Airport on 10 May 2023, with momentum continuing over the next few weeks.
The car rental market in South Africa has long been dominated by a couple of well-known brands and a few established, but smaller players. With many companies having been forced to defleet during lockdown and travel picking up dramatically since, travellers have been underserviced. A visit to any international airport’s car rental agency strip during peak period reveals the extent of the demand, with long queues of luggage trolleys snaking throughout the area.
Prices seem to rise and service appears to suffer. And while many smaller agencies have tried to satisfy the demand with alternate or niche offerings, the larger companies still maintain a monopoly.
The numbers don’t lie
So how has Enterprise fared in its first month? Pretty well, according to bookings and pick-ups. In what is considered a relatively quiet period before the July and winter holidays, Enterprise has received almost 2,000 bookings since going live.
The demand is clearly there, but it seems that customers have taken to the brand for a variety of reasons. International travellers, of course, have a level of trust and recognition. Having Enterprise and its affiliates available in South Africa means renting from a familiar ‘face’ and knowing that a high standard will always be met.
Local customers, however, have been desperate for something different from an industry that may not have the best reputation. The established agencies in South Africa have always dictated prices and availability, testing the loyalty of even the most frequent travellers.
Enterprise offers a wide range of vehicles at some of the lowest rates (we found a Kia Picanto for less than R420 per day, including top-up waivers and 200km free every day), and service that is as polished as the new branches are. Not surprisingly, the Kia Picanto and the Toyota Agya have been the most popular of the 2,000 bookings, with the majority of pick-ups scheduled for Cape Town.
Bringing a larger brand to South Africa would make sense in providing more option and variety to customers, but Woodford and Enterprise’s vision goes far beyond introducing a new player to the market.
More than just car rental
Established in 1957, Enterprise Holdings operates a network of more than 10,000 neighbourhood and airport rental locations in more than 90 countries and territories across the globe, with South Africa being the latest to launch.
Enterprise Holdings and its affiliates offer extensive car rental, carsharing, truck rental, fleet management, retail car sales, as well as travel management and other transportation services, to make travel easier and more convenient for customers.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car positions itself not only as a provider of vehicle rental services, but also a provider of mobility solutions – a holistic look at keeping people mobile.
For more than a decade, Enterprise saw South Africa as a potential market, but wanted to choose its local partner carefully. “Customers seek us out – and stay with us – because we deliver a great customer experience,” said Enterprise Holdings assistant vice president of global franchising – EMEA, Milena Jankovic.
“Providing the highest level of customer service has created deep customer loyalty for Enterprise across the globe, and our new partner in South Africa has demonstrated a commitment to investing in technology and providing a personal touch that makes each rental occasion exceptional.”
The whole package
Enterprise Rent-A-Car South Africa’s aim is to therefore offer travellers both world-class services and systems and a keen understanding on how South Africans travel and how renters want to travel in South Africa.
Despite the clean, corporate branding, Enterprise is driven by a local partner and team who know what’s essential to customers and more importantly, how to treat them.
Enterprise’s numbers and success over the past month aren’t the indicators that matter to the company as much as the ability to providing mobility solutions that connect people are.
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