Dollar Thrifty, one of the largest car rental companies in the region, is upbeat as 2011 turned out to be a stellar year. Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (DTAG) Mena opened new outlets in UAE, Qatar and Turkey, as well as a new Dollar headquarters in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco and will continue to concentrate on airport locations for further business and brand awareness. “The Arab Spring was certainly a challenge last year. Certain pockets saw a negative effect on business, but countries like Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, UAE and Oman have benefited due to their political stability attracting Arabs and foreign expats,” says Sam Eltibi, executive director, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Mena & Asia Pacific. “Since our preparations were in order last year, our businesses did not unnecessarily get affected.”
2012 will also see Dollar and Thrifty franchisees boost fleet and upgrade their vehicles to the current year. “By now, most of our car models will be 2012. Countries like Jordan, Qatar and UAE has increased their fleet size due to increasing demand,” he says.
Further on the agenda is to remain accessible to customers and invest on training programmes. “Whether it is timely response to the general email addresses or answering the telephone, we are providing a service to the public and they need to know they can count on us. We will invest in technology to allow quicker turn around times for our customers as well.”
Looking at trends, Eltibi says the company is witnessing more frequent but shorter rentals, due to the explosion of budget airlines in the region, encouraging people to travel more often. “In 2012, we should see more business from countries like Jordan, Turkey, UAE and Oman who have benefited in terms of tourism due to the unrest in other parts of the Middle East,” he concludes.