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Enterprise to Acquire National and AlamoApril 9, 2007 By: Mark Rogers Travel Agent
Enterprise Rent-A-Car's announcement of its intent to purchase Vanguard Car Rental Group Inc., which operates the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, seems to bode well for both agents and consumers due to the complementary nature of the businesses.
primary strength lies in the in-town and insurance replacement segments of the
industry whereas Vanguard, based in
serves the airport segment of the market. This transaction is expected to close
later this year.
"We think this is very good news for consumers and
travel agents," says Ron Cerko, vice president, travel industry sales,
Enterprise Rent-A-Car. "This acquisition will bring together two rental
car companies with highly complementary businesses and will enhance the
combined operations' ability to offer low rates and quality service to all
customers. We'll also be able to offer a broader range of services to
consumers—whatever their needs and wherever they rent from us."
Cerko notes that the agreement will enable the company to
utilize fleets more efficiently, since National and Alamo have a strong airport
has off-airport locations covered. "The dynamics of our industry have
evolved over the past several years, and it is clear to us the future belongs
to [those] who offer the broadest array of services," says Cerko.
Travel agents have witnessed these types of acquisitions
before. After 9/11, car rental companies were reeling from the resultant
corporate travel recession. In 2002, Cendant, which already owned Avis, bought
Budget out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Cendant positioned Avis as its premium
brand and Budget its value-oriented brand. During these tough times, Avis cut
its workforce by 10 percent and reduced its fleet. Avis shifted some of its
efforts to opening new residential locations and to attracting more of the
leisure market. By 2004, Cendant had Avis and Budget sharing a common rental
system, fleet, and back-office operation, creating annual cost savings of $100
"With this purchase, I don't think we'll see too may
changes in procedures," says Janet LaMacchia, travel consultant with
Camarillo Travel in
"Things will be fine if
stays aggressive and continues to concentrate on customer service."
LaMacchia, a 25-year travel agency veteran, gives high marks
local rep. "He really makes a difference, even attending our monthly
agency meeting," she says. She remembers when Avis bought Budget, and says
after the sale it was pretty much business as usual.
It will be 90 to 100 days before the details of the merger
"Many of the questions about branding will have to be
evaluated and answered once the transaction is completed," says Cerko.
"We want to take as much time as necessary to figure out what makes