Driving a Partnership

If you take one of the world’s best-known brands and marry it to one of the world’s largest travel-agency networks, you have a formula for profitable sales growth. At least, that’s what John Lovell, vice president, industry relations and revenue management for Vacation.com, believes.

Lovell sees Vacation.com’s recently announced exclusive partnership with Hertz as a case in point. It delivers a full range of Hertz-branded products to Vacation.com’s 5,100 agencies and gives Hertz access to the marketing clout of Vacation.com members.

Driving a Partnership

The partnership of Vacation.com and Hertz gives the travel-agency network full access to the rental-car brand's products.

“Hertz has been a Vacation.com partner since our founding and has been extremely supportive of Vacation.com and its agencies,” Lovell said in an interview with Travel Agent. “Our goal with the partnership is to grow profitable car-rental sales.”

Hertz offers Vacation.com agencies global resources, competitive pricing, strong support and sales incentives, Lovell notes. This is backed by Hertz’s aggressive advertising and promotion of its brand. Hertz has 8,000 locations in 145 countries and reported sales of $8.6 billion worldwide in 2007.

Lovell is an industry veteran who joined Vacation.com in 2002 as vice president, sales. He was promoted to vice president, industry relations and revenue management in 2006, reporting to Steve Tracas, Vacation.com’s president and CEO.

From Lovell’s perspective, the key to success is for agency owners and managers to encourage and reward car-rental sales by the individual agents, while building awareness of the revenue opportunities and value of the sales.

John Lovell

John Lovell

Vacation.com achieves this by constant communications to member agencies on the Hertz program, promotions and pricing deals both by e-mail and print promotions. Agents can earn 10 percent or more on a standard car rental, and 15 percent to 18 percent on a European rental.

“Vacation.com agencies are strongly supportive of the Hertz program and can effectively increase Hertz’s share of the leisure-travel market. We track performance and believe our members have high levels of awareness of the benefit of car-rental sales to their bottom-line results,” says Lovell.

Another reason for Lovell’s confidence is the ability of Vacation.com’s AgentNet technology platform and the new EZguider booking system to make it easier to book car rentals—either as a stand-alone car-only sale or as part of a combination of an air, car, hotel and cruise package.

“Vacation.com has a leadership position in technological innovation,” he says. “Our easy-to-use EZguider desktop system will encourage incremental car-rental sales. We have benefited from our ownership by Amadeus—a global technology leader—and their ongoing investment.”

Lovell credits Pamela Wright, Hertz divisional vice president, for making the program work and helping focus the attention of agents and agencies on increasing car-rental sales. This includes weekend rentals and pre- and post-cruise vehicle rentals.

Vacation.com agents have access to a full range of Hertz products, such as the Hertz Green, Fun and Prestige collections, which include luxury, budget and sports cars. While Vacation.com is focused on leisure sales, it can also serve the corporate market needs of members, including agencies that participate in the Uniglobe V program.

ASTA estimates that travel agents sell 40 percent of all car rentals. But with aggressive promotion of car-rental sales and revenue opportunities as exemplified by the new Hertz/ Vacation.com program, that number may well soar.

Vacation.com will celebrate its 10th anniversary during its 10th Annual Conference at CaesarsPalace, Las Vegas, June 16-19. For more information, visit www.vacation.com.