When customers ask a travel agent for a car rental reservation, it is really important to know details of their travel before renting. With these hard economic times, car rental companies are adding many more restrictions and fees. A good travel agent needs to be aware of the fees and inform the client.
For example, a client renting in one state may be limited to travel to the closest states, such as a rental in Kansas City is sometimes limited to travel in Kansas , Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. If the customer does not tell the agent this, there may be a problem at the rental counter, or have issues if they are known to have traveled to an unauthorized state.
At least most rental companies now will give an estimated total of the bill, including taxes, surcharges, fees and drop charges, excluding insurance or additions such as GPS, ski racks, etc. A client told me the other day, to just get them a rental car in San Antonio, and they would drop it off in Houston, since there was no flight available to Houston due to the Final Four. I had to look up quickly to check the drop charge to leave the car in Houston. The fee was very pricey, so I also looked to see if there was a flight the next morning that would work out lower from San Antonio to Houston. There was, and therefore saved the client about $150.00. Clients often do not realize extra fees attached to car rentals.
Often I have had clients that want to rent a car to drive across the country, or a good distance anyway, but many car rental companies ask for an accompanying airline ticket in order to be eligible for unlimited mileage. They simply do not want the extra miles put on their cars for a flat fee. Sometimes the client has rented a car on their own, arrives at the rental counter, and then finds out they do not qualify for unlimited mileage. Then they call the travel agent to find out why, and how to fix the problem, even though the agent did not make the original reservation. This is a great way to win over customers though by helping with the problem.
It is quite important to ask the client about their intended travel with the car prior to the rental. This may save questions or potential problems later. As a travel agent, have you seen more hidden costs or restrictions with car rentals recently?