Luxury car rental company sets 25% commissions for travel agents


As more vacationers seek a total travel experience, car rental company Silvercar seeks to capitalize by expanding its services and targeting travel agents as a distribution channel.

At the American Society of Travel Agents global conference this week, Austin, Texas-based Silvercar announced it was doubling travel agent commissions to 25%. The company has also conducted training sessions with agents on its Audi A4 rental car rental services only.

The company, operating from 17 locations in 13 cities across the United States, offers reservations and vehicle check-in and check-out through a smartphone app. In many places, it also picks up users from the curb to lead them onto company property. All Silvercar Audi A4s are equipped with free Wi-Fi, GPS and satellite radio.

Travel agents intervene
“For our customers, Silvercar represents the entire rental experience. It’s transparent customer service and ease of booking, knowing exactly what type of car you’re buying, and the fact that it’s really not that much more expensive than what other car rental companies charge, ”he said. said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, a travel agency in Long Beach, California.

Carousel Travel in Minneapolis has been reserving customers with Silvercar for several years, said Doug Moorhouse, director of marketing and business development. “Once I tried it I hung up and said to my colleagues, ‘We have to present this to our customers.’ “

Snyder said his agency has “a lot of clients who really care about what they drive and who will ask for Silvercar by name. Those who have the most affinities for Silvercar are the customers who value time the most. They know it is quick and easy to get the car. It is also the group which says: “It is a beautiful car”.

Plans to double operations
Silvercar was incorporated in 2012 and launched services in Dallas in early 2013. Since then, it has slowly introduced its concept, recently adding services from Orlando and Seattle. The company plans to double its operations over the next 18 months.

The company has been so successful that Audi converted its partial stake in the business to full ownership earlier this year.

Chris Donus, president and chief financial officer of Silvercar, said the company currently serves approximately 10,000 customers per month at 13 airports and four downtown locations.

Looking for agents
Donus said Silvercar is looking to the travel industry to help build on its success. “Travel agents are huge in the car rental space,” he said, noting that agents generate around $ 5 billion in revenue across the industry. Silvercar estimates that agents represent between 25% and 35% of the market.

“Agents put their customer first and want a seamless experience if their customer books a car, as this adds to the overall travel experience and reflects well on the agent. They also know their customers and the routes where driving an Audi A4 will enhance that overall experience, ”said Donus.

The company has met with 100 to 150 agents in the past three months, “and the reception has been great,” he said. Donus noted that Silvercar pays commissions up front, compared to some of its competitors.

“We’re not necessarily for all travelers,” said Steve Calla, vice president of marketing. “Many agents will introduce us to their corporate clients first, because they appreciate the fact that we can guarantee such a high level of service. “

Agents can book Silvercar directly through the company’s website as well as through their GDS.


Pamela W. Robbins

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