Hertz has climbed on the car wagon and is competing with companies like Zipcar that enable renters to book a car for a few hours, in effect sharing a car for a day. I think competition is great and I signed up for the service a while back.
I was happy to receive an email from Hertz today with a sweet offer: “Every week we’ll offer a special deal on one of the cars in our NYC area fleet. Find us on Facebook to find out this week’s special.” A lot of companies are using Facebook for special offers, coupons and promotions so I am impressed, at first, with Hertz’s ingenuity.
I’m more excited when I read: “All vehicles selected for this promotion will be available for rent at a $5 an hour rate!”
Holy Moly — $5 an hour! New York has among the highest rental car rates in the country – that’s because most of us, in Manhattan at least, don’t own cars so we rent a lot. This $5 promotion is for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Wow, save me a car.
Round and Round I Go
Not so fast. First, I click on the Facebook icon. Seems easy enough. I land on the rather boring Hertz Facebook page. No sign of the $5 offer. Then I click on http://www.facebook.com/ConnectbyHertz, which sends me back to – the same landing page I was already on. OK. So then I find another link and click on http://www.connectbyhertz.com. I’m instructed to hit “See the cars.”
Now I’m whizzed to a snazzy website where I click on New York and reach another page that tells me to “Book a car now.” First thing I read: “Rates start as low as $8.50 an hour.” Where is the $5 offer? How do I find it? So I click on Book Now under a nifty looking Toyota Prius. Next page.
“We’ll make this easy. Just tell us when you need the car and we’ll show you what’s available. Then, choose the car that’s right for whatever you’ve got planned.” I start from left to right across the navigation bar with Select Location and, boom, I’m taken back to a page to pick my country. Dumb me, I should have looked at the next tab to log in, which I do. Wasn’t this supposed to be easy?
Next I choose a date and time for the rental, click on See Availability. Nada. Zilch. I click and click. Then I look further down the page and see Look for Vehicles Near. OK, let’s try that. Input my zip code and a red star appears to indicate the nearest location where a car is available. Click on the star. Click on See Availability. Nope.
By now I refuse to give up. I start the entire process again. I can see 100 vehicles are available at a location close to my home – so near, yet so far. Click on the star. Click on See Availability again. Nope.
I scoot over to Zipcar for their availability, but I would need to fork over $85 to join. That’s why Hertz is so appealing – no application or yearly fees. I’ve used Connect to Hertz in the past before they got so fancy and forced me to go to Facebook to book a car. Why?
Social media is a great tool to reach customers with information and special offers. But companies shouldn’t force customers to take yet one more step in the buying process when it makes no sense. And where is that $5 an hour car?