Renting a car is so commonplace, especially amongst tourists who are on vacation and those who travel for work purposes. Rental cars provide a solution and afford such people the chance to transport themselves privately without having to board a bus/train.
Owing to advancements in technology, renters now have the option of renting online rather than in person. This undoubtedly saves a great deal of time and stress, but does it save money?
We hope to look into that in this article. Stay with us.
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Here’s the Short Answer to Whether It’s Cheaper to Rent a Car Online Or in Person?
Our research showed that rental companies offer the best rates online. In addition, renters are more likely to get discounts and special offers when they order in advance online. These offers usually aren’t available to customers who go over the counter because of the seeming urgency.
Is It Easier to Negotiate Car Rental Prices in Person Or Online?
While renting a car online is considerably cheaper, it is much easier to negotiate the rates in person than online. When you negotiate in person, it’s a face-to-face conversation in which you can deploy negotiation tips to swing things in your favor. You can’t really pull that off online because, you know, it’s online.
However, while online, you could still negotiate by speaking directly to customer support agents. There is the LiveChat option, but we advise making a call and negotiating the same way you would if you were in front of the counter.
Basically, negotiating in person is easier; however, you can also negotiate prices online if you absolutely have to.
Are Online Car Rental Deals Worth It?
Online car rentals allow you to start and even finalize a rental deal right from the comfort of your house or office. All you need to do is grab a seat and make a reservation and just like that, you have a rental car waiting for pickup.
There is also the option of pre-paying the full amount or paying later, i.e. the “pre-pay” and “pay later” option. The former means paying in full and just picking your car up; it’s more than just a reservation and is usually non-cancelable. Downside: you may miss out on better prices.
The latter, however, lets you reserve a car and pay at a later date. That gives you the chance to keep your options open while having little to zero commitment.
We are not looking to debate which one is better between the two options; the point is online deals make the options possible in the first place.
Online car rentals also afford you the chance to talk to and maybe negotiate a deal with a company representative. While that might not be as effective as it would be in person, it’s still pretty cool to be able to do that from several miles away.
You can also take advantage of online third-party ventures and make a rental car reservation through them. Word on the street is that you get the best deals on rental cars through these mediums.
You also get the chance to compare prices from various sites before settling for one. Matter of fact, online platforms like AutoSlash will go the extra mile of updating you about the best discounts and deals, all for free.
These are all opportunities you probably wouldn’t get if you do face-to-face rental deals. To answer whether online car rentals are worth it, they absolutely are.
Will Car Rental Companies Match Online Deals and Prices?
Truth is, some of the best deals on car rentals are found online. Those who order often know this and have pitched their tents with such third-party ventures. At this point, only newbies go directly to a rental company’s website.
We recently found out that Hertz currently offers to match any Hertz rental deal that is cheaper than what is listed on their website. Not only do they match that rate, but they also offer an additional 10% for your trouble.
All you have got to do is show them proof of the offer you got from the website, and after verification, they match the deal and give you an extra 10%.
It’s expected that other car rental companies will follow suit in response to the unspoken pressure from third-party sites. So yes, some rental companies already match online deals, and many more will do the same going forward.
What Are the Best Tips to Negotiate Car Rental Prices Online?
Negotiating car rental prices online is quite tough, but it is far from impossible. We took the liberty of curating a few tips that can help with that below:
1. Get on a Phone Call
Negotiating car rental prices online is going to take a lot more work than face-to-face negotiation. And while there is usually a live chat option, you have the best shot at negotiating a steal on a voice call.
Phone calls are pretty much physical conversations, except you can’t see the person you are speaking with. That means you can still apply some negotiation tips and get yourself a good deal.
2. Tell Them About the Competitor’s Prices
Rental car prices vary across different rental companies, and some are cheaper than others. If you are looking to beat down the rates of your choice rental company, a great way to start is by telling them about cheaper rates elsewhere.
So, once you gather information about prices from different online sources, use the information as leverage to get what you want. The online company representatives are inclined to beat down the prices when you shove cheaper competitors’ prices in their faces.
3. Stand Your Ground
This tip is as important online as it is offline. When negotiating with an online representative, you have to be firm about wanting a price reduction with the most serious yet gentle tone you can muster. That will probably cajole the rep into making you an excellent offer.
You can also add some vim to that by threatening to go elsewhere. Trust us, that’ll work 80% of the time.
What Are the Best Tips to Negotiate Car Rental Prices in Person?
If you are looking to negotiate car rental prices in person, below are some of the best tips you can put into play:
1. Set Your Price
Haggling might come off as embarrassing, but you cannot worry about that if you are looking to get a great price. First thing you want to do is express your mild displeasure at the first and the second offer. Whatever price you are going to settle for, make sure it is below the maximum price you’ve set.
Once you do all that, there’s a great chance you walk out of that establishment with the best price possible.
2. Try the Walk-Away Tactic
After they’ve named all their offers, stand your ground at a particular price and keep pushing. You can even take it a notch further by walking away, and if they consider your counter offer reasonable, they will likely call you back.
The walk-away trick almost always works. And even when it doesn’t, at least you would have gotten the company’s bottom-line price, and you’d be able to compare.
3. Maintain a Cool And Positive Vibe
You can’t afford to be angry when negotiating for a price reduction. Keep your cool, exchange pleasantries and talk to whoever the attendant is like you’re talking to a friend. The cordial atmosphere is likely going to encourage the salesperson to give you a discount.