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Hertz builds mobile strategy with iPhone travel apps

Hertz Corp. is introducing iPhone city travel applications to extend the brand’s reach beyond cars and enhance the customer experience.

My Explore travel apps have launched for 11 different cities, including New York, Boston and San Francisco. The apps lets business and leisure travelers browse customized content, explore cities and plan a trip that can be wirelessly delivered to the GPS system in their Hertz rental car.

“Our piece is trying to give more travel information out there to that audience,” said Graham Weedon, communications manager for Navigation Solutions, Plano TX.

“This is just another piece to expand our reach for the Hertz customer,” he said.

“It dovetails with the NeverLost [GPS system] in the car. Users can send a trip to a wireless device – it is very interactive.”

An augmented experience
Navigation Solutions is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hertz.

The apps feature augmented reality, customized voice narratives and text descriptions for various sites. Each city app includes six categories: Explore, Top Must See, Events, Favorites, Tours and Neighborhoods.

With the augmented reality feature, when users point their iPhone at the horizon, local restaurants and attractions that are in their view pop up on the screen.

Users will also find five-day weather forecasts and can share their experiences via Facebook and Twitter.

In addition to New York, Boston and San Francisco, there are also apps for Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami-West Palm, Sacramento-Northern California, Orlando, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

Customers can download the first app for free from the Apple App Store. After that, additional apps may be downloaded for $0.99 apiece.

GPS companion
The apps are intended as a complement to Hertz’s NeverLost Gen 5 GPS route-guidance system that provides turn-by-turn driving directions.

As part of the NeverLost service, drivers can access Explore travel content for most major cities from inside their cars.

The Explore content is delivered wirelessly to cars to insure the content is up to date and includes the top restaurants and hotels as well as various attractions

It is a geofenced service that delivers content when users are driving within a specific area.

The My Explore mobile companion apps augment this experience with content that users can take with them once they leave the car.

Hertz plans to roll out another half dozen My Explore apps this year.

The strategy builds on Hertz’ existing mobile presence, which includes a branded app for reservations and confirmations that is available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.

Hertz is the world’s largest general use car rental company, operating from more than 8,500 corporate locations in 150 countries worldwide.

“To piggyback off of Explore, we wanted to give a mobile companion that would augment or enhance what is in the car,” Mr. Weedon said.