Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Hertz adds mobile email to enhance loyalty program

Hertz has improved its car rental loyalty program and added mobile email alerts to provide up-to-the-minute information for its members.

Mobile Gold Alerts will be available for members of the Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program. They will be able to receive emails sent their phone to let them know which car they will be driving and where their vehicle is parked.

“Mobile is the newest technology to help consumers travel with speed and ease,” said Paula Rivera, manager of public affairs at Hertz. “Hertz is committed to using technology to help our customers make travel easier, and our use of mobile alerts are a natural extension.

“With the Mobile Gold Alerts, we are able to confirm Gold customers’ reservations and advise of the car location, so it’s easy for customers to go directly to their car and be on their way,” she said.

“We do send text messages to consumers through the Mobile Gold Alerts, but in an effort to make sure we are providing information to consumers on the platform that works best for them, we provide the option of either mobile texts or email notifications.”

Hertz’s Mobile Gold Alerts will make it easier for consumers to confirm their rentals and more easily find their cars.

It is interesting to note that the alerts will be sent by email or SMS as opposed to push notifications. Perhaps Hertz chose against push notifications to benefit members who do not have the Hertz app on their phone.

These mobile alerts were part of a bigger upgrade for the Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program.

One change includes that Hertz has lowered the requirements for achieving elite status, now requiring only seven rentals to qualify for Five Star and 20 rentals for President’s Circle.

Additionally, Hertz will upgrade its members’ status daily, making it easier for Gold members to move up in status.

Members can also check real-time point balance and their e-statements with up to 24 months of activity via mobile and desktop.

Hertz has had a mobile application since 2010 that lets consumers make reservations directly from the app. Members can also sign in to have their information stored for easier bookings.

However this new mobile alert system is not yet available in the app. It is a separate feature available only through email.

Real-time alerts
One of the key use cases for mobile is the ability to provide real-time, accurate information to consumers at any time and in any place.

Hertz is taking advantage of this feature to make car rentals easier for consumers. They will be able to stay up to date by checking their email on their phone to more easily rent and find their car.

Mobile email is ubiquitous with the majority of emails being opened on mobile devices. Therefore, this is an easy, simple way for Hertz to communicate with consumers.

“Email is a universal way of communicating via mobile and is generally viewed to be far-less intrusive than SMS,” Mr. Kerr said. “Consumers are still wary of push notifications and something that pops up might be viewed as an interruption, versus an email that can be opened when the consumer has a minute.

“Mobile engagement is red hot right now, and a consumer picking up a rental car is not likely to be in front of their computer,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“Mobile alerts to consumers that are extremely likely to be mobile at the time of delivery are a slam dunk, and these small details will likely have a big impact to Gold-member travelers looking to avoid lines at rental car counters,” he said.

Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with Hertz. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

“Also, Hertz likely uses the email provided when the reservation was made or in the Gold Members profile to send the confirmation information regarding a rental, so there is an established line of communication already open,” he said.

“For Hertz, they can likely track if the email was opened and when and deliver offers and location-specific details like weather or traffic alerts, to add to the utility. They can also test a lot of things, by adding calls-to-action and gauging response, all in an email that a consumer on their way to pick up their rental car is highly pre-qualified to open and read.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York