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National Car Rental enhances loyalty program via mobile

National Car Rental is mobilizing its loyalty program via an application that lets members manage their trip and reserve cars.

The rental car brand’s new mobile app targets National Car Rental’s Emerald Club loyalty members. The app is the latest example of how parent company Enterprise Holdings is increasingly making mobile a priority for its brands, which also includes Alamo Rent A Car and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

“We know that our consumers use their mobile devices when they travel,” said Meghan Maguire, brand publicity manager for National Car Rental, San Diego.

“They are always plugged into their mobile devices, so we wanted to give them a robust app that would make their life easier for them on the road,” she said.

Enterprise Holdings owns and operates National Car Brand. Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management claim to have brought in $15.4 billion in revenue and operated 1.3 million vehicles in 2012.

Drive on mobile
National Car Rental’s Emerald Club members can log-in via the app to track each part of their car rental process.

Consumers can change their car class, payment information, arrival date or return date via the app.

For example, a virtual aisle feature pulls in real-time inventory to let members view all of the available cars at airports. Members can then reserve and select the specific car that they want to rent.

Virtual aisle will be piloted in Tulsa, OK; Richmond, VA; and Omaha, NE next month. A broader rollout will take place at locations around the United States afterwards.

There are also options for consumers to receive alerts and ereceipts about their upcoming trips via the app.

The app serves as a hub for Emerald Club members to update their information. Members can use the app to update their profile, view their rewards and access a digital copy of their loyalty card.

National Car Rental’s mobile app also leverages push notifications to remind consumers if their payment or license information is out of date.

Roadside assistance information, a rental locator and discounts can also be accessed via the app.

The National Car Rental app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

To help promote the app, National Car Rental is hosting a Google+ Hangout on Aug. 13. A panel of travel influencers will discuss how the rental car brand’s mobile app benefits users during the hangout.

Building a mobile strategy
National Car Rental asked the company’s Emerald Exchange Community comprising 300 Emerald Club members which features were most important to them while traveling to develop the app.

Enterprise has been upping its mobile efforts for several of its brands recently.

For example, Alamo Rent A Car launched a mobile photo sharing and social media contest this summer to encourage consumers to share snippets of their summer vacations (see story).

Additionally, Enterprise expanded its QR code efforts last year by placing mobile bar codes on one million vehicles to give renters more information about cars (see story).

Going forward, National Car Rental also has plans to roll out a site built with responsive design so that content looks the same when viewed on any device.

“We know that business travelers are on the road frequently and they are keeping track of their trips on their mobile devices, and we wanted to have the best product out there to keep their life easy while they are on the road,” Ms. Maguire said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York