BT: The business of ground transportation has been significantly disrupted in the past few years by new technology and new players. Enterprise and National seem to have responded by expanding and embracing the disruption. Tell us about that.
KETCHAM: First, I think it’s important to recognize the evolution of ground transportation and the choices that travelers have. Sometimes people will take two, or sometimes three or four different types of transportation in just one trip to get where they need to go. There is a role for multiple modes of transportation, including ride sharing, ride hailing and peer-to-peer companies. Change and competition in our space is nothing new. We welcome it and think it is great for customers to have choices. However, we believe that customer service will continue to be one of the most important factors with consumers. And there is no company in our industry with a better legacy of customer experience than Enterprise Holdings, which owns the Enterprise and National brands.
BT: Small and medium enterprises, so-called SMEs, are a growing and thriving business segment. What are Enterprise and National doing for these types of companies to enhance their travel management/experience?
KETCHAM: One example is EHIDirect, Enterprise Holdings’ travel booking platform for small and medium-sized corporations. The platform saves companies time and money, allowing them to book car rental, air, hotel and airport parking all at the same time. EHIDirect provides simple, integrated booking solution that is equally beneficial for business owners and employees.
BT: How has this SME business segment changed over time? Have Enterprise and National changed the way they serve these businesses?
KETCHAM: We excel in the SME space because we understand the travel needs of these companies.Keep in mind, many SMEs use transportation to visit customers or suppliers that are two to four hours away, so they typically do not involve a flight. Because of our network of locations and our focus on the customers’ needs, we’ve been able to serve this segment well. More than 5,800 non-airport, or neighborhood, US branches provide a solution to SMEs versus using company-owned or employee-owned vehicles.
BT: How is National tailoring its mobility solutions to meet the needs of these SMEs?
KETCHAM: We’re actively analyzing ways customers think about renting cars and looking for more satisfying ways we can meet our customers’ unique needs and expectations. We want to remove friction from our rental process and bring our customer-centered business philosophy to life in today’s more complex world. Whether that’s through EHIDirect, or our loyalty program – Emerald Club – or our mobile tablet that allows us to serve customers on their terms by moving our people from behind the counter, we can find a solution for SMEs.
BT: What do you see as the future of mobility solutions for businesses of all sizes, and particularly the SME segment?
KETCHAM: We know transportation and mobility needs are ever-changing. That’s why we are continuing to innovate to consistently meet the evolving needs of customers. We let customers’ needs determine which business models and technologies will thrive in the market. This allows for a pragmatic and market-driven solution to develop over time. Whether that’s connected vehicles, AI, or eventually autonomous vehicles – we understand that our travel customers have different priorities. Some want to save time. Some want to save money. And some want to reduce the stress of their daily commute.
We believe new innovations and technology can offer more and better options. Our high-touch, high-tech approach has always been to help customers find the best transportation option for them, providing the best possible travel experience, on their terms. With award-winning digital properties and multiple customer service recognitions, we think this is the right approach.