Having recently joined the fortunate ranks of those not burdened with urban car ownership, I am now among the ranks of those who on occasion have the need to rent a car.
One such occasion occurred last week, when I had to go to Syracuse on business.
Now, Syracuse is not the easiest place to get to from Boston unless you're willing and able to drive, and I've always driven there. It's not a bad drive, if 300+ miles can be categorized as not bad. It's pretty much a straight shot out the Mass Pike to the NY State Thruway, and iPod in (one) ear, the drive goes by relatively fast.
But in order to drive, you must have a car. Which I no longer do.
Thus, I rented.
The closest-best rate-best pick-up and drop-off times was at an Avis about a 10 minute walk from where I live.
Avis it was.
The sign up on the web was fine. The service was fine. The car was fine. No one tried to ram collision (covered by my credit card - I called to check) down my throat. The hardest thing about the whole thing was trying to remember what a metallic green Taurus with Pennsylvania plates actually looks like in a parking lot. (Answer: pretty much like ever other metallic green car.)
A couple of days after I returned the metallic green Taurus, I receive the following e-mail from Avis.
Dear Maureen Rogers,
As you know, we at Avis think there's nothing more important than offering you an enjoyable rental experience. So, as we thank you for providing your email address on your recent car rental, we'd also like to invite you to receive email communications for future discounts, electronic receipts and money saving tips.
It's easy, simply go to avis.com and enroll in the Wizard program to create a profile. It will help you make future reservations even faster - and is just one more way we try harder to make your rental experience the best that it can be.
Be sure to include your email address in your profile and check "yes" to opt-in to receive promotional emails and e-Receipts so you can:
Receive automatic e-Receipts for easier expense management
Get the latest news, promotions and offers from Avis
We look forward to delivering you an even more enjoyable rental experience.
Senior Vice President, Marketing
P.S. For an even faster rental experience, sign up for Avis Preferred® Service so you can skip the lines and go right to your car. It's free.
Just what do I like about this?
First off, the subject line indicated that they were asking for permission to market to me. No beating around the bush, just straight out telling me that they'd like to have me as a customer - a customer who gives them permission send e-mails.
Okay, I won't be letting me know about "the latest news, promotions and offers from Avis." Frankly, I only care at the very moment I need to rent a car. So I will never look at those e-mails - save your bandwidth for someone who will.
But I will probably sign up for the Preferred Service - which will let me "skip lines". And is FREE. Which means that I'll more than likely just go to Avis up the street, as opposed to Hertz across the park, when I need a car.
Pretty smart marketing, I'd say.
Maybe they do try harder. In this case, they succeeded.