Rental car companies shift to overdrive as tourist season nears

Dania Maxwell/Staff 
 A rush of customers arrive at Enterprise Rent-A-Car for a vehicle rental on Airport Pulling Road on Friday, October 26, 2012 in Naples, Fla. Enterprise will more than double the size of their fleet in the coming months in Southwest Florida to prepare for the tourist season. The Enterprise network allows for vehicles to be brought into the area from other regions when necessary. Also, customers are offered discounts when drivers are planning to book a one-way travel into Southwest Florida.

Photo by DANIA MAXWELL, NAPLES DAILY NEWS // Buy this photo

Dania Maxwell/Staff A rush of customers arrive at Enterprise Rent-A-Car for a vehicle rental on Airport Pulling Road on Friday, October 26, 2012 in Naples, Fla. Enterprise will more than double the size of their fleet in the coming months in Southwest Florida to prepare for the tourist season. The Enterprise network allows for vehicles to be brought into the area from other regions when necessary. Also, customers are offered discounts when drivers are planning to book a one-way travel into Southwest Florida.

Southwest Florida rental car businesses soon will start gearing up for the start of season by bringing thousands of additional vehicles.

"We will more than double the size of our fleet in Southwest Florida in the coming months to prepare for the tourist season," Lisa Martini, a spokeswoman for Enterprise Holdings, said in an email.

Enterprise Holdings operates the Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental brands.

With a worldwide network, the company has the ability to bring in vehicles from other regions when necessary.

Martini said they are working with its neighboring Atlanta-based operation to add some of their exotic cars to the fleet in Southwest Florida while Atlanta's demand is lower in the winter.

Enterprise Holdings typically does not provide fleet numbers for competitive reasons. However, Martini said, they add thousands of rental vehicles to its fleet in Southwest Florida during the high-demand period.

Enterprise Holdings, which has 22 locations in Lee and Collier counties, offers discounts on its one-way program for seasonal customers who travel to Southwest Florida, which also brings vehicles into the region to meet demand throughout the season.

At Hertz, additional fleet starts arriving from other states that are not seasonal during the winter months.

Michael Cangialosi, branch manager at the Naples Municipal Airport, said Hertz has a service of drivers who bring cars to Florida during season, typically from Nov. 1 to May 1, but specifically during the holidays. Hertz's fleet is usable nationwide, with eight locations in Collier County.

Cangialosi declined to say how many additional cars arrive to Southwest Florida. Hertz is one of four rental car companies at Naples Municipal Airport.

At Southwest Florida International Airport in Lee County, traveling patrons can choose from nine rental car company tenants.

Avis is ready for Southwest Florida's season.

"We have been in business for more than 60 years, so we have a lot of data to help predict the seasonal changes in demand," Alice Pereira, a spokeswoman for Avis Budget Group, said in an email.

"Whether for special events like the Super Bowl or seasonal travel demand, we move our vehicles around to accommodate the demand."

For competitive reasons, Avis does not disclose data relating to the movement of fleet vehicles.

"All of Southwest Florida has been growing year over year and that could be that the economy is bouncing back and people are going on vacations," Cangialosi said.

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