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12·MAR·2016

Car hire for a euro a week? Really?

The car hire industry in Spain has become a battlefield of low headline prices and high hidden costs... whether it´s additional insurance, inflated fuel prices, charges for damages, extra drivers or any other extra that some car hire companies add on.  Why is this?  A combination of factors come into play here including huge companies operating at massive losses in a bid to drive others out of the market, a misguided attitude of some companies that touists will keep on coming, customers demanding low prices, comparison websites looking to meet the demand for the google search term “cheap car hire” and sometimes a little ignorance or at least misunderstanding on the part of the customer. 
 
You would be surprised how many people say “I thought that everything was cheaper in spain so it makes sense cars are only a few euros a week”. One customer recently said “I presume that people in Spain work for a fraction of those in the UK”.  Actually, in Spain it probably costs more to employ staff than the UK with similar wage levels and the tax and national insurance cost to employers in Spain is considerably more than the UK – but it´s true that people really do believe that Spain is a magic land of paying almost nothing!
 
We are fighting to change this and make car hire in Spain the same as the UK and many other countries – more transparent, realistic prices and above all honest and fair.  It´s true that in order to survive we have had to offer the so called “low cost” packages over the years and although we have tried to be transparent about the real costs all that ends up happening is that people think bad of us when they have extras to pay or they are charged for a damage.
 
Our Ultimate package has proven so popular because of the honesty and transparency it offers and we will talk about that in a moment but first let´s look at the numbers...
 
A small car may cost 15,000 euros.  Every time its cleaned and prepared that costs money.  Every couple of months it is serviced, lets say another 1000 euros a year.  Insurance costing the company hundreds and hundreds of thousands, offices, phones, websites, marketing, staff, busses, security, the list goes on... car hire for a euro?  It´s just not real!
 
People get upset when they learn that their giveaway car hire doesn´t have full insurance (although add it up with the rental and the overall is still way cheaper than the UK), they get angry if the cover is expensive to buy and so often buy it on the internet which takes away more profit from the car hire companies.
 
Then, if there is a damage people think we are unfair to charge as it´s “only small” – but if we want to remain in business we have to ensure the cars are pristine like new when we have finished with them or we get charged hundreds of euros per “tiny” damage.  We literally loose millions every year on damages (far more than we actually charge customers). 
 
People complain when they pay more than the market rate for fuel.  We have always published our fuel prices which most companies don´t but of course on the cheap deals car hire companies have to make a little money and at least cover our logistical costs to physicall own, maintain and operate fuel pumps as well as taking into account we buy fuel no cheaper than the public as we are not a petrol station! The car hire itself costs almost nothing remember.
 
People complain if there is a limit to the kilometres but if car hire companies allowed everyone to drive unlimited km the operating costs for the car in terms of maintanence and the end of life depreciation would drive put car hire companies even further in the red.
 
People complain that every time they come to Spain they hear the same “pitch” for extra insurance but if those people were here when we hear some of the stories from customers who try to save money in this area they would think differently. Then people take cover elsewhere but still are angry with us because they are charged for a damage and have to go through the often long process of reclaiming their money.
 
Of course we are not here to complain about the opinions of customers. Afterall everyone loves a bargain and the media in other countries is continully advising people to go cheap but here is the frightening truth that nobody seems to think about.
 
Drivalia are fortunate because we have tens of thousands of regular, satisfied and loyal clients.  Just check online and see our reviews compared to others.  Of cousre a few negative ones crop up but overall we are the best of all.  Sadly though not everyone shares our reputation and soon enough the small companies with the bad names just won´t be able to offer these low prices any more and many will probably go out of business.  What will this mean for consumers? Probably the prices will skyrocket because there will always be demand but far less supply. Boom and bust is a term often used and this is surely the way the car hire industry is going.
 
Last year we changed all this and took the bold move to say “Look, car hire is not a euro a week. Car hire is more. Nobody likes hidden costs and nobody likes surprises but everyone loves honesty and of course great service.  This is why we launched Drivalia Ultimate – a fair, real price with no extras and overall probably better value than buying a cheap deal and then adding on the other bits! This package really does offer all inclusive car hire at Alicante airport and Mallorca airports.
 
Since its´ launch Ultimate has skyrocketed in popularity. So many of you now book this way and really appreciate the honesty, transparency and great overall value that it offers.  If you are not yet familiar with Ultimate it is basically a “what you see is what you pay” car hire package.  The car is full to full so there´s no fuel to pay to Drivalia, fully insured with no excess or deposit, unlimited km and a free additional driver.  Drivalia Ultimate even makes debit card car hire in Alicante airport and Mallorca airport possible!
 
So if you are fed up of car hire nightmares and rip off prices, and maybe even if you were slightly disilusioned with Drivalia in the past why not give us a go again and try Ultimate – the way car hire shoudl be.  Since it´s launch it has become our most popular tarif with tens of thousands of families bookign again and again!
 
We hope you will join us in making car hire in Spain the way it should be!