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Budget Rent a Car enters Vietnam

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Fueled by a booming visitors market in Vietnam and heightened expectations by those same visitors, Budget Rent A Car, one of the worlds best-known car rental companies, has entered the market. Budget vehicles, complete with chauffeurs, are now available from hotels and Ho Chi Minh Citys Tan Son Nhat Airport.

Travelers to Vietnam surpassed 2.2 million in the first half of 2008 the most ever in a 6-month time frame, according to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) statistics.

We are confident there is substantial demand for high quality car rental here, said Dan Cohen, Budget Vietnams general manager. Not only does Budget fill that glaring need, but it does so in a comforting fashion. Everyone whos been overseas knows the name, Budget, and what it represents.

To maximize its chances of success, Budget has strategically teamed up with The Gannon Group, one of the countrys most steadfast foreign firms.

On the ground since the lifting of the trade embargo in 1994, Gannon has paved the way for a host of big-name brands, including LOreal, Nestle and, most recently, Budweiser. With Budget, there is a vested interest; Gannon owns the franchise rights for Budget Vietnam.

We began discussions with Budget in 2005, believing its service has huge potential, especially as this country welcomes more visitors with discerning tastes, said Walter Blocker, Gannons CEO. The brand offers qualities an affluent audience wants and appreciates.

Budget, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has more than 1,900 vehicle hire locations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and parts of the Pacific region.

Its move into Vietnam represents more than just another country to place its worldwide footprint. Its a major cross-cultural leap, as precious few foreigners drive on Vietnams frenetic highways and byways.

To address this issue while rounding out a first-class experience, Budget will provide each customer in Vietnam with a well-trained native driver wholl function as a traveling concierge, with strong English-language skills and knowledge of the immediate region.

Our drivers will get you where you need to go, safely and efficiently, but they will also have the capacity to accommodate any type of request, said Cohen. From making a dinner reservation to providing the scoop on local promos and events, these guys know it all and can handle it all.

Budgets list of attributes starts with ease of booking, which can be executed online. Customers can choose from a fleet of widely desirable vehicles, including Toyota Camrys and Innovas, Ford Everests and Escapes and Mercedes-Benz sedans and vans.

Cars are priced from $69 to $249 per day and come equipped with amenities such as mobile phone, international newspapers and magazines, chilled water and towels and 24-hour customer-service support.

The decision to make a driver/traveling concierge part and parcel of the Vietnam car-rental experience was prompted by a combination of factors, headed by the rarity of foreign drivers in the country and the growing market for a middle ground between guided tours and going it totally alone.

Were positioning the traveling concierge services as an alternative to traditional package tours. We call it travel for grown-ups, Cohen explained. People want to visit Vietnam; the numbers say as much. But they dont necessarily want a tour guide with them every second nor do they want to navigate from the airport to their hotel, or from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, on their own. This is a middle ground where we see extraordinary market potential.

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