Thrifty Car Rental deploys PDAs for reservations

Guest Writer

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 13 June 2010 — Thrifty Car Rental, a subsidiary of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. (NYSE: DTG), and the largest car rental company in the UAE, today announced that it is rolling out Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) to enable the automation of the vehicle check-in and check-out process. The initial roll out covers all Thrifty rental locations and will be used by all delivery and pick up staff in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. Thrifty UAE is the first car rental company in the Middle East to introduce PDAs for vehicle check-in and check-out.

The PDAs are linked to Thrifty’s Vehicle Management System and will replace the manual documentation process that is currently required to rent a car, which will significantly reduce administration time. Senior representatives at Thrifty expect that customers will welcome the new system as they will experience a faster vehicle check-in and check-out for car rental.

“This automation is a huge technology leap for Thrifty in the UAE and will significantly enhance our customers’ overall rental experience. The real-time solution will eliminate the downtime between customers signing vehicle check-in forms and the counter staff keying in data, increase staff productivity and enhance system accuracy. If a driver in Dubai delivers a vehicle to Ras-Al-Khaimah, as soon as the customer signs the PDA, the data will automatically be reflected on a real time basis across the Thrifty Vehicle Management  System, and the information would be  immediately accessible to any Thrifty staff with the simple click of a button,” explained Rahul Singh, General Manager, Thrifty Car Rental. 

Developing the software for the PDAs took 12 months by Thrifty’s in-house IT and customer relation teams. “The solution has been fine tuned based on some very useful feedback from the staff at our various rental locations. We conducted extensive research at our headquarters and across our rental locations in the UAE. Signal testing was also done at a number of remote locations, from underground car parking lots to the Hatta border to ensure that we were aware of any likely connectivity issues and could rectify them if necessary,” continued Singh.

“We are leading the way for car rental companies to go digital. By introducing this technology we expect to significantly reduce our costs arising from non-revenue mileage, untraceable traffic fines and salik charges. This eco-friendly solution will reduce the amount of paperwork previously generated on a daily basis; based on our current transaction volumes we estimate that we will save approximately 1.5 million (A-4 size) sheets of paper annually across the UAE,” Singh concluded.

A total number of 70 PDAs (model number MC55) were provided by Motorola and its partner, Zultec Technical Services. “The PDAs are user-friendly and offer flexibility and functionality - it is an ideal fit for meeting Thrifty’s vision to enhance the customer experience,” said Toni Junghaenel, Middle East Channel Manager, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions.

Thrifty expects all locations in Dubai and the Northern Emirates to be fully-automated by the end of June. The next phase of implementation will cover Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. 

– Ends-

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