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The recently opened GO Rentals' branch at Dunedin Airport heralds the local arrival of one of the most innovative rental vehicle companies.
It is GO Rentals' sixth location in New Zealand, providing an important link in their southern network, which includes branches in Queenstown and Christchurch.
The company leapt at the opportunity when one of the seven desks in the terminal at Dunedin Airport became free, and the branch has now been open for a month.
``The opportunity arose, and we were really keen on getting together,'' Dunedin Airport CEO Richard Roberts says. ``The values seemed to align really well between the two organisations. And finding out more about the business, these guys are doing some really cool stuff.''
``Dunedin is a really important location for us,'' GO Rentals managing director James Dalglish says. ``We have corporate partners, and Dunedin is a location they have been crying out for. And the airport has seen some fantastic growth with passenger arrival numbers in recent times.''
With GO Rentals looking to expand their network into the regions, a Dunedin branch was the obvious next step. Dalglish says they've had a desire to have a presence here for over two years, and are very excited that it's now a reality. He says the numbers for Dunedin are already extremely promising.
The branch has also broken new ground for the company, being their first in-terminal operation. GO Rentals Wellington manager Raul Baradat has moved south to oversee the Dunedin Airport branch.
``It's a different style of service that we're going to be providing here, and it's all very new and exciting,'' Baradat says. ``It's looking quite similar to Wellington, with a corporate base, but because of the seasonal timing we haven't really seen the tourism side of it kick in yet.''
The new branch offers the company potential to create further opportunities within the tourism industries of Dunedin and Queenstown. And opening a new location also introduces fresh opportunities, Dalglish says.
``Previously we weren't servicing Christchurch to Dunedin or Queenstown to Dunedin, and all of a sudden those opportunities arise,'' he notes. ``We're boosting our overall network, and boosting reservations in other regions that want to come into Dunedin on a one-way hire. Christchurch and Queenstown are the main partners, but we are going to get Auckland to Dunedin, and Dunedin to Auckland as well.''
GO Rentals offer a two-tier fleet, catering to all requirements. Premium brand New Zealand new vehicles make up the top tier, while the lower priced vehicles on the fleet may be three years or older. The company has recognised that the average age of cars in New Zealand is 14 years, so while it is an option to book a brand new car, not all customers are wanting to pay for that.
``Not every customer domestically needs or wants to hire a brand new vehicle,'' Dalglish says. ``We want to offer that at a relevant price point and give customers the choice.''
Another aspect of GO Rentals service is the ability to pick the appropriate accessories for experiencing the lower south to its fullest. If heading to the snow, chains and other ski season necessities are available.
The forward thinking company is a true innovator when it comes to technology. Looking to smooth the customer journey, GO Rentals have developed a brilliant app that will streamline the entire experience.
With the app handling many of the more time-consuming elements of renting a car, time can be saved on the ground when a customer has landed and picking up the vehicle.
``We're talking about `experiential, not transactional','' Dalglish explains. ``We're striving for the technology to handle the transaction, the insurance decision. Then when we're face-to-face with the customer, we can really start to connect. For us, that customer experience is a massive focus.''
As Richard Roberts notes, for a customer who's spent an hour travelling from Christchurch, a wait of 20 or 30 minutes to handle the rental paperwork in the traditional manner in order to pick up a rental car is less than ideal. He says the technology driven innovations GO Rentals are at the vanguard of a paradigm shift in the industry.
``When it comes to technology I've not seen anything like it from a rental car company,'' he says. ``I think these guys are innovators, and everybody else is going to be a fast follower.''
With the winter tourism season almost upon us, GO Rentals are excited to have their new Dunedin Airport branch operational. The company is settling in nicely.
``We feel we've been welcomed with open arms by the Dunedin Airport team,'' Dalglish says. ``They've made it really hassle free, and we feel like we're part of the family already.''