WHILE in the past, solo or group travelers relied on maps and the kindness of locals when navigating routes, the emergence of the GPS-enabled smartphones has pushed the self-drive segment up in most car rental businesses.
This has prompted Manila-based Avis Philippines to expand its car rental business in Cebu.
Avis Philippines chief operating officer Juan Miguel Lazaro said this has made Cebu more popular among this type of tourists because of the province’s still-tolerable traffic congestion and scenic views going to the countryside.
“It is still easier and nicer to drive around Cebu and to the countryside,” said Lazaro, adding that the self-drive service allows guests to experience more of Cebu.
From 15 car units for Cebu operations, the company operated by G&S Transport Corp. is adding 25 to 30 units to answer the rising need for self-drive car rental services.
Lazaro said the expansion will also cater to the demand for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice), fueled by the expansion of multinational companies. He added that the demand for car rentals is also rising for weddings and events.
Last Friday, Avis Philippines opened its Cebu hub office on the second floor of the Islands Souvenirs store in Mactan.
“Our location near the airport is strategic. We observe a lot of walk-in clients who do self-drive bookings,” he said.
Guests pay at least P3,200 valid for 24-hour use. Car rental rates vary, depending on the car type, brand and booking engagement.
Most tourists book five-day to a week self-drive car rentals, Lazaro said. Peak seasons for Cebu are during Sinulog, summer and Christmas.
Avis Philippines has about 500 car units in the Philippines and 22 branches all over the country—Cebu, Davao, General Santos, Manila, and Pampanga.
It offers services including airport transfers, car transfers, car-hire service, chauffeur-driven rental and self-driven car rental. (KOC)