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New measures to build confidence in car hire put to the test

Man cleaning car interior

The World Travel and Tourism Council has stepped up its efforts to rebuild confidence in travel by unveiling a raft of measures for the sector.

Alongside new protocols for attractions and leisure facilities, there’s guidance for the car hire companies and those that offer short-term property rentals.

The latest measures from the WTTC – which are also backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation – outline what travellers can expect from these companies as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Holidaymakers should lookout for a WTTC Safe Travels stamp to see if businesses are following the recommendations, similar to the We’re Good to Go industry-standard mark that has launched in Britain.

All of the measures recognise the role that consumer confidence will play in the recovery of the tourism sector, and should provide reassurance for people both at home or overseas.

Measures for car hire

The popularity of car hire has surged in the UK in recent weeks, while it is also expected to play a leading role in the recovery of the travel sector in Europe and beyond.

Many of the measures apply to businesses themselves, but holidaymakers should also be aware of what to expect, including:

  •         Pre-arrival digital health declarations
  •         Enhanced cleaning for all workspaces, such as check-in desks and counters
  •         Options for curbside pick-up and drop-off
  •         Digital and contactless payment processes
  •         Health and temperature checks
  •         Limits on the number of people who can collect a vehicle (others must wait outside of rental facilities or away from hire desks)

Also, car hire companies are expected to clean all high-frequency touchpoints in all vehicles, including elements such as the steering wheel, key fobs, gear stick and door handles.

New Car Hire Measures Put To The Test

At Questor Insurance, we did our own research to find out whether the above measures are being followed. Fortunately, all of the car rental companies that we checked out have put measures in place.  This is therefore likely to be happening across many car rental companies, even the ones we haven’t been in touch with.


All have increased their efforts on cleaning, using disinfectant and allocating extra time to ensure a thorough job is done between each rental.  A couple of rental companies including Enterprise have gone one step further and are detailing on their website a pictorial representation of the areas within the car that are having an ‘increased level’ of cleaning, reassuring customers that ‘touchpoints’ are receiving special attention.

Touchpoints in car

Source: Enterprise Cars

You may come across stickers on vehicle doors when picking up your vehicle, these are being used by many rental companies to act as a seal after cleaning.  They are advising that if you have a broken the ‘seal’ on collection, to let them know and the vehicle will be exchanged or re-cleaned.

Staff Training

Many companies have put their teams on intensive training courses to prepare them for post-lockdown rentals.  This training has included both cleaning practices and social distancing measures to keep both customers and staff safe.

Rental Offices

The cleaning pledge that all rental companies are adopting also extends to their offices and rental desks, with Budget & Avis, in particular, stating that their desks and office areas are being regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Enterprise are limiting the number of staff at pick up locations, to minimise social contact and are putting measures in place to allow socially distanced pick up and drop off scenarios.

Sixt have installed screens at rental desks and all staff are wearing facemasks, again a measure that we expect to encounter via other rental companies also. 

Click Rent in Spain & Guerin in Portugal have also confirmed that their staff are also wearing gloves.

Pick Up and Drop Offs

You must check with your individual rental company if arrangements have changed or altered.  Changes that we are seeing are, for example, like Mocar in Spain, who are leaving the keys in the ignition at the airport for vehicle pickups.  Enterprise are offering roadside collections as an option if desired to limit contact in rental offices, as well as a delivery and pickup service.

We are seeing a number of distanced measures being implemented, so do check in advance what your options are.

Diagnosis of Covid-19

If a customer is diagnosed with Covid-19 whilst in the procession of a rental vehicle, several rental companies are quarantining the car until it can have a deep clean before being put ‘back into service’.  Sixt and Enterprise both have details of this on their website, but please do check with your rental company to see if they to have similar measures in place.

Keeping up to date with the latest information

Rental companies are frequently updating their websites with solutions and changes they have put into practice to minimise contact and cross-contamination.  If you have already booked your hire vehicle then do keep an eye on their website for the latest information.  Likewise, if you are yet to book, it is worth doing some research on their Covid-19 strategies as some have a lot more to offer than others.

Countries are also imposing different rules relating to vehicles, so do make sure you check the country requirements that you are travelling to.  For example, Greece have put a restriction in place to say that a taxi, minibus or a private vehicle (which includes hire cars), even if they have 5 or 7 seats, are only allowed to carry up to 3 passengers.  Minibuses with 8 or 9 seats are allowed to carry up to 5 passengers.  This rule, however, does not apply to parents with minors.

So do make sure that you check out both the rental company and countries requirements before collecting your vehicle.  Likewise, don’t forget your car hire excess insurance as well.  Purchasing this in advance and direct from us can you save ££s as well as providing you with a higher level of cover.

Date Created: 03/08/2020

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