Hertz has partnered with a local Irish company to create a technology solution for drivers seeking things to do. It's a Web-based concierge called Smart Traveller, and it offers advice on places to eat, stay, see and shop across Ireland.
The suggestions are broken down according to county, with the user inputting the destination and the type of activity to browse a list of recommendations. Each recommendation is placed on a map of the area, and further information can be explored with a quick click of the Find Out More button.
The service can be viewed in multiple languages, including German, French and English, and thus appeals to the variety of nationalities that make up the 500,000 tourists that visit Ireland each year.
There's not yet a way to pull appealing suggestions into the Hertz app, or otherwise move the information from the Web to the more versatile mobile platform.
It's also important to note that this is a third-party app, which means that any visitor can use the service, even without a Hertz reservation. While this may seem odd, Hertz is clearly testing the digital concierge waters with Smart Traveller as part of its renewed focus on technology.
First, the brand underwent a full technology overhaul, and then started to focus on a companion app to extend the planning utility of its in-car GPS. By combining all of these elements, it's possible the concierge service could make it into that same companion app. Or at the very least, the Smart Traveller platform becomes an inbound marketing channel for the car rental brand.
Moving on to curated suggestions is an obvious move for Hertz's digital strategy, one that also comes with a new engagement point for local small businesses. It's not a stretch to envision some sort of AdWords-style marketing that would target nearby rental cars, or some other sort of tech integration to move tourists to local businesses.
Whatever the future of the service, this marks a clear and concerted effort to extend the brand beyond the physical and into the digital — a smart move, as the emergence of the driverless car will have real implications for the value proposition of car rental companies.