The Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK car rental companies has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK car rental companies perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK car rental companies has just been published. It covers the largest 11 national car rental companies, including Hertz, Enterprise Holdings, Avis, Green Motion UK, SIXT, Zipcar, Rentalcars.com, Zest Car Rental, Hiyacar, Thrifty Car and Van Rental, and Practical Car & Van Rental.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other car rental companies to win brand exposure in key areas, generate online views, and drive enquiries & bookings. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q4 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 car rental companies on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing car rental companies, or request a copy of the report for the full review.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. Car rental companies will want to take particular care that key pages such as locations and models are easy for users to find.
Throughout all our reports on the car rental companies sector, we have found many brands to be struggling with maintaining their technical performance. In our last report, we found 1,209 4xx errors codes on Avis’ site, indicating customers being sent to a lot of dead ends. This followed on from a slight increase from the previous reports too. In Q4, we found that Avis are now delivering still delivering 1,143 4xx errors, showing only minimal improvements. With the next highest figure coming from Zipcar, who only have 323 4xx errors, Avis are now the only car rental company struggling to maintain technical compliance.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. Just as with ensuring key pages are easy to navigate to, to avoid any prospective customer frustration, car rental companies will want to convey a fast site experience to ensure potential renters have a positive experience with their brand at every digital step.
Last quarter, the mobile speed scores ranged from 62 to just 9. In Q4, it ranged from 57 to 11. While the lowest mobile speed score has improved, brands still need to work to improve their mobile speed score to exceed the previous quarter. Thrifty has the fastest mobile speed score at 57, while Rentalcars.com and Hiyacar has the lowest scores of 11.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that is not gained through sponsored ads. Car rental companies can look to collaborate with high-authority travel and lifestyle bloggers to build their backlink profiles, along with generating travel and motoring content that can be picked up by both national and sector-specific press.
A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it is generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. Domain authority has been exceptionally high throughout this sector, with DAs ranging from 35 to 82 in Q4. Green Motion scores the lowest while Rentalcars.com has the top DA for this quarter.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. Due to the cost-of-living crisis and consumers cutting back on expendables such as holidays, car rental companies may find that they are competing for a much smaller pool of traffic than in 2022.
As expected, most brands have seen a drop in year-on-year mobile and desktop traffic. In our last report, the only brands who saw any increase in traffic were Rentalcars.com and Green Motion. In Q4, Rentalcars.com and Green Motion are, again the only companies who saw a further increase. On the other hand, Thrifty has seen a 75% decline in desktop traffic, making it the car rental company with the biggest loss. Meanwhile, Practical has seen a 70% drop in mobile traffic in the past year.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. 'Reviews' are a useful feature for car rental companies to capitalise on, helping them gain the trust of potential customers.
In our last report, SIXT retained the top spot, with 15,400 ‘reviews’ appearances. In Q4, SIXT still hold the first-place position with 18,500 ‘reviews’ — an increase from the last quarter. SIXT is greatly leading the way with the runner-up being Zest Car Rental with less than half of SIXT’s reviews, at a total of 8,200.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Car rental companies must ensure their organic content strategy acknowledges high-conversion potential keywords, including terms such as 'available now', 'instant access', or 'cost for 7 days' (or any other common length of time).
In our past reports, we have noted that Thrifty ranked for very few longtail keywords, appearing in the top three positions for only 8. In this quarter, Thrifty, has seen an improvement, positioning in the top three 12 times. But Enterprise is the car rental company to beat with an impressive 9,748 positionings at the top three search engine rankings for longtail keywords on desktop.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) hitting over 44 million users in 2023, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019. For car rental companies, Facebook ads are an opportunity to ensure customers are seeing offers, availability, and company options.
Below, we can see examples of Green Motion’s Facebook ads from the last quarter. Green Motion have included images of Edinburgh to encourage their followers to make memories in a new city. This ad shows the beauty of a city and combines friendly advice for travelling to send a message that car rental can be exciting and be a gateway to world exploration.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. As with building a backlink profile and creating content that ties in well with PR activity, car rental companies can look to developing topics within the holiday and automotive space to secure shareable content that will gain traction on social media.
We've noted that car rental companies generally don't have a large presence on social media. No companies have gained a following through Instagram, though SIXT boasts an impressive tally of 1.1m Facebook likes.
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. It is important for brands in any sector to be accessible for all potential visitors, even when this need is not immediately obvious, such as in the automotive sector.
Last quarter, we noted that Practical Car & Van Rental have cause for concern with 70 alerts within our accessibility audits, which has slightly dropped this quarter to 67. This figure is an alarming difference compared to the second-highest concern — SIXT, which has 35 alerts. It’s refreshing to see that Enterprise, Zest Car Rental, and Rentalcars.com have fewer alerts, ranging from 1–3.
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q4 2023 REPORT
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.