Via InACents, several rental car companies — Dollar, Thrifty, Hertz, and Advantage — have pulled out of allowing their cars to be listed at AutoSlash.com. This follows on Avis’ early refusal to allow AutoSlash to display their availability and pricing.
On face, that would seem to be a huge blow to AutoSlash. But in reality, the site remains just as useful to consumers as ever.
The concept is that rental car prices change all the time. You book a car, but the price may drop, most people don’t continue to check on the price after booking. AutoSlash does this for you, and will automatically rebook you at a lower price when one avails itself. There’s real savings to be had from customers when car rental companies adjust their pricing.
The key here is that AutoSlash is really two different services in one:
- Search and Display Rental Car Prices. Originally they were also applying lots of coupons and discounts to find the best prices, and to some extent that was still part of their model, but on the whole searching AutoSlash was no different than booking anywhere else. It’s just that if you booked through them, you were automatically queued up for the second feature.
- Once a Booking Has Been Made, Keep Searching to Find a Lower Price — and Grab the Savings. That’s where AutoSlash delivers value. Anyone can book a car, everyone’s pricing is more or less the same (except for prepaid rentals such as through travel packages, Hotwire, or Priceline). AutoSlash kept checking for lower prices. And they still do that.
Just book your rental elsewhere, wherever you normally would.
Then go to the AutoSlash website, click the ‘Track a Rental You’ve Already Booked Elsewhere’ tab. Enter your confirmation details, and AutoSlash will keep looking to find you a better price.
They make money when they find you a better price and rebook your rental for you. They still do that. You just have to take the step of telling them to do it for you.
That’s not as easy and many people won’t do it I imagine, so major rental car companies pulling out is a big blow to them. But consumers can get the same benefit of savings on their rental cars, for free, that they were getting before.