Hertz has long claimed to be number one in car rentals but the company may be looking over its shoulder at Enterprise.
Enterprise secured its position in the marketplace by establishing rental car locations away from airports, where most of its competitors were clustered. Enterprise targeted consumers who weren't necessarily visiting from out of the area but were local residents who just needed to rent a car.
In a shift in expansion strategy, Hertz now appears to be following a similar model. While retaining its airport locations, the company is expanding into what it calls the "neighborhood" car rental market servicing replacement, leisure and business customers.
Since the beginning of 2012, Hertz has opened 275 new locations with more to come. Most of these are in the neighborhood market.
Hertz said it now has approximately 2,350 neighborhood locations nationwide, the majority of which offer pickup and delivery service as well as insurance replacement rentals.
Replacement rentals are usually tied in with insurance companies, where policy holders are provided a replacement vehicle while their car is being repaired. Hertz said it is now a recognized supplier to more than 193 of the 209 largest insurance companies.
For consumers, having rental car stores in neighborhoods is not only an added convenience but can also save money. Renting a car from an airport location is usually more expensive because the airport adds on a lot of fees that have to be passed along.
A recent Travelocity student showed the average airport tax on rental cars is just over 28 percent. Off-airport locations reported taxes about half that.
If you are going to be renting a car for several days, it might pay to compare prices at airport and neighborhood locations. Even if you have to take a cab from the airport to the neighborhood location, you might still come out ahead.