Car rentals ‘slow’

Some car rental companies are not seeing an uptick in business for the upcoming International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup.

Less than three weeks before the start of the global event, checks by a Nation team on Monday revealed that four local automobile renting businesses had not yet received a single booking while others had gained only a few.

Representatives from Adam’s Car Rentals, Jones Garage & Rent-A-Car, Nationwide Car Rentals and McCarthy’s Garage said they received a few queries but had not yet confirmed any business specifically for the June 1-29 tournament in which Kensington Oval will host nine matches, including the final.

Some operators, including Jones Garage & Rent-A-Car supervisor Rupert Forde, put the lack of interest down to a recent trend where many visitors for cricket come to the island as part of groups with tour packages that include hotel accommodation, airline tickets, match tickets and ground transportation.

“We haven’t had any bookings yet. I’m not surprised at all. From what I gather people are going in a group on buses and so on, using ZR vans and private vans. There is still some time. People come at the last minute,” Forde said.

Guy Myles of Nationwide Car Rentals shared a similar story.

“We’re not really getting any business from the World Cup. Things have changed. Nowadays, when people come in for cricket, they don’t really rent cars per se. They come with a whole package – hotel, travel. Coaches pick them up, take them to cricket, take them back to the hotel. That is the trend I am seeing. I saw it for myself the last time I went to cricket – coaches parked up alongside the road waiting for people to come out,” he said.

Some car rental companies are hopeful that as the T20 World Cup draws closer, they will see some business coming in ahead of the matches in Barbados, which include five group games from June 2 to 8, three Super Eight matches from June 20 to 23 and the final on June 29.

Adam’s Car Rentals director, “Mr Adams”, also recalled there was little business for them during the 2007 World Cup.

“I’ve had some queries but no bookings; 2007 was a flop. A lot of people were prepared and it was pretty much a flop. We’ve had some queries, but it is ridiculously slow. In business you always have to be an optimist. I’d be prepared to look down and then be surprised that it is good,” he said.

Courtesy Garage’s regional product manager Samuel Gaston expressed optimism that business for the car rental industry would pick up in the coming months.

“We anticipate that based on the connections we have heard, it is going to be a fully-booked period fairly quickly. I recommend that people do their bookings as soon as possible because we are also heading straight into the Crop Over season and you will have people who do their bookings annually. When they book one year, when they are leaving, they book for the following year,” he said.

“With the cricket coming, it is going to be very tight in terms of availability. I expect that the industry will have a very buoyant period.”

Officials at Z&S Car Rentals and Corbin’s Car Rentals reported they had received some bookings for the T20 World Cup period, but they were not significant.

“They’re coming in slowly. We have one or two at the moment, but I guess when it gets closer to the time then they will start coming in harder. The ones that we have are those who booked in advance. They are regular customers who come to cricket all the time,” said manager of Z&S Car Rentals Umer-Farook Mehter.

“In the past, you would have a lot more. A lot of people are also using public transport now, especially with restrictions on cars with parking.” (HG)

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