Serving more than 500 customers worldwide, Progress application partner Bluebird Auto Rental Systems provides easy-to-use, cost-effective on-premise and hosted software solutions to vehicle rental companies. ACE Rent A Car selected Bluebird’s RentWorks solution because ACE was in need of a self-hosted technology solution. Since implementing RentWorks, ACE has realized significant benefits across its operations.
Bluebird Auto Rental Systems passes the competition with Progress
Chances are if you’ve heard the phrase “driver’s license and credit card please” at a car rental counter, you have come face to face with software from Bluebird Auto Rental Systems. Serving more than 500 customers worldwide, ranging from single operators with ten vehicles to agencies with over 350 users and 16,000 vehicles, Bluebird provides easy-to-use, cost-effective software to vehicle rental companies.
A Progress application partner for 20 years, Bluebird originally selected Progress® OpenEdge® as its development platform after being particularly impressed with a demo of a single Progress OpenEdge-based application running on 200 different operating systems. This spoke to Bluebird, as the company is responsible for supporting a diverse set of technologies across global client sites.
Since that time, Bluebird has continued to take advantage of OpenEdge advancements. In 2001, the company developed a SaaS version of its on-premise RentWorks rental solution called NetRent, allowing customers to access the system via a Web browser. With that move, Bluebird’s business grew exponentially. Today, approximately two-thirds of Bluebird’s customers are deploying Bluebird using the SaaS model.
Committed to keeping pace with technology, the company plans to implement a number of exciting projects over the next twelve months. Leveraging Progress OpenEdge Mobile, Bluebird will develop an app to allow rental customers to sign an iPad or other mobile device with their finger to complete a rental contract. “This has so many people excited because it will allow the agents to move out from behind the counter into the parking lot or airport,” says Angela Margolit, President of Bluebird Auto Rental Systems. “This will expedite the entire process, improve productivity and enhance the customer experience.” Bluebird also has near-term plans to implement multi-tenancy and Cyberquery for back-end reporting.
“Our strategy is to always give customers a choice. Progress gives us the flexibility to offer our customers different deployment options and features to meet their unique needs,” says Margolit. “While SaaS offers exciting possibilities to our customers, there are many that prefer an on-premise model. The majority of our competitors only offer a hosted option. The fact that we can support on-premise and SaaS has proven to be a significant competitive differentiator for us.”
Bluebird continues to turn to Progress versus other vendors because of the strength of the technology and the partnership. “The Progress database is robust, extremely reliable and offers the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry,” says Margolit. “And unlike vendors such as Microsoft or Oracle, Progress is large enough to be financially stable and offer continuous innovation, but small enough to listen to and truly engage with their partners.”
Progress is also a valued marketing partner who was instrumental in Bluebird’s social media efforts. Bluebird has embraced social media as a strategic channel, even hiring their own social media coordinator. The company’s efforts are already demonstrating impressive results, increasing inbound call rates by 20%.
Bluebird continues to play an active role within the Progress Community. Margolit is on the Partner Advisory Council, Bluebird often participates at events like the Exchange user conference, and the company periodically sits on thought-leadership panels to discuss timely topics, such as SaaS. “Our relationship with Progress has enabled us to establish ourselves as a thought leader, keep abreast of the competition, as well as keep up with technology. We would not be where we are today without Progress.”
ACE Rent A Car drives productivity and a superior customer experience with Bluebird
Bluebird’s decision to provide customers with different deployment options is precisely what attracted ACE Rent A Car. With 11 corporate locations, ACE was looking for the independence and control afforded by an on-premise solution. “Almost every rental car system on the market today is offered only in a hosted model. And while SaaS is a great option for many, it was not what we were looking for,” explains Jason Enyeart, Contact Center Manager for ACE Rent A Car. “Bluebird was able to offer us what we needed, while at the same time providing the technical support we require as a large company. It’s been a great partnership between the two companies.”
For four and a half years, ACE has relied on the Windows-based RentWorks system from Bluebird. Packed with features such as a two screen rental process, reservation sales, fleet utilization, rate management and accounting interfaces, RentWorks has improved the overall speed of ACE’s auto rental process.
“The counter software is very intuitive. The system is organized to mimic the physical rental process, so it makes complete sense as an agent moves from screen to screen,” says Enyeart.
“The system has also proven to be highly reliable, which is crucial for the rental car business. Our customers are on the move, trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. We can’t afford for our systems to be down,” explains Enyeart. “We’ve been pleased that system down-time has been contained virtually to routine maintenance.”
RentWorks has optimized the entire rental process for ACE, from the moment the customer checks in to the moment they get their keys. “With Bluebird we can easily get a customer checked in and out the door within three to five minutes,” says Enyeart. “Customer care value translates into a competitive advantage.”
Enyeart says Bluebird is also helping ACE to attract affiliates. “We don’t mandate that our affiliates must use RentWorks, and support multiple platforms, but for many the option makes sense and is very attractive.” Currently about 25% of ACE’s affiliate base utilizes Bluebird.
The flexibility of RentWorks has proven to be a key advantage for ACE. “The Bluebird system is quite flexible. We can easily customize it to meet our business needs and processes. That is significant for us,” Enyeart says. For example, ACE needed a way to reduce the time and energy the accounting department spent on violation issues in various states across the US. Bluebird developed a module with Rent A Toll, a provider of electronic toll solutions, to meet ACE’s challenge. Since implementing the module, Enyeart says ACE has been able to reduce the time and effort employees spend on those violation issues. “It was a completely seamless effort, and it continues to be one of our most used modules.”
A collaborative partnership
ACE is highly optimistic and excited about the potential benefits of Bluebird’s next release and upcoming enhancements. “The mobile app will absolutely improve the productivity of our employees by enabling them to get customers through the process more quickly,” says Enyeart. “It will also expedite the return process for our customers. They will be able to pull in to the return lane and be greeted by an agent who will immediately check them in and get them on to their next destination.”
ACE is already experimenting with the Cyberquery reporting system. “We are creating multiple reports to support the needs of different managers at different levels within the company. Everyone has a different idea of what they want to see, and Cyberquery makes it very easy to gather that data from within Bluebird and pull it out into any format.”
Over the past few years, Bluebird and ACE have developed a strong and active relationship. “I probably email or call them every single day with a question, suggestion or thought. And their response time is always quick,” says Enyeart.
“We try to support ACE in whatever they do as much as possible,” says Margolit. “Not only do they attend our conference, but we support them in their annual conventions as well. We have always enjoyed a collaborative and open relationship, and we will do everything we can to ensure their continued success.”
About ACE Rent A Car
ACE Rent A Car is a privately held business founded in 1966. Today, the ACE car rental chain consists of 11 company-owned outlets and over 220 affiliated locations worldwide including over 120 airports. In addition to serving the major North American airports, the ACE system has a concentration on leisure destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as destinations in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia. For more information, visit www.acerentacar.com.
About Bluebird Auto Rental Systems
Bluebird Auto Rental Systems is a provider of cost-effective, turn-key computer systems to vehicle rental operations worldwide since 1982. Bluebird’s Auto Rental application software, RentWorks, enables dealerships to more efficiently manage their service loaner fleets – expediting the rental process and improving the overall customer experience. For more information, visit www.barsnet.com.