Enterprise car rental company, has already transported more than 4,000 rental cars and trucks into the Southeast Texas region, and anticipates bringing in 17,000 total before the end of the month to assist with disaster recovery and hurricane clean-up efforts.
“After a catastrophic event like Hurricane Harvey, we immediately focus on our neighbors and community businesses as well as insurance companies and relief agencies, plus critical government, insurance and utility personnel,” said Karl Koch, General Manager and Vice President in Houston for Enterprise Holdings, which owns the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.
Since last week, Enterprise has been collaborating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), General Services Administration (GSA), State of Texas, Texas Army National Guard and others to help determine the most pressing and urgent transportation needs in Southeast Texas.
“We’re quickly shifting resources and fleet nationwide to meet spiking demand for local ground transportation in Houston and surrounding areas. And we’re expanding our operating hours – at both neighborhood offices and at airport facilities – with additional staffing wherever possible,” Koch explained. “Our integrated network, with more than 525 locations in Texas alone, enables us to respond like no other car rental company, especially as we work closely with insurance companies and prioritize vehicle replacement requests for their policyholders.”
Initially, Hurricane Harvey forced Enterprise Holdings to close more than half of its 185 neighborhood and airport car rental locations in the Houston area, with approximately 3,000 vehicles destroyed or lost in the flooding. However, the company has since reopened most of its locations. Further, Enterprise Holdings’ three brands – Enterprise, National and Alamo – have all waived one-way rental fees for customers who are returning vehicles to Houston (if they were rented as of Aug. 25, 2017, from Houston or from any other U.S city).
Before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Enterprise Rent-A-Car employees were sent home with LaunchPad® mobile tablets, which allow them to process rental transactions away from the counter in virtually any location. As a result, Enterprise employees – armed with their LaunchPad tablets – could quickly be reassigned from flooded branch offices to other facilities. In addition, this state-of-the-art mobile technology made it easier to manage local demand when customer calls came into flooded branch offices and were forwarded to other operational sites.
$1 Million Donation to Red Cross
The Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation – the philanthropic arm of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand – has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross. Enterprise’s $1 million donation to the American Red Cross will provide shelter, food, water and supplies for residents in the affected areas. This donation is in addition to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation’s annual million-dollar commitment to the Red Cross’s Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP).
“The Red Cross is working around the clock in extremely challenging conditions in Texas to help people impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO at the American Red Cross. “We couldn’t do it without the generosity of our amazing donors – like Enterprise. With their support the Red Cross can be there when disaster strikes to respond with shelter, food and the necessary supplies to ensure people are cared for, and to help during the recovery process. We’re extremely grateful for their support.”
With a domestic fleet that exceeds 1.2 million vehicles, Enterprise Holdings not only is the largest car rental company in the U.S., but also in the world – based on revenue, fleet size and number of locations. In emergency situations like last week’s flooding in Southeast Texas or last year’s devastating hailstorm in North Texas, Enterprise Holdings’ technology, expertise and network can make a critical difference.
For example, as soon as Hurricane Harvey hit, Enterprise activated its Mobile Emergency Response Vehicle (MERV) in the Meyerland community in Southwest Houston. MERV operates as a portable, state-of-the-art branch office in the event of an emergency. It is equipped with three workstations, five computers and a front counter. It can operate on a generator for more than 120 hours, supporting relief efforts even before local power is restored.
Each regional Enterprise subsidiary has an Emergency Action Plan that focuses on how branch offices communicate with each other when disasters strike to ensure that the right number and types of vehicles are available where they are needed most. “Urgent and overwhelming situations like these really put our network, fleet and employees to the test,” said Koch. “However, it all comes together when we understand and anticipate the needs of consumers, business owners, insurance companies, government agencies and other key public-policy decision-makers. In particular, we work closely with our insurance and collision repair partners to bring vehicles into the affected areas to ensure customers have replacement vehicles when they need them.”
Part of that transportation support extends beyond car rental service. “Many residents’ vehicles are considered not drivable or even a total loss after a flood, so they may need to be replaced beyond a temporary rental,” Koch explained. As a result, Enterprise Car Sales – a service of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand – also is offering Texas residents, who already have filed insurance claims, a special $300 gift card with the purchase of a vehicle through Oct. 31, 2017. Enterprise Car Sales will work with these residents to help them locate the kind of vehicle they need to get to work and to take care of their families.