Car rental prices spike for Masters Week

 

 

Rental vehicles are a hot commodity in Augusta during Masters Week, and area car rental companies have their prices set accordingly.

Rental rates for next week are steepest at Augusta Regional Airport, where thousands of golf patrons will soon descend into Augusta.

For many of the national car rental chains – among them, Hertz, Enterprise and Budget – the regular daily rate of a standard car mid-Masters Week skyrocketed compared with the same period this week. Rates more than doubled, and in some cases quadrupled for many rental agencies operating from the airport. Those in the local car rental industry attribute the higher prices to supply and demand.

“It’d be the same as hotels,” said Geoffrey Greenhill, a manager for Budget Rent A Car, which has centers at the airport, Augusta Mall and on Washington Road in Evans. To meet that demand, Budget will bring from 100 to 300 additional vehicles into Augusta from Atlanta, Greenhill said.

“During Masters we do see a significant increase in volume for the area to the point that most everybody here is out of cars by the Friday of Masters,” he said.

At the Budget airport location, a standard car costs $45.99 for April 2-3 if booked online Tuesday. A week later, on April 9-10, the regular rate was set more than $100 higher, $178.99.

At the Budget center in Augusta Mall, the at-the-counter rate of renting that same vehicle was $89 more than normal, $177.99, during Masters Week, although renters would receive a $17.80 discount if they booked in advance.

Economy Rent-A-Car manager Shannon Hall said the weekly rental rates for a standard car rise by about $100 during Masters Week.

At the Hertz station at the airport, a car online Tuesday ran $80 higher, at $140.49, for April 9-10 than the week before, when rates were $60.49. As of Tuesday, rental rates at the Martinez location hadn’t changed for Masters Week.

Hertz management at the Martinez office said regular rates will creep up next week but insurance loaner vehicles will not .

At Triangle Rent A Car on Washington Road in Augusta the daily prices are preset at $149 for vehicles such as 15-passenger vans, SUVs and minivans, because those sell out nearly a year in advance, said Manager Ihor Bundz. 

“It fluctuates on demand,” Bundz said. “The Masters pricing on the smaller vehicles is only about $15 a day more. A (Toyota) Corolla is normally $38.99, and right now it’s $52.99 for that week.”

Bundz said the rates won’t jump for local customers in need of a spare vehicle.

“We work with the body shops and the dealers all year round,” he said. “We’re not going to raise our prices just for one week on an account like that.”

A FEW WAYS TO SAVE

• Search travel Web sites such as Orbitz, Expedia and Carrentals.com to find the best rental car deals, but be mindful of additional taxes and fees.

• Use discounts if you belong to AAA, AARP or other organizations that offer savings.

• Avoid airport rental locations if possible.

• Check out deals from regional chains or local agencies.

• Book reservations in advance to lock in rates, or set your price through Web sites such as Priceline.com or Hotwire.com.

Source: Bankrate Inc.

 

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