All of you know I’m a big fan of National Car Rental. They’re my go-to chain thanks to my Executive status that lets me pick almost any car from the Emerald Aisle with the keys already inside. Well, they asked me to remind you that they just released a new mobile phone app (which I’ve already reviewed) and got a few of us travel bloggers together to share our thoughts on it.
You can download the new National Mobile App for iPhones and other phones with the Android operating system. Or, just search for it from your phone’s application window. A Windows Phone version is in the works.
National organized a Google Hangout to get opinions from people like me on how their new app will improve the efficiency of business travelers, who are some of the most frequent users of rental cards. It was great to be included because, while I don’t do any ‘real’ business travel, most of my travel is domestic, and I need a rental car more often than not.
This new app has been a long time coming, since National was previously one of the few chains that did not have any app of its own. But now it offers features including the ability to book new reservations AND modify existing reservations (things like car class and payment type) and the location of the rental counter once you arrive at the airport. The best feature? A ‘Virtual Aisle’ that lets you pick the exact car you want at smaller locations that can’t justify a physical Emerald Aisle.
There were some great people in the Google Hangout, including Gary Leff, Chris McGinnis, and Johnny Jet. I’ve met all of them in person (and can only dream of one day being their equal) but it was still a great learning experience. They’ve got such great insight into the history and future trends of the travel industry, and I learned about a few others apps out there that I should add to my iPhone. I’m not sure my own contributions were so significant, but I was pretty frazzled after running around to find an Internet connection that day. See the clip below (direct link) to hear everything people had to say.
So as you can tell from that, Gary and the others did a great job of picking up my slack. I’m now enjoying my honeymoon, but one thing I’ve learned is that things like missing notes and broken Internet connections will follow you wherever you go. You see, my MacBook Air suffered a catastrophic SSD failure during my first flight from Seattle to Seoul. Nothing short of a new drive will fix it. While all my files are backed up online or on a secure hard drive at home, I’ve pretty much operated from a cell phone for the last week. That sucks if you’re addicted to the Internet like me.
Fortunately my phone does have most of the essential information I need to check in on reservations as we hop around Southeast Asia. And if I happened to need a rental car in a situation like this, an app like National’s would be essential. It frustrates me how little you can do with some phone apps (that includes you, Hyatt). Contrast that with National’s app, from which you can control almost every part of your reservation.
Read my original review for more information and don’t forget to to ‘Like’ National on Facebook and follow @NationalPro on Twitter. I do try to chime in most Tuesday mornings when they have their weekly #GoLikeaPro chat.
There’s still a week to go before I get home, and I’ll continue to be pretty quiet on the blog for obvious reasons.
Disclosure: National Car Rental may provide me with some compensation for reviewing their new app and promoting it on my blog. As I’ve said before, these are things I probably would have done anyway since I’m already a loyal customer.