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Rental Car Satisfaction Reaches Highest Level in 7 Years

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In contrast to the decline in hotel guest satisfaction, customers of rental car companies are as satisfied as they've been in the last seven years, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study.

The study ranked 12 car rental companies. Enterprise came out on top, followed by National and Alamo.

1. Enterprise
2. National
3. Alamo
4. Hertz
5. Avis
6. Budget
7. Dollar
8. ACE Rent a Car
9. Thrifty
10. Advantage Rent a Car
11. Payless
12. Fox Rent a Car

"The rental car industry continues to step up its game, building on improvements in the rental car customer experience made over the past several years, while also benefiting from higher satisfaction levels with cost and fees relative to prior years," said Stuart Greif, vice president of the travel practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "However, there still are tremendous opportunities to leverage technology to address customer pain points in the rental car experience. There is also an opportunity to make the most out of staff interactions with customers and raise customer satisfaction levels even higher."

While business customers tend to be more critical of their rental car experience than do leisure/personal customers, they also tend to be more loyal. The study finds that 33 percent of business customers say they "definitely will" rent from the same brand again, compared with 26 percent of leisure/personal customers.

Among leisure/personal customers, 41 percent selected their rental car company based on price. For business travelers, that number is just 24 percent.

The study measures overall customer satisfaction with renting cars at airport locations by examining six factors (listed in order of importance): costs and fees; pick-up process; return process; rental car; shuttle bus/van; and reservation process.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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