Hertz Corp., the nation's largest car-rental company, will soon give Utah visitors a way to conveniently keep in touch with the home office.
Hertz has struck a deal with GTE Credit Card Phone to install cellular telephones in a portion of the cars in Hertz's Salt Lake City rental fleet.Customers who rent Hertz car with a cellular phone installed will be able to place and receive calls by activating the phone with a major credit card, said Roy Ritenour, manager of service quality for Hertz.
"Our customers want the convenience of being able to stay in touch with the office while traveling," said Ritenour.
He said the program has been deemed a success in 33 other markets and now it is Salt Lake's turn.
Although no local Hertz cars yet have the phones "we're working on it," said a spokesman for the Salt Lake office.
The GTE CCP 2000 cellular credit-card phone will be used in the cars. Customers will activate it by sliding an AT&T Calling Card, MasterCard, VISA, American Express or Diners Club card through a compact card reader attached to the phone.
Those who use the new service will receive a detailed listing of cellular call charges on their monthly credit-card statements. Ritenour said this saves them time during the rental because no extra paperwork is required at the rental desk.
It's also a good deal for Hertz. The proprietary GTE Billing System relieves the rental company of all billing and administrative responsibilities because the phone automatically reports call data to the GTE billing center.
A GTE spokesman said the CCP 2000 will work on any cellular network due to one of five patent-pending design processes that allows the phone to send call data automatically to GTE's billing system.
GTE and Hertz signed a multi-year agreement in January 1990 and expect to install some 50,000 in-car credit-card phones during the contract term. To date, 33 Hertz locations provide credit-card phones, and the expansion is continuing, said Ritenour.
Cellular credit-card phones have also been installed throughout the United States and Canada in limousines, cabs, fleet cars, ships, buses and remote areas with limited "regular" telephone service.
Hertz operates a fleet of 420,000 vehicles worldwide from some 5,000 locations in more than 120 countries. It has local reservations offices at Salt Lake International Airport, the Marriott and Red Lion hotels in Salt Lake City, and in Park City.
GTE is the largest U.S.-based local telephone company and the second-largest cellular-service provider in the United States with $20 billion in revenues in 1992.