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Budget ready to take off after a year here

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After taking over American car rental brand Budget Car Rental in Hungary a year ago in April, Turkey-based Otokoc Hungary is optimistic about the brand’s future in the country and eyes gradual development and expansion. Managing Director Hasan Kurt discusses progress made so far and provisions in the market.

Hasan Kurt, Managing Director, Budget Car Rental

How did you decide to launch a business in Hungary?

We have a good relationship with Avis Budget group around the world, and hav represented them in seven countries, so they believe in us and they recommended the country. We investigated the Hungarian market, considered its potential and decided to come here. We believe in the Hungarian economy and the market.

If you needed to list certain facets that make Hungary an attractive place, what would you mention?

The location is very good and the population is large. Another great advantage of the country is the stable economy.

What challenges do you meet on a foreign market on a daily basis?

My team consists of only Hungarian staff, I am the only foreigner here, and we communicate in English. Working with people of another culture who speak another language is challenging for me and the staff at the same time. I needed to change my working style and my approach towards my staff.

How big is your business in the country?

We have two sales offices in the country, one at the airport and one in the heart of Budapest, and we have the headquarters. We have just ordered new cars, and fleet exceeds 500 cars in the country.

Who are your customers? What can you tell us about them?

More than 80% of our clients are foreigners. Car rentals are closely linked to airline transportation, so globally, our main locations at airports. But in Hungary, you only have one major airport.

How fierce is the competition in the Hungarian market? What is the key for success?

It is very competitive here. Foreigners arriving in Hungary are very price-sensitive, and they also demand excellent services. The first and most essential step, therefore, is that we try to make our services better than the other companies in the market. Sensible pricing is also very important. I believe the staff and services we offer are the main facets that differentiate us from other players in the market.

How do you see your Hungarian staff and the local labor market?

I believe in Hungarian workers. They are very trustworthy and are very honest. If they like your business they will stay for long, if they do not, they will leave. I like this. Happy workers stay with us and they make customers happy. We share our vision with the staff and if they believe in us, they will share our vision and this way they become part of our success.

It has been a bit more than a year since you came to the country. What has happened in the past year?

Our first step was learning about the Hungarian market. We invested in our business both technically and in human resources. I would say the plane is waiting at the end of the runaway now, waiting for taking off. We are ready.

What are your short-term and long-term visions?

In the car rental market there are six multinational companies as major players. Currently we are fifth or sixth among these companies, and we are aiming to be in the top three. The other big market in the country is the operational leasing market, and we are aiming to be a significant player in that area as well.

Are you planning more expansion in the country?

We expect to grow, but as for physical expansion, maybe we will issue sub-licenses, probably in Balaton, Debrecen, Győr or Miskolc.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Hungary is a very good market to invest in, especially because of Hungarian workers. The younger generation is very talented in Hungary, however the population is getting older, which is an important factor to watch, regarding the future. Another problem is brain drain, which government officials need to deal with in the future.

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