The growing trend of online shopping in the Middle East is likely to spread to car hire bookings, Hertz UAE has said.

The prediction comes this week via an official release from one of the region’s largest car rental providers, which said that following a 35 per cent increase in internet bookings over the last two years that the trend was expected to continue through 2012.

Hertz UAE sales and marketing manager Neil Munro said in a press release, “In 2011, we experienced more demand for partner oriented solutions, and this is another trend we expect to continue this year. Corporates are looking for more diversified products, such as buses and chauffeur services when hosting events. They want help with their holistic solutions these days, rather than a few vehicles for a couple of weeks”.

The company said that the recent growth in online sales was driven by higher brand awareness in the region, as well as the increasingly popular trend of online shopping, which saw US $1.01 billion (£633 million) in sales in 2011. Officials said the brand would also be encouraging online bookings to grow further in recent months via new products.

Mr Munro said, “We were also delighted to provide UAE residents travelling abroad with the opportunity to save money on their car rental when we launched our new website, which allows them to pay in advance and in the local UAE currency. This was part of Hertz International’s ongoing mission to offer its Middle East customers the best rental pricing for travel abroad. The new ‘pre-paid product’ means Hertz customers no longer have to pay for cars upon arrival at their destination city”.