According to the President of the Abrams Consulting Group, Neil Abrams, hire car rates will either remain as they are or possibly rise slightly in 2010.

The announcement came as Abrams suggested that many corporate travellers may shop around as the market becomes increasingly flooded with competition and offerings. Despite the economic downturn the rental car industry has remained surprisingly robust as the amount of Britons choosing to ‘staycation’ saw a summer surge in car hire. Unlike previous times of recession the demand for car hire has remained relatively constant and tighter budgets have led to more rational fleet control.

According to Abrams, car hire companies have realised that irrational pricing on their part ultimately drives away the customer which undermines their businesses. In times where there is limited flexibility in pricing structures most corporate users see little need to explore alternate options as all are much the same.

However, as the recession slowly recedes the demands of users may again increase which in turn could lead to hire companies raising their rates. 2009 has seen most rental operators undertake a careful program of cost trimming and greater attention to fleet management but the cutbacks will not last forever. The discounts that were so forthcoming in the early part of this year are unlikely to continue far into 2010.

Abrams pointed to the old adage that when demand drops prices come down. The corresponding logic is one that may not be too far away. The best advice then is to book now and book often.