Here are some extracts of Party Destinations recent interview with Johnathan Gittens of Direct Car Rentals in Barbados. This is the first in a series where we asked what sorts of things a traveler should know about renting a car on location and what they should ask. We covered lots of material about insurance, types of cars best suited for families and couples and how useful the 4×4 are in a small island etc. The responses are frank and helpful!
In this conversation: We asked for some background on the company and in particular what cars he would suggest to travelers based on needs and budgets.
The video will be added shortly.
Interview with Jonathan Gittens of Direct Car Rentals:
In 1998, my brother and myself bought the company from my uncle and moved it here to my home and set up this garage. We’ve grown it from four cars in 1976 to just over a 100 cars today. All of our cars are new and under warranty. We change cars when the warranty runs out. We have a wide range of cars, from the people carriers, which are the Suzuki APV Vans. They are great for families or groups coming here and they are very popular. We even find that surfers like those a lot because they can put the surf boards, particularly the long boards can fit on the roofs. We provide the soft racks with them.
We have the little Jimny Jeeps here. She’s fantastic for couples in the area. They are four seaters, but being a two-door vehicle, it’s nice when it’s just two people. They’re perfect for touring around the island and getting out on the East Coast and some of the more secluded bays and so on. We also have the larger jeeps and SUV’s. The Terios, the Tucsons, the Grand Vitaras, the Toyota RAV4’s, which are very nice. They’re sort of our executive line and again, very popular. Cars we have wide range again. Toyota Corollas, we have Toyota Yaris, which is probably the most popular car and then the little Kia Picantos. Everything in our fleet is automatic and air-conditioned. There are no manuals at all. Everything is automatic. Everything is air conditioned and everything comes with electric windows, stereo, fully equipped cars.
In the last 14 years that we’ve been here, we’ve seen steady growth. We’ve taken the company from a smaller company to one of the more reputable ones in the island. We are now 36 years into this. So Direct Rentals although having grown to over a hundred cars is still managed and operated by my brother and myself. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, either my brother or myself are manning the phones. So whenever you call, whether it’s to make a booking, if you have a flat tire, if there’s anything you need to inquire on, you will reach one of the owners.
It’s still very much a family business and I think that has given us the ability to give a much more personalized closer service to our customer. We develop good relationships with our guests. Many come back three, four, five times a year sometimes. They know who they are dealing with and they’re happy. That’s very important to us, to have that satisfied customer coming back to us time and time again.
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