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Saturday 23 August 2014

'We're getting a big lift as the tourist market recovers'

Published 07/11/2012 | 05:00

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Name: Matilda Walsh

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Job Title: Senior IT systems manager, Europcar

Car: Nissan Qashqai

• What's your own background?

I have 17 years' experience in the car rental business and over 10 years' experience in IT systems management and training. I have a diploma in business studies and human resources.

• What does your job involve?

I deliver the IT architecture required to meet and scale the company's business objectives and strategies. Day-to-day, I provide applications support and reports to management on IT and operations projects.

• What do you most like about your job?

I love the diverse range of daily activities.

• What's the most difficult part of your job?

The most difficult area is one of personal challenge. It involves keeping myself in check to coach team members through the problem-solving process and refrain from doing the work for them myself.

• What is the most significant project you have worked on recently?

The overhaul and changing of Europcar's operating systems to a single consolidated IT infrastructure, involving the integration of three international franchisees.

• Is rental to tourists the biggest part of your business?

Yes, tourism accounts for around 80pc of our revenue while a huge part of our domestic business is corporate rentals.

• How badly has the rental sector been hit by the recession?

In the last two years, tourism is recovering. This year we have experienced strong growth and increased our purchasing of new cars. Of all the cars purchased in Ireland in 2012, we bought 4pc of the total market.

• What are your top three most popular rental cars?

The most popular car classes are Economy class ( Ford Fiesta), Compact (VW Golf Size) and Intermediate, Hyundai i40.

• How far in advance of the rental season do you decide the size of your fleet?

Between three and six months before the traditional rental season begins, we start working on determining the fleet size using a number of supply and demand models including historic analysis, economic conditions, market analysis and vendor negotiations. Forecasting is never an exact science regardless of the economic conditions and with each purchasing plan we learn something new to add to the next year's modelling.

• What's your traditional rental season?

Europcars' season is April to September. Our peak period is the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August, but we have also seen a shift in recent years to April and September trips.

• If you could work in another industry what would it be?

Hospitality -- spending someone else's money!

• If you had a limitless budget, what would be your dream car?

Bentley Continental GT.

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