The car hire industry is showing a steady return to form after a devastating global recession. During 2009, a lack of funding meant many car rental firms were unable to replenish fleets. The result was a drastic shortage of vehicles across Europe which meant the price for any available vehicles sky rocketed.

In countries such as Spain, the price of car hire in popular tourist destinations, like Malaga and Alicante, doubled. However, according to a report published in the UK Quarterly Travel Revue, car hire firms are managing to fatten their fleets which means the price of vehicles is retuning to pre-crisis levels.

The report from Experian Hitwise reveals a list of the most popular car hire firms with British holidaymakers. Between April and July, Carhire3000 was the most popular company through which to book a hire car, followed by Holiday Autos and then Hertz. The top-ten car hire websites, compiled by Hitwise, accounted for well over half the visits by UK customers looking to book their vehicle rental online.

The Hitwise report suggests that holidaymakers are becoming increasingly savvy about how they deal with the car rental issue. Not long ago, most people booking a holiday left the organisation of car rental to the last minute. However, the shortage of vehicles during the economic downturn seems to have taught many that this attitude can lead to high prices and disappointment.

UK tourists now seem to recognise the advantages of booking their car hire at the same time they book their air tickets and accommodation.