Editor’s note: Remember the days when Hertz was the big boy of the car rental world and Avis was “trying harder”? Then we got names like Dollar, National, Thrifty and Budget. In the background was a local car rental company that wasn’t focused on the airports — Enterprise. It focused on local rentals and extra customer service.

Today, while the others have struggled, good local, customer-focused service has led Enterprise to the top ranking in size among their rental car peers and now it is the top-ranked company in the rental car category.

Enterprise Holdings’ brands were named the top rental car services of 2011 by Executive Travel readers. The company’s three brands – National Car Rental, Alamo Rent A Car and Enterprise Rent-A-Car – were respectively awarded gold, silver and bronze rankings in the “Top Rental Car Overall” category of the magazine’s 2011 Leading Edge Awards. The Alamo, Enterprise and National brands collectively lead the car rental industry with more than one-third of all airport business in the United States and Canada.

As the gold winner in the rental car category, National has further solidified its position as the premier car rental brand for business travel. For example, National Car Rental’s Emerald Club recently was selected for the second year in a row as the winner of the Best Rental Car Loyalty Program in the Editors’ Choice Awards at SmarterTravel – the largest online travel resource of independent expert advice for the budget-conscious traveler. National’s Emerald Club was recognized for its fast lane system and no-cost enrollment as well as high industry marks for customer satisfaction.

“National is focused on exceeding the expectations of business travelers from coast to coast and will continue to look for opportunities to further improve the rental experience for our customers,” said Rob Connors, assistant vice president for National Car Rental. “We are honored to receive the Leading Edge Award in recognition of our ongoing efforts to make every single rental experience the kind that keeps our customers coming back, over and over again.”

Published by the American Express Publishing Corporation, the leading publisher of luxury lifestyle magazines, which also publishes Travel + Leisure, FOOD & WINE, and Departures, Executive Travel surveyed its readers about their business travel experiences in order to identify the 2011 Leading Edge Award winners. The resulting annual list recognizes a gold, silver and bronze winner in 32 categories. Other winners of this year’s awards include Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group as the top-rated hotel chain and Alaska Airlines among domestic carriers for its frequent flyer program.

“This positive feedback from the business travel community is a testament to the quality and consistency of our customer service practices across all of our brands,” said Pam Nicholson, president and chief operating officer of Enterprise Holdings. “It’s also a tribute to the hard work and commitment of the men and women who deliver that high standard of service. Their focus on completely satisfying our customers has driven our growth for more than 50 years and will continue to guide our business.”