The future of mobility is bright and car rental services are set to gain even more popularity, with many operators looking to provide more seamless and personalized experiences.
According to Future Market Insights, the global car rental services market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.2% through 2031, to reach US$268.5 billion. Improving car rental services is about anticipating and empowering customer needs, not just advancements in driving technology. By deploying new advances such as connected technology, companies can improve personal interactions and meet the needs and new expectations of consumers.
Consumers looking for frictionless rental services
Contemporary customers seek to interact with car rental service providers on their own terms. Therefore, eliminating long queues, lengthy check-in processes and frequent incoming calls becomes of paramount importance. Simultaneously, they seek fast response times while resolving issues.
Therefore, car rental platforms are deploying remote and app-based technologies, allowing users to book their vehicle, upload documents for verification, and drop off their ride at their doorstep. In addition, customers seek to exercise control over their rental experience with an increased sense of trust and transparency.
Ensuring seamless and frictionless service undoubtedly expands profit margins and customer loyalty. Therefore, companies are collaborating with major software vendors to launch ridesharing apps with quick booking features. In January 2022, Collinson’s Priority Pass introduced a global partnership with CarTrawler, providing members with car rental services through the Priority Pass app. Through this partnership, members can book car rental and airport transfer with ease.
Optimize rentals with connected car solutions
With a focus on reducing friction with customers, service providers are optimizing rental services by creating a suite of car rental solutions deploying a combination of wireless automation, 5G technology and automotive IoT . With such advancements, the industry has taken significant steps, capable of creating unmanned self-service car rental packages that automate the process, ensuring great convenience for customers.
Connected cars have greatly contributed to consolidating the car rental business, allowing service providers to track fleet usage and manage maintenance. This enables predictive maintenance and proactive problem solving even before a failure occurs. With connected car solutions, the car rental industry can use an app-based wireless system to improve the customer experience.
In addition, connected car solutions have improved car recovery systems, in the event of theft or loss. Since December 2021, CalAmp subsidiary LoJack España has partnered with Bipi to deploy preventive fleet maintenance and stolen vehicle tracking to improve car subscription experiences for customers and enable a more efficient management of operations.
The right service provider can help implement connected car strategies, enabling more responsive customer service, more efficient operations, improved vehicle performance and better return on investment. Near real-time data analytics delivered through a 5G network can provide more insight and control, while increasing vehicle utilization and lowering operating costs.
Why wait in long lines when you can go digital?
With rental services now available remotely, businesses need to open channels to receive digital payments. Whether the customer is extending their rental term or applying for a rental from home, digital transactions will make the process painless. Users can make instant payments and receive immediate service or upgrades.
As digitalization rapidly penetrates the automotive sector, leading car rental service providers are looking to integrate advanced and easy-to-use payment systems, with customers able to make in-car payments in connected vehicles, to make home payments. This would save valuable time, as customers would no longer have to wait in winding queues at car rental agencies to complete their transactions.
Over the past two years, car rental service providers have also collaborated with digital wallet providers to make the process easier for customers. In December 2021, Indian digital wallet giant Paytm announced that it had expanded its payment services to encompass new categories, including car rental. Users will be able to track and manage payments for all rental services from the same dashboard through the app.
How will e-mobility penetrate the car rental service industry?
As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, the transition to electric vehicles is crucial to this progress. However, the rate at which the adoption of electric vehicles occurs is highly skewed. For example, many public transport networks still rely on internal combustion engine vehicles, which drives environmentally conscious customers towards car rental companies offering electric vehicles.
With the US government’s commitment to make 50% of all electric vehicle sales, the country appears to have significant growth potential. In this context, Hertz’s recent announcement to add 100,000 Tesla Model 3s to its mainstream rental fleet by the end of 2022 is a significant development. Of these, about half are likely to be rented to Uber drivers.
Getting people into EV seats through rental channels is a great way for automakers to ensure consumers try out these new vehicles. Many rental companies have announced the addition of more green vehicles to their fleets. Last year, Europcar launched a new program called Connect to help reshape its group and its new needs and regulations. The company plans to introduce electric, plug-in hybrid or hybrid vehicles to make up a third of its entire fleet by the end of 2023.
Don’t waste time or revenue on outdated rental practices.
The car rental industry is intertwined with the growth of the hospitality and travel and tourism industries. As global mobility gradually recovers in the post-pandemic era, tourist destinations are experiencing a resurgence. Therefore, car rental companies must be ready to respond to this new experience and adapt to changing consumer needs.