As you might have noticed by now, the future didn’t bring us flying cars. The changes the future has brought our way are less apparent but equally substantial. This especially holds true when it comes to the car rental industry, where a myriad of small changes is making the whole industry evolve and change in significant ways.
Here are some ways tech has already changed the car rental industry’s landscape, along with some reasonable predictions of the upcoming trends.
It’s all about the users
Like many other industries, rent-a-car is shifting its focus to the everyday user, using technology and human resources to meet and anticipate their needs.
What customers want is a faster rental with less friction and more choices. Therefore, car rental companies focus on adding small but essential features to their apps, and reservation processes are meant to streamline and facilitate the process.
What do people renting a car want?
Both rent-a-car drivers and the final customers want the same thing – a more effective way to do business, with less waiting in lines, less paperwork, and dealing with the company on their terms.
Simultaneously, users want to be able to quickly resolve any problem they encounter, while reducing the interaction between them and the rental company to a minimum.
The customers demand faster rental and more choices, plain and simple.
Keeping up with the trends
Reports show that by 2022, the car rental industry will be worth over $124.56 billion. If you want to get a piece of that profit, you’ll have to change not only the way you do business but also the way you see it.
With Uber, Lyft, and similar services at their disposal, people have changed how they perceive cars. They are no longer seen as a property, but rather as a service. From a business point of view, this means that people have different expectations of car rental services.
The past few years have changed the very idea of ownership. Now, it’s all about mobility and flexibility. This fact becomes especially apparent if we observe the younger part of the user base.
As with other app-based technology, forty percent of users under age 30 have used an app to upgrade their vehicle or select their exact vehicle after making a reservation.
The features mentioned before – i.e., the ease of use and the generally more streamlined process of renting a car – are especially crucial in the long run because of their higher usage and interest among younger renters.
Specialized rent-a-car search and booking engines
These days, finding a car to rent online is easier than ever before because this type of search is usually seamlessly integrated into travel and tourism bookings or hospitality reservations.
When users search for car rentals online, booking engines can offer highly targeted and specific offers on hotel suites, tours in the location of booking, and other travel-related discounts and promotions to create an entire travel experience. This type of approach is often referred to as “in-destination experience.”
The impact of ride-sharing platforms
Another huge driver of tech-inspired transformation within the industry is the effect of the so-called “ride-hailing economy.”
While at first glance, it might seem that these ride-sharing apps bring the end of the car rental economy as we know it, that might not be such a bad thing. After all, Uber and similar applications are thriving because they have recognized the users’ need for budget-friendly cars that are available on demand.
To keep up with them, consider investing in a fleet of small, reliable, cheap cars that would work as the competition.
Let AI take care of your car insurance
Artificial intelligence is slowly becoming a regular part of our lives. One of the areas where it shines is the tasks that include loads of paperwork and complicated flowcharts and procedures. AI can handle almost any labor-intensive, costly, time-consuming task and subject to inaccuracies and delays better than any human could. Therefore, AI especially thrives when it comes to meeting your car insurance needs.
The speed and efficiency with which AI can process insurance claims boost the overall customer experience and claims resolution while lowering operational costs.
Mobile hotspots and digital assistants
While most of us have more than enough data on our cellphone plans, everybody loves free stuff. That is why all the customers, and the younger ones, in particular, are more likely to choose a ride that comes with its mobile hotspots.
Around fifteen percent of people tend to travel solely for business purposes, so they’ll be another group of people who will benefit significantly from having Internet access in the car.
When you equip your car with its private Internet connection, why not use a digital assistant like Amazon Alexa to keep your passengers – particularly toddlers and young kids – entertained during a long car ride.
I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveler, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.