This aerial view shows the construction of the consolidated car rental facility at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport as of Jan. 15, 2015.
The popularity of consolidated rental car facilities (conracs) has not abated. Eight projects are under construction today, with completion dates in 2015 and early 2016. Another 19 are in the planning and design stages. But have the design and implementation of conracs changed? Conrac Solutions, one of the few players in conrac facility and fueling management, is pioneering a few new trends.
One trend is allowing a third party — instead of the airport or the car rental companies — to run the facilities once the conrac is completed. Conrac Solutions is currently running the facilities in Seattle, Chicago Midway, San Francisco and Anchorage, Alaska, and will soon add San Diego and Austin, Texas, making it the only company that spans the entire life of the conrac.
The company also operates some conrac facilities that were developed by other companies. Conrac Solutions became a separate entity from its conrac development arm, Pfeffer Development, in 2012 in order to specifically manage conracs after completion.
Although reluctant at first, airports and car rental companies are realizing the pros of outsourcing conrac management. “It’s good for the airport because they know a third-party professional management company will take care of their asset and it’s one less headache for them,” said Matthew Fairbanks, president, Conrac Solutions. “On the rental car company side, we are able to more effectively meet their needs and work with them more directly than the airport would.”
Desiree Pfeffer, CEO of Conrac Solutions, points out that facility management isn’t the only benefit of choosing a third-party operator; it’s also about finding and eliminating inefficiencies. “We minimize downtime and use of resources and look at the level of care to the building. This is what sets us apart from the usual facility managers,” said Pfeffer.
When it comes to waste management, Conrac Solutions has refined its process of trash removal from rental cars by providing a mobile dumpster to reduce the amount of trips back and forth to the dumpster. At the Seattle facility, daily site trash removal was lessened from an estimated 60 man hours per day to just five man hours per day.
The use of technology has identified other inefficiencies, including using data from its car washes to calculate how much water is used and at what cost.
With every new conrac project comes more efficiency from the development side. Architects and engineers are navigating the best ways to stack QTA (quick-turnaround) functions on top of one another in a garage to maximize space and minimize environmental footprint.
Although the planning and design process is still a time-intensive one, the approval from corporate owners and operators is speeding up.
“It used to be that corporate owners would drag their feet on signing onto a conrac, but now they understand what conracs are and also see private developers as an ally,” said Mark Pfeffer, CEO of Pfeffer Development.