Car Rental Q&A: What are the Biggest Challenges for Rental Operators and the Industry?

For this issue’s car rental Q&A, we asked operators and vendors at the International Car Rental Show about the biggest challenges for them and the rental car industry in general. 

James Dalglish, GO Rentals, New Zealand:

In New Zealand, we are currently facing the challenge of new competitors. Several new independent car rental companies are entering the market.

There has also been a challenge with overseas travelers getting into accidents in rental cars on New Zealand roads. Many tourists are not familiar with driving on the other side of the road of what they are used to and a lot of the roads are narrow and windy. Rental car companies are providing more training for customers before they take out the rental vehicles.

Jaime Rodriquez, Rhodium Car Rental, Malaga, Spain:

A challenge for my company has been brand awareness. Our Rhodium Car Rental brand is not known in the Americas. We are trying to market and get the name out there.

Another challenge is transparency with customers. We need to educate customers on what’s included in the price of the car rental and what will cost extra. A lot of customers don’t know the final price when going to the counter.

Jason Manelli, International Franchise Systems:

The last few months have been challenging with the oversupply issue and lower rates. But we are starting to see signs of improvement.

There is more competition with Uber and on-demand transportation services. People still want to rent cars, but we need to be more adaptable and less location-centered.

Guy Angelo, of Guy’s Car Rental in St. Lucia, Caribbean:

We live in a small country and exposure for independent car rental companies is difficult. We signed up with Fox Rent A Car as an affiliate for international exposure. It has helped us keep up with industry trends.

Jeff Schneider, Sixt franchise, Santa Rosa, Calif:

Our challenge in the last few months is buying cars right. We have loaded up on smart cars since there aren’t many mini cars in the local rental market.

Sam Hatahet, Globe Car Rental, Montreal:

There is nervousness in the rental market about confronting mobility. Small operators don’t know how to fit in. They don’t have a lot of tech background; technology changes a lot.

Globe hired project managers with tech background. We are currently working on updated kiosks for our rental locations.

Chris Seymour, Carcloud:

Many car rental companies are afraid to implement the on-demand model because they think they have to develop things from scratch.

Car rental companies are paying someone to make their websites better, but they don’t have control over the websites. This is even more important with an on-demand model.

Alejandro Muniz, Economy Rent A Car:

There is a challenge in transparency and improving customer service across different models and in different countries.

We need to work with brokers and travel agencies and our websites to include more information. Keeping the customer informed will help provide better customer service. A bad experience at one car rental company affects the brokers and OTAs and other rental companies.

Nima Mobasser, State Van Rental, Los Angeles:

Our rates have been off from the end of last year through the beginning of this year. It could be the first quarter or the election. We didn’t have the normal seasonality. It’s hard to plan when rates haven’t been what I expected.

Mark MacArthur, Eastern Fleet Services:

One challenge has been the ride-hailing services of Uber and Lyft. Car rental companies know it will take away some potential customers but aren’t sure how it will ultimately affect the rental market.

Nick Mariano, Priceless Rent A Car, Utica, N.Y.:

Laws for rental companies in New York make my business very challenging. The law adds 6% onto rentals in New York. The state also regulates what we can charge for CDW: $12 per day is the most you can charge for a $30,000 new car.

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