Realities of Travel Landscape and Car Rental

To illustrate the challenge we are facing in 2020 and may still face in 2021, we need to look in the mirror and address the harsh macro trends and COVID impact areas that happened. I’m sharing these stats not to further depress you but to add some context to your story when we climb out of the current situation that we find ourselves in. This is the reality of what we are facing. These are the stats that everyone in your organization have to be aware of. I share them because they also speak to the size of the travel world and its potential to come back because it is such a permanent fixture in the global economy.  

  • Car Rental – Fleets cut by 40-70%, utilizations 50-70%
  • Hotels – Major brands are down by 65% vs 2019 Highs
  • Airlines – Global Airline Traffic Down by 65%
  • International Inbound Travelers Missing = 79.6 M
  • Travel industry directly accounts for 7.1% of America’s private employment
  • 15.7 M American jobs were supported by travel in 2018
  • $1 M in travel revenue directly produces eight jobs with the industry
  • 1 in 10 jobs in the U.S. depend on the travel industry
  • Global travel job loss estimated at 100 M, 8.2 M in North America

Why to Think Positive

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel and believe we are seeing some glimmers of hope. Regardless of what type of operation you run here are some positive trends and views that are emerging.

  • The market playing field has leveled
  • Majority of reductions in staff took place
  • New operating model and working teams in place
  • Customers are evolving to accept new COVID measures
  • Customer wants are similar in every travel sector – safety & convenience
  • Customers are changing renting patterns and still need mobility providers

I believe the most positive aspect is that many operators already took the necessary precautions needed and made ops changes in staffing and fleet and that the hardest part is behind us. We are seeing many good operators looking at 12/31/20 as a time to reset and make the moves for an effective 2021 and beyond. 

What This Means For Your Team

Your leadership and the positive sphere of influence that you have for your team matters. Frontline workers in any profession at this moment are stressed and look to their local leadership for inspiration.  In addition to worrying about their health and getting infected by COVID many frontline associates are facing tough financial situations because of the pandemic. According the BLMS, 80% of hourly workers had less than $500 saved for emergencies, and 52% had $0 saved because of the pandemic. The financial concerns are only compounded when you add a childcare component into this equation. Parents with children under 18 comprise almost 1/3 of the U.S. workforce. I share these stats with you because in many cases the team you may be leading may have some heavy items going on at home. To be a positive influence on your team remember this:

  • Your Team’s Emotions Are Running High
  • Your Team’s Role Versatility Matters
  • Now More Than Ever Rapport Matters

What This Means For Your Future Team

So where are we at when we come out of this and what will the labor situation be for your operation? Here are some of the challenges we will all face when we come out of this; a new war for talent will always come around and it will be a challenge to find great associates, your new workforce will want flexibility, new forms of workforce recognition will be important, and as a hiring manager you will have to develop a compelling recruitment story of “I was there…” this is how we came out of it.   

What To Ask Yourself

Now is the time to take a moment to reflect on how this year has impacted you and those around you personally and professionally. The following questions we left with the audience during our session. We invite you to listen to the link below and take the time to reflect on these.

  • Your Team: “Your Sphere of Influence…” – Do I know them as their inner circle, friends and family knows me? What have I done for their sphere?  
  • Your Team: “Trip Advisor Yourself…” – What would I write about my last five rentals and the impression I make?
  • Your Team: “Pick a Product…” - Which product do I know like an expert and can I message it in 10 seconds or less?”
  • You: “Your Perspective…” – “Who has it better, who has it worse?”
  • Talent: “I was there story…” – Develop your message of leadership lessons learned and how you weathered the storm with the industry.

How we make people feel during tough times is what really matters. In the coming weeks try to spend a few extra minutes to listen to their concerns, provide resources for them to be safe, send an extra email or text to check in on them, recognize someone for providing you a new perspective, or simply thank someone. Let’s do our best to embrace kindness and calm instead of panic.


About Ken Stellon & FPG

Ken Stellon is a Partner & EVP with FPG. His firm helps organizations create best in class service-based sales cultures. Through FPG’s IN-Gauge software platform, digital delivery and on-site coaching solutions Ken and his team positively impact ancillary revenue, CSI, call center conversion, and customer retention. FPG’s delivers their programs to or have worked with the following leading brands; Europcar, SHARE NOW, Nissan, Hertz, SIXT, Avis Budget Group, Marriott, Hilton, Jet2, Virgin, Zurich and may more. To learn more about FPG please visit them at or contact Ken at