Getaround recently initiated Power Host, a program designed to support hosts with fleets of two or more vehicles.
The Power Host program features dedicated account managers to onboard and manage hosts, data insights such as demand heat maps to help hosts optimize their businesses, a directory of parking spots reserved specifically for Getaround hosts, and 24/7 customer support for both hosts and guests.
Each trip comes with a $1 million insurance policy. Hosts use Getaround Connect technology, a proprietary platform that books vehicles and unlocks them through the Getaround app and tracks their locations.
Getaround, which operates in over 800 cities globally, reports it has seen nearly 80% growth in its geographic footprint over the past year and has launched in 26 new cities in the first quarter alone. Power Host fleet sizes have grown too, from an average of eight cars last year to 12 cars this year.
Auto Rental News sat down with Pat Notti, VP of Getaround’s Marketplace and Operations, to answer questions on program.
- ARN: What is the goal of the Power Host Program?
PN: The Power Host program provides support to hosts that have existed on the platform for many years. Our goal is to continue to support those power hosts we've had over the years and start enabling new entrepreneurs to join the platform.
- Where are you seeing traction in terms of the new types of Power Hosts coming onboard?
From a geographical perspective, it's across the whole country. From a business perspective, it’s anyone from a small-time entrepreneur who's starting with a fleet of as few as two or three cars to larger businesses with pre-existing fleets, where they’re taking advantage of new revenue stream for their businesses.
- Can you share more about the established businesses, are they in rental, or perhaps car dealers?
We think of those businesses the same as we do our entrepreneurs. A lot of those cars (of the larger business hosts) are also unused. We provide an opportunity for them leverage the assets they already have and make an additional revenue stream on top of their existing businesses.
- Would that profile run the gamut from, say, a small guy with a used car sales license to an auto rental company that has hung a shingle locally?
We're open to all shapes and sizes. Anyone who is new to the carsharing business to folks who are experienced in this space. The way we look at it is if you have a single car, or you have many cars going unused, we have a platform to make you money.
- Do the entrepreneurs then make up the majority of the hosts at this point, percentagewise?
The majority of our hosts still fit into what we call our traditional host — the person that joined the platform because they had a car in their driveway — and they were looking to make little extra money on the side. But when they have success, we’re seeing them take on more cars.
- The average fleet size of Power Hosts has grown from eight to 12?
Yes. We've seen growth in the Power Host community even in a year when Covid was constraining a lot of businesses. We saw them continue growing their fleets.
- How has Covid shaped the Getaround opportunity?
We're a contactless carsharing operation; we install devices in our cars that lets the renter unlock the car with their phone. They never actually have to go through a key handoff. This has been instrumental during Covid, when there’s been more apprehension around using transportation options that force you to engage with more people. The car is yours, you're the only one in it.
- One of the challenges for car rental when it comes to entering the carsharing market is figuring out how and where to park the vehicles so renters have access to them. How does Getaround manage that?
We invested a lot in this area from a business perspective. First and foremost, every power host gets a fleet business manager, who helps them understand the dynamics of the city they operate in. They help find the best places to put cars, and how to optimize utilization of the fleet.
We have a whole team dedicated to establishing partnerships with both real estate and public space providers. We're getting parking locations in places that the power hosts wouldn't be able to get on their own. And we’re providing a way for our hosts to park cars in locations where we know there's pre-existing demand. The third point is that we’re sharing data that indicates our demand hotspots, so hosts can place their cars where we know they'll get rented the most.
- Where should power hosts concentrate their efforts to minimize costs — depreciation, insurance, parking, damage claims?
Our most successful power hosts are thinking about and optimizing all the things that you just said. In addition to helping them find good parking spots, our partnerships help get our hosts favorable deals.
Our successful hosts are constantly thinking about depreciation and managing the value of the asset. If they’re ready to sell a vehicle to maximize depreciation, we help them think about how to replace that vehicle and with what make or model that will benefit them. If they depreciate appropriately, they can scale their business with the earnings they make from the resale of the car.
Regarding the ancillary costs they're taking on to run their business, our successful hosts are hustlers. They’re looking to be their own boss and take on the responsibility of managing the fleet. There's a tremendous savings when you're able to manage the business on a local level, between making deals with their local auto body shops and moving cars around themselves.
- How are hosts managing this environment of severe vehicle supply constraints?
There's two things that are going on: When a lot of new hosts join the platform for the first time and start their fleet, it's usually off of cars they already have in their possession, so it’s not a block to start the business. The second thing, folks that might be normally considering buying a car are now looking at Getaround as a solution to replace that spend. Hosts are seeing this as a big opportunity to take advantage of higher demand. There's an opportunity to make a lot more money on Getaround right now
- Let’s talk about insurance: The market has gone through a correction in the last two years with heavier losses. How are you addressing that?
Our insurance covers for every trip for our hosts up to a million dollars. And that’s the same structure we've been using for many years. We are continuing to insure the experience in the same way that we have historically. We are always optimizing our insurance and thinking about ways to improve the experience for both our hosts and our guests.
- Can I ask if the policy has or hasn’t changed in terms of coverage limits or deductibles? I understand certain competitors have.
We're always optimizing the way our business operates to meet both the Getaround hosts and the guests. There's sometimes variations of deductibles or things along those lines. We’re still bringing the same level of coverage to our guests that we always have. We have a program that allows guests to further protect themselves by changing the level of deductible they pay based upon the protection plan they choose.
- Is the guest’s insurance policy primary? And what is the host’s obligation?
The insurance component for the host is whatever the state requires for the car to be legally registered. While a guest is on a Getaround trip, that trip is covered by the Getaround insurance policy.
- How do you mitigate host turnover?
We understand that our traditional host with a car parked in their driveway is looking to make a little income on the side and may have other demands that dictate whether Getaround works for them. They might move or they get a new job, for instance.
With the power hosts, we’re seeing quite the opposite, we see a high level of retention and they’re continuing to grow their fleets. We’re seeing hosts put cars on the platform for many years. We do understand that taking cars off the platform is a part of being a host; vehicle turn is a normal part of the business. And that's where we come in to help them understand when they need to sell the car when it makes sense for the business.
- Last question, what are the key factors for power host success on Getaround?
First, it’s the mindset that you're your own boss and coming in with that entrepreneurial focus and think of Getaround as their own carsharing business, if they have one car or more. They start off the strongest and end up doing very well. The next is actively managing the fleet. This business is incredibly local. The better you manage your fleet you’ll see more repeat rentals and the more your revenue will grow. The third piece is that hunger to grow — they’re looking for new opportunities to grow their fleet or new areas of town with more demand to put more cars. Successful hosts aren’t just focused on starting their carsharing business, they’re scaling it.
- Okay, this is the last question: Isn’t it really about managing depreciation?
Getaround provides a compelling opportunity when thinking about depreciation down to the mile in comparison to other platforms. We see our hosts getting trips for more local use, so guests aren’t putting as many miles per trip and hosts earn a higher revenue per mile. They're making just as much money if not more than some other platforms and having the cars driven a lot less. And that slows the depreciation curve. Our most sophisticated hosts really understand this and are choosing Getaround over other platforms because of how well we're able to manage that depreciation curve when it comes to earnings per mile.
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