Virtual keys, clear signup and pickup instructions, and 24/7 text support are expected by today's car rental customer. Since our world won't go back to pens and papers, it's time to get on board with fully contactless experiences.   -  Photo courtesy of Liigu

Virtual keys, clear signup and pickup instructions, and 24/7 text support are expected by today's car rental customer. Since our world won't go back to pens and papers, it's time to get on board with fully contactless experiences. 

Photo courtesy of Liigu

Looks like the pandemic doesn’t want to let go and will stay with us through 2022. The positive thing is, the car rental industry has had a lot of time to get used to different restrictions and work out ways to protect our employees, customers, and families. Although cautious, we remain curious and hungry for traveling.

With air travel, there's not much choice – we have to go through crowded airports and be surrounded by other people for hours. Private jet access is limited and expensive. But cars? Cars are different. They allow us to choose our destinations and travel mates freely within budgets we can afford. So, if someone is planning to go overseas and rent a car in a vacation destination, how do they do it the most efficiently and safely?

Short answer: by going for contactless car rental. Let’s elaborate on what it means exactly.

Contactless services started with contactless payments. It’s hard to imagine going back to paying with cash only or swiping a card for every Starbucks coffee, isn’t it? Our modern lifestyles require instant solutions. That’s why now we can pay with our smartphones and watches. The convenience experienced by using modern technologies has brought fast and contactless ideas also to other areas of life. Food and online orders are left behind our doors. Self-service pick-up points spring up like mushrooms. We hardly meet couriers face to face. Grandparents are fluent in Zoom. Important life events are happening online. Contactless is our new reality.

Booking a car online is easy. Customers just to go your rental website, select a vehicle, and ta-da! Picking up their car, on the other hand, is more complicated. So, how do you do this contactless?

By selecting a company that has it all figured out. (Psst, they do exist!)

Annemari Muru, the CEO of Liigu, says: “We started Liigu because we saw that the convenience technology enables in most areas of life is much needed in the car usage sphere. We like to call ourselves the coolest app-based mobility service. We see mobility becoming an experience in itself. With us, customers get a technologically advanced experience with an ease of a tap on the screen. While everything is indeed tech-driven, we keep our customer service fully human. We want our customers to feel taken care of – especially since they don't meet anyone in person. Yes, AI is very trendy but we say that EI (emotional intelligence) is our AI. We aim for perfection in tech but once there is a problem to be solved, there is an actual person who will help the customer. No automatic replies or chat-bots whatsoever!”

Contactless car pick-up in real life is actually very easy. For the renter, it feels like having their own car waiting at the airport. All that's needed is a smartphone, which acts as a car key, a tool to verify documents, add extras and pay for the rental. It’s a map and a guide that helps them find the exact parking spot where the car is located. On top of that, it connects them to a customer support team that is available 24/7. The same applies to a drop-off. The app informs about the returning time and place. Again, no meeting anyone, no official handing over the car. They just park it, end the rental, and continue the trip. Safe and fast!

Liigu is just one of the contactless mobility providers, but all similar companies follow the same principles. What makes such businesses successful is a strong belief in IoT and top-notch technology combined with a real human connection. Yes, contactless doesn’t have to mean cold, clinical, and faceless. Behind a good contactless service, there is a group of dedicated people willing to go the extra mile for customers. Before, during, and after the rental.

Is it really worth a try?

“In Liigu, we believe that it absolutely is! So do our customers, who have said that they really appreciate the virtual key, very clear signup and pickup instructions, 24/7 text support, and the general intelligent planning plus attention to detail," Muru says. "They also say that once you try the contactless you never want to go back to the desk and key solution. Our early adopters inspire and encourage us to work on the reliability of the technical solutions and smoothen their journey even further. Our customers have put faith in us and we want to be there for them during all of their next trips. For that, we have recently added new locations in France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. We also hope that with increasing demand, more of our partners are willing to provide contactless rentals to their customers. For example, you can filter out contactless offers on”

Technology with back-up from real people can save us a lot of time, money, and frustration. It can make our lives safer.

Isn’t it the future of traveling we have dreamed of? It certainly is. Even if the pandemic will eventually back up, as a society we won’t go back to paper and pen. The automotive world is changing rapidly, and the contactless approach becomes a new standard in car rentals and other mobility services.

Stay safe; rent contactless!

About the Author: Thomas Chaffraix is the affiliate operation manager for Liigu, an app-based mobility service that offers contactless car rental and car subscriptions.