After the last few turbulent years, experts are forecasting high demand for the car rental industry in the summer of 2022, with vehicle supply remains limited.
Last year, revenues from car rentals already increased by 21% and a further upswing is expected.
According to a report by Trip.com and the World Travel and Tourist Council, 70% of travelers in major markets such as the U.S., U.K., Spain, and Canada plan to travel more again in 2022 compared to the last five years.
While major car manufacturers are also signaling an easing of supply chain problems, deliveries to rental car operators aren’t expected in time for the summer season. It will therefore be necessary to continue using the existing fleet. On top of this, labor shortages are putting further constraints on operations at rental outlets.
With the 2022 summer season just around the corner, here are five tips to prepare for the summer rush and set you and your car rental business up for long-term profitability and more efficient operations.
1. Do Preventative Maintenance Early
It may seem unprofitable to perform maintenance on a vehicle before it is due, but at second glance, the benefits are obvious; with preventative maintenance scheduled ahead of the summer season, you minimize downtime during the peak season.
In addition, vehicles will be more readily available, and easier to schedule. With larger numbers in at once, you might be able to negotiate better rates for the services needed.
2. Automate Rates & Toll Recapture
Daily rate assessment and changes can be automated, saving time for other critical operations during the busy season. Useful automation tools and if you rent in an area with a lot of tolls, consider a toll recapture service to help save time and optimize revenue.
3. Streamline Operations
By moving to a fully digitized process, rental operators cut down on time-consuming tasks, and increase productivity of their staff. License scanners, e-contracting and digital keys can help speed customers through an increasingly contactless process.
The switch to digital keys enables completely contactless and unrestricted availability for the customer. These digital key solutions are integrated with leading car rental counter systems and also transmit valuable vehicle information such as location, fuel consumption, and mileage.
"Operators tell us that using digital keys and the telematics feed give them a better sense of control,” says Annika Sänger Acevedo, CMO of Liberkee. “It also gives them more flexibility and a more efficient operation."
4. Invest in Your Staff
Training ahead of the busy summer season can help improve revenue and retain staff. Schedule regular meetings to review best practices for upsell and servicing efficiency and work with staff to optimize processes that are breaking under the strain of the season.
Regular check-ins help employees feel more like a team, and studies show that investment in onboarding and training help retain valuable employees.
5. Don’t Just Offer Clients a Service; Offer an Experience
Nowadays, almost all of us never go anywhere without our smartphones. We use them to book appointments, email colleagues, take pictures, and videos to capture moments. We use apps to simplify our lives, and increasingly use our phones to pay.
Taking all this into consideration, it makes perfect sense to integrate an item into the rental process that customers will likely have on them anyway. With Rentall's mobile app, rental businesses can offer customers a completely digital rental process. The mobile app handles the entire process through booking, contract processing for employees and customers, to unlocking and locking the vehicle.
“We’re at a point where we can help shape the future of the rental industry with new technology,” says Naomi Virgo, Director of Global Sales at Rentall. “With such a varied and customizable solution, rental operators can be certain that they’re offering a complete end to end experience customers won’t find anywhere else.”
It's an experience that the customer won’t forget and it shows them that the business is cutting edge. Now, customers have a key reason to book with your business again.
Each tip in itself can help move a car rental company forward, but the more you can cost effectively implement, the better off you will be when the demand picks up this summer. Take the time now to invest in the summer to help make it one of the best in recent memory.