As customers look for more contactless experience, operators should ensure they are set up for digital payments and keyless transactions, as well as using remote and app-based technologies. -...

As customers look for more contactless experience, operators should ensure they are set up for digital payments and keyless transactions, as well as using remote and app-based technologies.

The future of mobility is bright, and car rental services are poised to gain even more popularity, with many operators seeking to provide more seamless and customized experiences.

According to Future Market Insights, the global car rental service market is forecast to grow at a 7.2% CAGR until 2031, reaching $268.5 billion USD. Improvements in car rental services is a matter of anticipating and empowering customer needs, and not merely advancements in driving technology. By deploying things new advancements like connected technology, companies can improve personal interactions and fulfil consumers' needs and new expectations.

Consumers Seeking Frictionless Rental Services

Contemporary customers seek to interact with car rental service providers on their own terms. Hence, eliminating long lines, lengthy registration processes, and frequent incoming calls become of paramount importance. Simultaneously, they seek fast response times while resolving issues.

Therefore, car rental platforms are deploying remote and app-based technologies, enabling users to book their vehicle, upload documents for verification, and drop their ride off at their doorstep. Furthermore, customers are looking to exercise control over their rental experience under a heightened sense of confidence and transparency.

Ensuring a seamless and frictionless service undoubtedly widens profit margins and customer retention. Hence, companies are collaborating with key software providers to launch ride-hailing apps with quick booking features. In January 2022, Collinson’s Priority Pass introduced a global partnership with CarTrawler, offering members car rental services through the Priority Pass App. With this partnership, members can book car rental and airport transfer seamlessly.

Optimizing Rentals with Connected Car Solutions

With an emphasis on reducing customer friction, service providers are optimizing rental services by creating a suite of car rental solutions deploying a combination of wireless automation, 5G technology, and automotive IoT. With such advancements, the industry has achieved major milestones, able to create unmanned, self-service auto rental lots which automate the process, ensuring great convenience to customers.

Connected cars have greatly helped consolidate the car rental business, enabling service providers to track fleet usage and manage maintenance. This permits for predictive maintenance and proactive fixing of issues even before a breakdown occurs. With connected car solutions, the car rental industry can use a wireless, app-based system to improve customer experience.

Moreover, connected car solutions have led to improvements in car recovery systems, in case of theft or loss. Since December 2021, CalAmp-subsidiary LoJack España partnered with Bipi to deploy preventative fleet maintenance and stolen vehicle tracking to improve car subscription experiences for customers and allow for more efficient operations management.

The right service provider can help execute connected car strategies, enabling more responsive customer service, more efficient operations, improved vehicle performance, and a greater return on investment. Near-real time data analytics delivered via a 5G network can provide more insight and control, while increasing vehicle use and reducing operational costs.

Why Wait in Long Lines When You Can Go Digital?

With rental services now available remotely, businesses must open up channels for receiving digital payments. Whether the customer is extending their rental duration or raising a rental request from home, digital transactions will make the process painless. Users can make instant payments and receive immediate service or upgrades.

As digitization rapidly penetrates the automotive sector, key car rental service providers are looking to integrate advanced and easy-to-use payment systems, with customers presented with the option of making in-car payments in connected vehicles, to making payments from home. This would help save invaluable time as customers would no longer have to wait in serpentine queues across car rental offices to complete their transactions.

In the past two years, car rental service providers are also collaborating with digital wallet providers to make the process easier for customers. In December 2021, Indian digital wallet giant Paytm announced that it has broadened its payment services to encompass new categories, including car rentals. Users will be able to track and manage payments for all rental services from the same dashboard through the app.

How Will Electric Mobility Penetrate the Car Rental Services Industry?

As the world looks toward a more sustainable future, the transition toward electric vehicles is crucial to this progress. However, the pace at which EV adoption is occurring is highly skewed. For instance, many public transportation networks still rely on internal combustion engine-based vehicles, which pushes environmentally conscious customers to car rental companies offering electric vehicles.

With the U.S government’s commitment to make 50% of all vehicle sales electric, the country appears to enjoy a significant growth scope. In this context, the recent announcement by Hertz to add 100,000 Tesla Model 3s for its consumer rental fleet by the end of 2022 is a significant development. Out of these, around half of them are likely to be leased to Uber drivers.

Putting people into EV seats through rental channels is a great way for automakers to ensure that consumers are trying out these new vehicles. Many rental companies have have announced adding more green vehicles to their fleets. Last year, Europcar released a new program called Connect to help reshape its group and its new needs and regulations. The company is planning to introduce electric, plug-in hybrids, or hybrid vehicles to make up one-third of its entire fleet by the end of 2023.

Final Thoughts

Don't lose time or revenue due to outdated rental practices.

The car rental industry is intricately tied to the growth of the hospitality and travel & tourism industries. As global mobility gradually restores in the post-pandemic era, tourist destinations are experiencing a resurgence. Thereforce, car rental companies must be ready to cater to this new experience and adapt to changing consumer needs.

About the Author: Sneha Varghese is an experienced research professional and senior research consultant at ESOMAR-certified market research and consulting firm Future Market Insights (FMI). FMI is headquartered in Dubai, with offices in the U.S., U.K., and India. MarketNgage is the Market Research Subscription platform from FMI that assists stakeholders in obtaining in-depth research across industries, markets and niche segments. Connect with Sneha on LinkedIn.