Avis Introduces New Mobile App Feature
Company choose to launch convenient Smile Rent application in Italy
As the big players in the car rental market grapple with ways to attract new customers, such as adding subscription models and staving off ride-sharing competitors, others are pouring more energy into making apps more dynamic, versatile and user-friendly. Avis is decidedly in the latter group, having announced at April’s International Car Rental Show in Las Vegas that adding more app features not only would boost company efficiency, but improve customer service to widen the prospects of a repeat customer base.
Besides introducing features to help users better manage their accounts, including new split-payment options, Avis has announced its plan to roll out a new mobility brand called Smile Rent, choosing Italy to launch the program. More specifically, the company is initially targeting two airports (Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa) with the feature, hoping to draw tech-savvy and budget-conscious customers.
“This is an exciting step for us as we continue to look at ways to reinvent rental for the present and future needs of different customers and partners,” said Katie Mille, Avis Budget Group’s international director of strategy, who didn’t indicate whether a similar venture would be rolled out in the U.S.
“The launch of Smile Rent represents a further step in the path taken by Avis Budget Group to generate innovative mobility solutions. With this launch we are making the rental experience more simple, transparent and on-demand, allowing customers to manage the entire process with complete freedom and autonomy.”
Travelers who download the Smile Rent app can easily create an account profile with a few clicks using a driver’s license and another piece of ID. All that’s needed is to pick a car, manage the booking details and select a place at the airport to pick it up. Once at the car, which will already have the keys inside, a user simply opens the door by using the app. The feature is designed to be totally based on self-service with no need to approach the rental desk. The customer can also control mobility costs by paying per kilometer during the course of the rental period. Needless to say this app feature may soon have a significant impact on a car rental outlet’s vehicle management software.
While Avis didn’t indicate their reason for trying out Smile Rent at Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa, it should be noted that both airports have facilitated other time-saving measures on the premises. Both of them also use a service called Fast Track, designed to cut down waiting and check-in times at security stops, customs desks and baggage assistance depots.