As travel rebounds, car rentals won’t be far behind
Increase in airport traffic and domestic travel bodes well for a car rental recovery
The car rental industry, like many others around the world, has undergone a massive amount of adversity in the first half of 2020. While things aren’t set to fully rebound pre-COVID quite yet however, there are signs of a gradual climb to recovery.
While many countries are still in the thick of a crisis, many markets are reopening and travel is set to resume this summer. European countries are set to open up a ‘travel bubble’ in July, while Australia and New Zealand have brought up the idea of a bubble as well, with other countries in the APAC region eyeing to be included.
North America meanwhile, is expected to see a travel season in which traveling close to home will be the norm. ‘Domestic travel’ is the phrase of 2020 in the industry, which will presumably see domestic flights and road trips scratch a collective itch to get away.
As summer has crept up on us, several travel trends have begun heading in the right direction, including airport activity, hotel bookings and yes, car rental.
Stand out nations in Europe driving international trend
Several major mainland European countries have seen substantial booking growth in recent weeks, with France (+104%,), Belgium (+141%), Spain (+95%) and several others seeing a massive uptick. Additionally, Europe is seeing an increase in international bookings within the continent. These trends are indicating that consumer confidence is gradually increasing in the prospect of traveling this summer, albeit in a bubble.
A recent report from Rate Gain also revealed that after a steep decline in April, bookings for July, Europe’s peak travel month, indicate signs of recovery. “In the absence of international tourists, recovery for rentals in Europe would not be immediate, however the opening of intra-country travel will help car rentals to stay in demand and charge a premium as per the data available at our end,” says report author Anup Dhiraj.
Domestic recovery evident in North America
On this side of the pond, the U.S. is set to hit a two-month period of a growth in booking behaviors. CarTrawler recently cited a 74% increase in bookings for domestic travel from May to June, indicating that Americans will in fact need transportation this summer for a vacation closer to home. This spring has also seen an increase in bookings at downtown rental locations, as opposed to airports.
Parts of APAC region set for resurgent period
New Zealand announced on June 8 that the country was set to lift all restrictions, apart from their borders remaining closed. However, after months in quarantine, New Zealanders are free to roam about the country and will need transportation to enjoy their ‘staycations’. The travel industry will get a much needed boost in the Australia-New Zealand bubble, once travel between the two countries is permitted to resume.
Every market seemingly will be undergoing their own road to recovery, but the common theme seems to be that there is indeed a recovery period set to take place. Car rental operators will soon have the opportunity to give 2020 a much needed reset.
Bluebird recognizes that with the current climate, expectations have changed as well, and we’re here to meet them. Get in touch with your account manager if you’d like to know more on what’s in the works. If you’d like to contact us just to see what we could offer, we’re just a click away.