Consolidated Car Rental Facilities At Airports Proving To Be A Positive Trend
Less congestion, faster bookings make for a more convenient experience
An interesting thing is happening to passengers on the way from the arrival gate. It’s turning out that your typical airport is paying extra attention to car rental companies either by expanding the space used by those businesses or creating a brand new terminal for them. In the case of the latter, the recent opening of a $340 million car rental terminal in Hawaii as well as a groundbreaking ceremony in Los Angeles for the Consolidated Rental Car facility (ConRAC for short), the largest of its kind in the world, is anecdotal evidence that the industry is more vital than ever.
Now the airport authority in Palm Springs is landing into the fray with news that the terminal is building a facility exclusive to the car rental industry as well. Estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $30 million, the airport decided to add the structure in the wake of car rental transactions that have jumped by 16 percent since 2014.
Meanwhile, several airports across the U.S. are doing what they can to accommodate the car rental industry by moving them closer to the gates, an approach taken in places like Nashville, Orlando and San Antonio. Others are improving the flow of traffic from the tarmac to the counter via automated trains at terminals in Atlanta, San Francisco and Tampa.
Plenty of reasons abound for this trend, other than the obvious that car rental companies are a vital revenue stream to airports in that they pay rent for the space they occupy. In turn, booking vehicles for airport passengers is estimated to be responsible for at least 95 percent of car rental business.
But it’s also evident that the car rental industry isn’t going away anytime soon, given the record profits recently reported by Enterprise and the encouraging financial reports released by such competitors as Avis and Budget. And despite any inroads made by car-sharing rivals, the car industry is predicted to grow by more than seven percent over the next five years.
That’s a lot of clients. And to airports, that’s a lot of foot traffic that contributes to a great deal of pedestrian congestion in other terminals, which creates a lot of waiting, pushing through bodies and a great deal of frustration searching for a car rental company of choice. Diverting all those people to a separate building or even using an automated train service certainly cuts down on that congestion and makes it faster for passengers to get their rental.
And placing all the rental companies under one roof is great business for all involved, especially the independent competitors who would otherwise have been relegated to a more distant office in the airport complex. Now with signage as visible as the larger players, they at least have a better chance at attracting the more impulsive customer. Of course, running a rental operation with that volume would require the proper vehicle rental software.
But regardless of company size or financial position, relocating all the rivals to a common area not only improves booking times, cuts down on congestion and makes the airport revenue stream more competitive, results in a win-win for all involved.