Drivers Willing to Give Up Ownership for Convenient Alternatives
Avis report says convenience key to prosperous car rental future
If the wheels of the car rental industry are to keep turning in a transportation and travel economy that’s changing more rapidly than ever, the best strategy is to make things as convenient as possible for the consumer. That’s the central message of a 50-page report recently released by the Avis Budget Group.
“Those who want to succeed in the brave new world of mobility will have to move quickly and change their approaches to suit new markets and new consumer needs,” stated the report, titled The Road Ahead. “Even though they expect a different future, when it comes to mobility, consumers will still want what they’ve always wanted – convenience at a reasonable price.”
Avis was especially encouraged by one survey finding that revealed 54 percent of respondents would willingly give up their vehicle if alternatives were far more convenient. That’s a radical response given that 75 percent of the same group said they owned a vehicle, with 80 percent believing that car ownership is still very important.
But a changing urban profile will figure prominently in reduced vehicle ownership. According to the United Nations, 54 percent of the world’s population currently live in cities, a figure expected to surpass 65 percent by 2050. It’s in those urban areas where car ownership won’t be as vital, given the availability of alternative modes and the relatively short destination distances in the city as opposed to more rural areas.
Helping the cause will be smart city initiatives, especially those geared towards reducing climate change and greater use of technology to further reduce the need to own a vehicle. That same technology being used by car rentals, for example, will be geared towards greater consumer options at reduced rates thanks to competition in the industry. Meanwhile, costs of car ownership will still be relatively more expensive, given the expenses associated with insurance, registration, fuel and maintenance.
The Avis report stresses that the keys to bolstering that convenience will involve a reinvention of the whole rental experience that makes it more attractive for new and repeat customers, greater digitization of the company to increase efficiency and developing new business models to address the demands of future generations.
“We are far more interested in the near future and what happens next,” said Keith Rankin, the international CEO of the Avis Budget Group in the study. “We believe that we are very close to a tipping point where vast changes in mobility will take place in a comparatively short space of time.”