Rental companies turning to apps to stay competitive with ride-sharers
With competition getting more frenetic than ever as car rentals take on the encroaching ride-sharing industry, the handiest artillery being utilized at the moment is the smartphone app. It’s a savvy move among the biggest rental firms out there, as apps are being upgraded to boost efficiency costs and customer service. For now, it gives the industry a leg up on ride-sharing leaders like Lyft and Uber, who have their own internal issues with labor strife as well as less-than-glowing customer service reviews.
The latest development on the app front has been Hertz’s announcement early in June that it would be experimenting with a new program called Hertz My Car, a car subscription program that’s already taking place in Atlanta and Austin, Texas. The program is being introduced in two tiers, one that’s a $999 monthly entry level initiative for sedans and regular size SUVs and trucks, and the other aimed at a more luxury market with higher-end vehicles available for a monthly fee of $1,399.
Included in each package are a number of amenities such as limited liability protection, roadside assistance, vehicle maintenance and vehicle damage protection. Subscribers also have the option to swap out vehicles up to twice a month.
Hertz My Car follows on the heels of a previous announcement that the car rental made about adding facial and biometric recognition technology to its apps. The feature, made possible through a joint venture with biometric innovation company CLEAR, is designed to handle bookings when customers access their apps with either showing their face on their smartphone screen or providing a thumbprint on the display window. Designed to speed up service and boost security, the app is not only designed for more efficient booking procedures but will apparently allow users to manage their car rental accounts in a much easier fashion.
Developments in Hertz apps also have been announced in the wake of Enterprise’s unveiling of a new car subscription program in May that was being tested in Minnesota, Missouri and Nevada. While the company didn’t announce any prices for its Subscribe With Enterprise program, users will be able to choose from among 20 different fleet models and can swap vehicles up to four times a month.
Not to be outdone, Avis introduced earlier in June a new Split My Bill feature that will allow its clientele to divide rental payments in a variety of ways from cash to debit to credit. Users can also manage payments according to rental days and the number of features added onto the bill from Sirius XM Radio to roadside assistance.
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