Car Rentals Have Role in Smart Tourism
CES panelists talk about how technology will affect future vacationers
A Tuesday panel at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas may have placed emphasis on the airline industry’s role in generating smart tourism, but car rentals also will play a part in how technology will be in the driver’s seat.
The discussion, headed by APEX Media CEO Joe Leader, summarized the direction being taken by the tourism industry, and how a number of players have grasped the notion and are adopting it into their business plans.
“Where we are going with travel technology is a continuum,” said Leader. “The same will be true from your first search to your booking, trip, hotel, and car rental.”
Those same sentiments were echoed by Jeff Kaelin, Avis Budget Group’s vice-president of the car rental conglomerate’s product development division. He predicted that much of the company’s business in terms of customer service and bookings will be determined by voice technology.
He elaborated even further by hinting that the high-tech app that Avis has spent years on upgrading will be activated by voice. Additionally biometrics involving voice recognition features will likely be part of the company’s security protocols.
With the company reporting it plans to add some 185,000 cars annually to its international fleet, the need for smarter technology to control its vehicular inventory and customer transactions affecting them will be more necessary than ever.
Already other biometrics like facial recognition is helping companies perform better in the customer service department, added Leader.
Kiwi.com CEO Olivier Dlougy said that increased passenger mobility will see more use of such transportation modes as airlines and car rentals. According to the connectivity company co-founder, transportation will also be viewed as a more casual experience than ever before, encouraging passengers to do more work and educate themselves online while in transit.
“Thanks to Wi-Fi coverage on board, these travelers won’t be wasting their time,” he said.
Also bestowing the benefits of connectivity is Bluebird Auto Rental Systems, which will soon be attending the 2020 NADA Expo in February and the International Car Rental Show in March. The company will be promoting its latest app, RentWorks Mobile as well as recently added features thanks to partnerships it’s struck over the past year.
A tandem between Zubie and Bluebird has resulted in the implementation of features such as GPS/geo-fence capabilities that will not only improve fleet visibility and utilization, but report more accurate real-time fuel and odometer readings.
Another feather in the Bluebird cap also being promoted is its distribution deal struck with the CRX Group, which will provide the company’s clients access to a number of CRX opportunities like accepting bookings from such travel partners as Kayak and SkyScanner.