How A High-Tech Car Rental Industry Will Benefit Consumers
Connectivity and app options add to efficiency and customer convenience
All that connectivity, artificial intelligence elements, mobility options and every other high-tech component that’s wormed its way into the car rental industry will certainly benefit all the players involved. Greater efficiency, lower operational costs and greater competitive capacity are merely some of the benefits of all that information technology wizardry. At the same time, those same companies are quick to remind everyone that consumers will have the most to gain.
That’s the crux of what Jeff Kaelin, vice-president at Avis, pointed out to Auto Remarketing. “We use that integrated with the connected car technology to enhance the rental experience,” he said. “From there, we really have put connected cars at the center of digitizing our business.”
That connectivity and integration that Kaelin shared with insiders at the International Car Rental Show earlier this year in Las Vegas has to do with all the high tech efforts Avis has been working on of late. Those include the flexibility to determine vehicle drop-off locations and splitting payment options as well as utilizing connectivity technology to determine the status of its fleet of roughly 100,000 vehicles already wired to the hilt.
Enterprise hasn’t made much noise regarding its technology developments save for the introduction of its subscription program, which allows users to pick a subscription program that fits their budget as well as an option to swap out vehicles up to four times a month. The company recently hooked up with Coolfire Solutions to develop a system that enables transactions to take place regardless of location.
Its vice-president, Ryan Johnson said that the company has also launched a connectivity pilot program, which if successful could see roughly 200,000 vehicles connected to its network. So far, the devil is in the details.
“To get the whole fleet connected, you’re talking about manufacturers all over the world, different makes and models, etc., but just the early stages of piloting hundreds of vehicles moving toward a couple hundred thousand vehicles meshed across the millions of transactions we have,” said Johnson.
Not to be outdone, Hertz has added high-tech terminals at select airports to speed up car rental transactions. The company also introduced an app feature that offers monthly subscriptions and a series of bonus incentives from rewards to greater reservation access. With the emerging technology in the industry, car rental business software will be following suit.
All of which could contribute to greater speed, more options and greater focus on the needs of consumers. But, even if all those technological amenities improve company bottom lines, what are the chances of passing all those savings to the consumer in the form of lower rates? We’ll just have to wait and see.
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