Time inevitably changes everything and the car rental business is no different. This month, we’ll discuss some of the trends that are impacting not only our industry – but you as the consumer. Let’s jump right in!
Mobile bookings are exploding
In 2013, over 52% of respondents booked (not just researched) their travel on a mobile device according to JiWire. Online sites like Expedia and Hotwire have grown 70% in just the last year alone. On the whole, mobile traffic has already begun to outpace it’s older desktop cousin.
While that’s created some logistical issues for folks on our side of the rental business, it’s been great for the consumer who now can enjoy shorter booking windows and worry less about long term planning.
Prepaid is the new thing
One of the biggest issues with reservations in the past is the constant no-show rate that rental companies have had to deal with. Now with new prepaid reservations, both rental companies and consumers are winning. For a 10% discount, companies can now guarantee they’ll get a rental while consumers are able to save a little money. While there has been some hand-wringing in recent years about how to facilitate this kind of a change, it’s certainly on it’s way to becoming more of an industry ‘norm’ than ever before.
Increased competition from smaller, more agile rental companies
One dirty little secret in the car rental world is that most of the companies you see in airports are actually all owned by two or three bigger companies. Do business with one, you’re really doing business with all of them. Smaller, local players – while off-lot and off-site – are helping significantly by helping to keep costs down. Yes, you’ll have to do a little more to get to their lots, but they also run staggering deals that lap some of the bigger corporate entities. So long as you’re willing to do some research, you can save huge dollars and get better service to boot.