Driving Innovation: Transforming the Airport Car Rental Industry with Aviation Data

The history of the car rental industry intertwines deeply with the evolution of transportation. It began in 1932 when Hertz pioneered the first airport car rental franchise at Chicago's Midway Airport. Since then, airport car rentals have become a cornerstone of the travel ecosystem, catering to a range of customers with varying preferences and needs.

The global airport car rental service market will only continue to transform and is expected to see steady growth in the coming years, driven by a combination of continuous technological advancements, growing environmental awareness, and the rising need for streamlined operations.

As technology continues to shape the industry, the integration of aviation data is a game-changer that will accelerate this growth by empowering industry-leading companies to make more strategic decisions, elevate customer experiences, and drive future innovation.

Strategic and Operational Decision-Making

Aviation data paves the way for organizations across the travel ecosystem to make more strategic decisions that can positively impact their bottom lines, and the airport car rental market is no exception.

Leading car rental companies access OAG data through its cloud-enabled Direct Platform to optimize inventory management by analyzing both historical and forward-looking flight schedules to understand airline supply per airport hub. Using passenger booking data it is possible to view the flight schedules against historical load data to project future load factors. Armed with this data, comparisons can be made against car rental capture rates to better understand how many cars to allocate to any given airport location and how many cars to rent out per time frame.

OAG’s scheduling and traffic data sets can also be used to analyze and monitor capacity for efficient resource management and optimal inventory availability at each car rental station. By analyzing historical and flight schedules changes, rental car operators can adjust prices in response to changing demand dynamics and maximize revenue, while providing competitive rates for their customers.

OAG’s Schedules Data plays a critical role supporting car rental companies in demand forecasting, revenue generation, and inventory optimization activities.

These data sets play an equally critical role in validating customer flights at the time of booking a car, ensuring the details are correct and that the right flights are tracked so cars can be suitably supplied in time.

By reviewing flight information, companies can more intelligently allocate cars. If a flight is changed or arrives earlier or later than expected, rental providers can assign a car when the flight arrives, regardless of when the time is they were due to land, improving inventory optimization as well as customer experience.

Elevating Customer Experiences

Improving inventory management and fleet optimization is a significant benefit for car rental companies. For consumers, data supported operations can create more personalized options and ensure minimal delays or disruptions during their rental experience. Airport car rental companies are using aviation data insights to craft personalized solutions that meet the unique needs of individual customers, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience from reservation to drop-off.

By receiving a flight status data feed, airport car rental companies can anticipate potential disruptions or delays and cancellations to a customer’s scheduled flight. In doing so, they can proactively reach out to customers with alternative arrangements or accommodations to their car rentals, minimizing inconvenience. This not only improves the customer’s side of the rental benefits, but allows rental companies to better allocate employee time and resources in the event of a flight delay or disruption.

Additionally, companies use Passenger Booking data not only for operational purposes (as mentioned above), but also to gain a deeper understanding of customer demographics such as booking class, point of origin and final destinations so it can tailor offerings and pricing per customer demand.

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Innovation & Trends

Technology continues to push airport car rental companies to innovate and collaborate to meet customer needs. Through ride-sharing, partnerships, a drive for eco-friendly practices, and more... The next evolution of the industry is taking shape.

1. Ride Sharing

The rise of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft has revolutionized the transportation landscape, offering customers the convenience of on-demand rides with just a few taps on their smartphones. These services provide flexible alternatives to traditional car rentals by offering access to multiple modes of transportation through a single Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform.

While ride sharing can pose challenges to traditional car rental models, they also present opportunities for innovation and adaptation. Airport car rental companies are exploring new rental models, such as their own car sharing models, to remain competitive. Or, instead of going off on their own, many car rental companies are forming partnerships with ride-hailing and car-sharing services to broaden their service offerings.

2. Partnerships & Competition

Transportation companies are partnering up to enhance their services and cater to consumer preferences with the goal of cross-brand loyalty.

For example, BMW partnered with Uber to offer Uber users the opportunity to experience new BMW models through on-demand test drives and/or ride experiences.

Other companies are vying to compete with more established brands. Turo provides location-based transparency on available vehicles, enabling direct rentals from individual owners. Kyte offers doorstep delivery of rental cars, while Lynk & Co offers a flexible subscription model.

3. Sustainability

Car rental companies have a unique opportunity to drive sustainability in the transportation sector by adopting eco-friendly practices. They are expanding their fleets to include more electric and hybrid vehicles and exploring alternative fuel options like hydrogen. One of the key driving forces behind this transformation is the increasing popularity of electric vehicles. With governments setting ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and enhance air quality, the demand for EVs is projected to surge in the coming years.

As one example, Hertz is offering the largest electric vehicle (EV) rental fleets in North America with EVs comprising more than 20 percent of its global fleet. Customers can choose a greener way to travel with models from Polestar, Telsa and more.

The airport car rental industry is undergoing its biggest transformation yet, fueled by aviation data, advanced technology and shifting consumer preferences. Collaborations, greener solutions, and the rise of alternative mobility options will further impact the future of airport car rental services, offering enhanced convenience, flexibility, and sustainability for travelers every day.


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