CarTrawler’s annual Winter Conference recently took place in Powerscourt Hotel. The conference, which brings together over 100 of the worlds’ top car rental providers, is a staple event in the car rental industry. A variety of topical keynote speeches were delivered by a wide range of both CarTrawler speakers and industry experts. Topics ranged from the future of biometrics in travel, to a keyless car demo which is set to revolutionise the car rental industry. CarTrawler’s Chief Executive Officer, Cormac Barry welcomed the audience to Ireland.
Cormac spoke of the four main stakeholders who CarTrawler is dedicated to. These include; Partners, Suppliers, Customers and People. He spoke of CarTrawler’s committment to deepening and strengthening partner relationships, by broadening and enhancing their offering. The onus is on CarTrawler to create a unique value proposition for our partners, whether that is revenue, loyalty or another manifestation of value. Cormac’s talk set up the day for a bespoke conference filled with thought-provoking and tangible takeaways. Simon Ward took to the stage to showcase one of the most exciting developments in the car rental industry: the emergence of a Straight To Car product, developed by Green Motion and supported by CarTrawler.
The Archaic State of the Car Rental Industry
Simon Ward is CarTrawler’s Head of Independent Supply team and during his talk, spoke of his intention to demonstrate how the future of car rental could be readily altered by adapting a forward-focused technology. Simon detailed his career in the car rental industry to date, having worked at Hertz prior to joining CarTrawler, where he learnt invaluable lessons about the car rental industry. It was during this time which ignited a curiosity to improve the customer experience of the car rental process. Simon stated how this curiosity inspires his and his team’s raison d’etre in their daily activities, in that their reason to be and their reason to come to work is simply to ‘make people happy.’ Despite elements of the car rental industry remaining archaic, Simon eloquently and optimistically noted that ‘every problem has a gift for you in its hands.’ Many had predicted that the car rental industry would have developed to a point where car keys would be transferred to the customer by using something similar to an ATM machine. However, in the past few decades very few developments have been made in this area.
Straight to Car: A New Green Motion Product
To understand why the industry has not yet made this leap, and to examine the potential technology solutions on the horizon to combat these issues, Simon invited Chay Lowden, Sales and Technologies Director at Green Motion, onto the stage. Chay’s presence signalled Green Motion’s committment to enhancing the customer experience. The Green Motion team had started this research process over two years ago, with the intention of revolutionising the customer journey. They had initially considered handing out free bottles of water at the car rental desk, however they soon realised that this was simply encouraging the problem, it wasn’t resolving the underlying systemic, customer issue at hand.
The idea of a Straight to Car product was concieved, with the objective of ensuring that a percentage of customers could bypass the car rental desk entirely. Chay spoke of how the challenge in this area is whether or not they can successfully scale the product for worldwide implementation. This service should be available and accessible in all locations, to ensure continuity of the customer journey. Simon questioned Chay on how they have mastered the challenge of making progress in this area and he explained how Green Motion have been engaging in real time feedback of this kind of product and examining advanced identity check software. The ultimate goal for Green Motion is to launch the Straight to Car product by the end of Q1 2019, to account for 15% of passengers entirely bypassing the car rental desk in favour of this self-service product.
Keyless Car Demonstration – the New Frontier Begins
To demonstrate the ease with which this product can be integrated into apps, Simon invited Ritchie Masterson, Head of Commercial Integrations at CarTrawler to showcase the CarTrawler solution with a live demo. Ritchie demonstrated how the CarTrawler platform could be seamlessly integrated into an airline app in under two minutes. A BMW i8 had been placed in the room and by using the app which boasted a CarTrawler native SDK plug-in, the immobiliser was instantly disabled and the car was opened. Green Motion’s concept has become a reality, having become the first car rental supplier to deliver on a frictionless travel experience and successfully embedded the product into its entire car fleet.
It immediately illustrated how this technology has the power to make an experience such as this as frictionless as possible for the consumer. Ritchie reiterated the fact that the only obstacles are convincing decision makers to look at commericals of this and to angle their business in this forward-focused direction.
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