Technology has been taking the world by storm; and the car rental service industry is of no exception. COVID-19 re-emphasised and further highlighted its demand as it reestablished a new normal for many businesses. To stay afloat, many companies are starting to adopt a plethora of automatisation and digitalisation approaches, in hopes to reap the benefits of it and to stay abreast of its competitors.
The Sword of Digitalisation
Digitalisation is a double-edged sword. They can allow some industries to flourish, while causing others to crumble under the exponential pressure. If you have not been living under a rock for the last few years, you would have noticed that private car services start-up companies like Grab and Gojek have revolutionised the taxi industry, bringing novel challenges to the decades-old ComfortDelGro with a simple click of buttons. With their dominating presence in the market, it has forced ComfortDelGro to think out of the box, and has kept them on their toes as they race to stay competitive in an ever-changing consumer landscape.
“Disruptive technology” became the next catch-phrase that was idolised and highly sought after by many technology companies across various industries. Their goal – to overthrow the monopolising giants that govern the majority of the customer base and to gain market traction. It is clear that without constant innovation, even the biggest of giants could be outperformed by their smaller but seemingly aggressive counterparts that are willing to take the leap of faith to invest in technology. It goes to show that no one is spared from this fight of the survival of the fittest and that investment in technology is not only crucial for the company to arise victorious amongst its competitors, but it is a fight for survival. Those who resist change could undoubtedly crumble from the onslaught of benefits technology bestows to companies.
Types of Technological Swords
It is safe to say that the advent of digitalisation is here to stay. Technological advancement comes in a plethora of ways. From digi-bots to improvements on the mobile apps, to customer relation management and virtual reality. These tools, like artillery in the battlefield, are varied in its use, serving its own purpose in its never ending war against other competitors.
How Technology Affects Car Rental Companies
More car rental companies are jumping on the digital bandwagon, investing in website and mobile app upgrades. This is because, as the mobile phone industry grows, its influence and customer reliance heightens. Inevitably, our experiences with brands are discerned by the smartphone technology and it bridges the distance barrier, bringing car rental service experience closer to home by allowing easy access to brands across the globe.
This allows a more smooth sailing customer experience and it is incredibly useful for expats or travellers. With real-time tracking sheets of the availability of car rental fleet, digital test drives, and state-of-the-art online booking services, these are just some of the many ways car rental companies worldwide have been utilising technology to boost customers’ rental experiences.
In time to come, the need for face-to-face booking would steadily decline. Customers could, at that time, book and manage their rental packages (short term car rental or long term car rental) all online, or in the application interface. Increasingly, car rental companies could be investing in applications that provide a one-stop shop for self key collection and car pick-ups, on-the-go management of the rental bookings, further adding to its draw in provision of efficient rental service experience.
GETTING WHAT THE CUSTOMER WANTS.
Search engine optimisation would provide what customers directly. Car rental companies and their website interfaces can now be seen in collaboration with hotels, air lines and other travel amenities. This would provide customers with ease of access to information that is readily available with just a few clicks of the button. Additionally, being able to skim through company and product review on comparison pages provides customers a non-biased evaluation of the company and its product. Hence, car rental companies have no choice but to be kept on their toes, tailoring their products to best suit the needs of their clients. But with competition comes innovation, and the opportunity for the car rental industry to extend its reach in the hospitality industry.
DRIVER’S USER EXPERIENCE
Beyond the rental booking experience, customers get to benefit from the innovation made by car manufacturers as they integrate digitalisation and technical advancements to boost car specs and amenities. Upgrades of the GPS system, auto-driving and auto-parking capabilities are positive externalities that you as customers get to enjoy. In Singapore, the growing excitement and investments in autonomous vehicles (AVs), where self-driving vehicles are undergoing testing has shown the nations increased receptivity to these innovations, bringing comfort and safety to commuters and pedestrians alike. However, with that being said, various ethical, safety and regulatory concerns have to first be resolved by the respective authorities and stakeholders involved.
With better technological systems, car rental companies are able to provide added safety and security features for customers. By collection of data points and a by-the-minute update in car statuses, car rental companies can move ahead of its curve and conduct safety checks and maintenance to prevent vehicle malfunctions through predictive and assistive technology.
THE FUTURE OF CAR RENTAL COMPANIES
In sum, car rental services cannot shy away from digitalisation and technological advancement. It is the way forward for companies to keep innovating to advance both company and customer experiences and concerns in a modern, globalised and interconnected society. Therefore, it is only necessary for car rental companies like BizLink Rent-A-Car Pte Ltd. to continue to innovate, like its peers, to optimally cater to the ever-changing needs of customers.