Katie Mille, Director of Strategy and Business Transformation - International, Avis Budget Group
The road today is shifting beneath our feet. Rapid technological advancements, heightened by changing consumer habits and needs, means car rental companies need to innovate and be willing to take risks to move the industry forward.
At Avis Budget Group, we are not afraid to make the bold decisions needed to revolutionise the future of mobility and we are focused on leading the way. Mobility for the most part is going to involve things with wheels and motors. Those things need to be purchased, provisioned, maintained and repaired, and remarketed or recycled. They also need to be deployed in a way that maximizes utilization by paying customers, minimizes downtime for servicing, and optimizes routes, such as for battery use and potential avoidance of things like congestion charges.
This means that every mobility company will need scalable, secure and reliable fleet management capabilities, as well as a cloud-based, connected technology platform technology platform, to be operationally sustainable.
It’s safe to assume that it’s easier for an established mobility company, like Avis Budget Group, to access technology and expertise in data than it is for a tech company to acquire expertise in global fleet management. Learning and developing the efficiencies and patterns of fleets and customer behaviours require years of testing, scaling and continuously improving. That’s why we are investing in our own platform and other initiatives which enable us to offer services like, FMaaS (Fleet Management as a Service).
For instance, mobility providers like Via and Lyft are working with us to help them accelerate their ability to meet demand through our FMaaS offering. We’re able to leverage our fleet acquisition and maintenance services to augment their fleets in select markets and get more drivers behind the wheel.
The digital revolution has made a big impact in the travel and hospitality space with major hotel groups adopting mobile check-in solutions and app-driven room service or digital assistants. When it comes to the car rental industry, mobile apps, connected cars and artificial intelligence are all reinventing the customer experience for the better.
Customers want a personalised, streamlined and efficient rental experience, something we are striving to deliver through innovations such as the reinvented Avis App. These innovations to the customer experience are supplemented by an ever-growing connected fleet, which has recently seen us join forces with Amazon Web Services to become the first car rental company to host our platform on their Connected Car Cloud service.
Connectivity will not only improve the customer experience, but also services and operational efficiencies for providers, with real-time feedback.
In the digital age, mobility will be on-demand and connected; therefore, it is critical that different players and categories within the travel space work together to help deliver a fully, interconnected transport service to customers and businesses.
As a global organisation, we have exciting mobility partnerships which demonstrate our commitment to shaping the industry. From our 20+ year partnership with International Airlines Group (IAG), to our recently announced exclusive partnership with Etihad Airlines, to our multi-modal partnership in Germany with bike-sharing provider, Nextbike; from Avis to Zipcar we are leading the way in demonstrating the importance of all travel services working together.
An exciting future
As cars become IP addresses, phones become computers, and people become connected to everything around them, there are opportunities for the car rental industry to not only serve the current customers better but to also open up entirely new lines of businesses that can benefit the travel industry as a whole. Whatever the future holds, car rental companies will need to keep their eyes on the horizon to win the race.
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