Rental Car Company Problems

Why the Rental Car Industry is Blowing It and What You Can Learn From Them

Learn from the rental car company’s mistakes. If you find your business making these same mistakes get working on change or prepare to have your lunch eaten!

I don’t know if you’ve tried to rent a car lately, but it really sucks. The inventory is low, the prices are high and the lines are long.

I understand the first one- COVID really screwed things up.

I understand the second one, it relates directly the first one.

But there is no excuse for the third one. There is no reason in this current day and age of smart phones, apps and self serve order online everything that I should need to stop by a counter and talk to a person when I need to rent a car.

Given the labor shortage and high dissatisfaction rates at car rental counters, it’s beyond me why this hasn’t already been fixed. I should, as an average occasional renter, be able to book online and once I arrive at the rental depot walk straight to my assigned car and hop in using nothing more than my phone and an app to confirm I’m taking it.

I could take a photo of my license and add it into the app. Other than that, they already have my credit card and I never look at and don’t know what the point is of the fistful of folded papers they hand me at the counter each time.

I could use the app to accept or decline (I always decline) the extra coverage, gas refill options, etc. and be on my way in minutes instead of literal hours like the last two times I’ve rented a car.

There just doesn’t seem to be any good and justifiable reason to keep it the way it is now. Of course they could keep a person or two on staff for the tech phobic or people with problems the app can’t resolve, that’s fine. But then the  majority of us would not need to wait impatiently in line for the next available counter person to ask for info we’ve already provided and answer questions we’ve already answered before being handed our paper collection and given a stall number to find our car.

I’m sure eventually this will happen. And I suspect some of them are already working on this, probably having already spent millions of dollars on a half baked partial solution that’s still in phase three of debugging and committe review when any good offshore dev team could have already built a great working version for $10K all in. But that’s big company economics and time management for you, it’s not a surprise. The surprise is just that they’re still not getting how much of a priority this should be.

The mistake they are making is causing a lot of customer friction where it doesn’t need to be and not doing enough to address it fast enough.

In our business, we are constantly looking for ways to make the process work faster, smoother and more seamlessly for our clients. I’d hope if we were a rental car company, we’d have spotted this a long time ago and got to working on a solution already. I’d hope we’d be a leader in this space and be taking business from the others right and left.

If you’re a business owner, try pretending you’re a customer once in awhile and go through your own process. See where you hit points of frustration and things slow down and work on fixing those. Then do it again. And again.

If you’re the customer, let the businesses you buy from know how they could make things better for you, and then vote with your wallet for the ones that listen.

Doing this will make the world a better place for everyone. And then maybe we’ll all be able to spend a little less time waiting to rent a car next time!




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