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CAR RENTAL

Road

TRIPS

Car rental is set for some major changes as part of a wider revolution within the ground transport sector, says Rob Gill ©NEXUS

C

ar rental used to be something of an afterthought within managed travel, ranking way behind the twin spending titans of air travel and hotels on buyers’ priority lists. For the business traveller themselves, the process was pretty simple and typically involved rolling up to the car rental company’s desk in the airport, completing the paperwork and collecting their vehicle. While this traditional process still applies to plenty of road warriors, car rental – much like ground transport generally – is evolving rapidly with new options such as car 26

sharing, short-term rentals and the use of electric vehicles offering more flexible and potentially money-saving (and carbon emission-reducing) alternatives. In the longer term, there is even the prospect of driverless cars transforming this part of the travel sector completely – Avis Budget has just agreed a deal to manage the self-driving vehicles being developed in Arizona by Waymo, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet. At the same time, as companies put greater emphasis on duty of care considerations, travel policy is under

scrutiny when it comes to car hire – do you really want your traveller picking up a car in an unfamiliar city after a long-haul flight? The major car rental companies have been adapting to these changes over the last few years by offering more flexible rental options alongside traditional vehicle hire. This is clearly something they need to do: in a survey by ACTE and American Express Global Business Travel, 24% of travel managers said their traditional car hire usage had declined between 2013 and 2016. The study also found that 48% of managers had increased their bookings of

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The Business Travel Magazine August/September 2017  

The multi-award-winning publication written and produced for bookers, buyers, arrangers and managers of business travel and meetings. This i...