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Avis UK – responding to today’s business mobility needs
Pace of change may be quick, but Avis UK has it covered
David Oliver, Red Bull procurement manager
Debie Floyde, Bauer Media fleet manager
Caroline Sandall, ACFO vice-chairmam
John Pryor, ACFO chairman, Arcadia group fleet and travel manager
Avis Car Rental is one of the world’s best-known rental brands with approximately 5,500 locations in approximately 170 countries. Avis has a long history of innovation in the car rental industry and wherever and whenever our corporate customers do business we make every aspect of the rental experience easy, productive and rewarding.
Avis is owned by Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR), which operates and licenses the brand throughout the world. We offer a range of options through our three leading brands: Avis – the premium car rental experience in a personalised
way; Budget – delivering a warm, easy experience for savvy, value-seeking renters; and Zipcar – the world’s leading car sharing network.
While most agree seamless mobility across all forms of transport is the future, how does that impact the traditional company car? And what strategies are required across different areas? Louisa Bell, General Manager,at Avis UK has the answers.
How do you see on-demand vehicle options and public transport coming together in the future? Will things only take off when the back-end administration and payment process is integrated?
Whether it is established businesses with short-term contracts, start-ups with limited cash flow, or employees in need of flexible transportation solutions, across the sector we are seeing a steep rise in the business need for on-demand vehicles – one that we can confidently predict is here to stay.
In today’s world, fast-moving developments in technology are driving higher consumer expectations for smoother, more accessible, more adaptable and overall frictionless experiences. More than ever, all travellers – for work or pleasure – want a quick and easy transition to go from point A to point B. In terms of how we link on-demand vehicles and public transport options as part of this solution, back-end process integration could make the customer journey from start to end-point as seamless as possible.
Avis Car Rental UK and the wider travel industry are taking steps to integrate booking processes to give customers a one-stop, seamless approach to managing their travel journey. This requires collaboration and buy-in from all players across the industry. For example, our Avis app allows customers to book their vehicle at the tap of their screen without delay and at their own convenience. We have also digitised our range of service offerings – including those offered through Avis UK and Zipcar – with optimised mobile technology.
Company cars are currently seen as all-or-nothing options, whereas some businesses and employees are looking for medium-term solutions. Are there options that can fill this gap but still be compliant, cost-effective and simple to administer?
Whether it’s for large companies or SMEs, managing a company fleet has its challenges: staff changes, damage, cost control and, of course, balancing short-term demand with long-term usage. Businesses in general have to be much more agile in how they work. We are increasingly seeing businesses seek more flexible solutions and alternatives to the traditional commitment that company cars usually require.
At Avis UK, we offer a number of options for our customers that provide many of the same benefits of company cars, but without the long-term cost commitment.
For longer-term, more flexible rental options, our customers can choose Avis Flex – a system that allows our customers to access rental vehicles for periods of 28 days plus without having to be tied into lease deals. There is a wide range of vehicle options alongside simple and clear pricing structures. Should our Flex users need to return their car early, they can do so without the worry of a return penalty.
Will true mobility only be appealing for companies when suppliers and service providers join forces on a single, multi-solution platform, or will the bigger players acquire and rebrand the niche solution providers? Both would make it more compelling for organisations to actively promote it.
The customer travel experience – across different modes of transport and brands – could be improved by more integrated platforms. However, travellers and travel planners are resourceful and will continue to be so, provided the right solutions, whether integrated or not, are out there.
At Avis UK, we already provide streamlined mobility options thanks to some strong and well-established relationships with TMCs, as well as new and innovative technologies we have introduced to facilitate this. This includes, for example, the Avis Rental Tool (ART), which enables travel
managers to book and manage rentals for their travellers at any time.
We also have our Avis app. Customers can book direct through the app for the cheapest price with a wide selection of vehicles to choose from. With Avis Preferred – our loyalty programme – members receive priority service straight away. This includes avoiding queues every time (with pre-prepared paperwork and your vehicle ready to go) and, in some locations, you can simply locate your car, get in and drive away.
Any company operating across the UK will have pockets or regions that are too rural for anything other than a company car, whereas some ultra-urban areas will have lots of mobility options. Does this mean you need a variety of strategies in place?
The important thing is for customers to choose the right mode or modes of transport for their unique journey. We provide flexible options for all of our customers’ needs, including fleet customers, to enable them to find the right solution or combination of solutions for each journey. For rural areas in particular, the last few miles of travel often require a car.
Cars provide travellers with the flexibility that other modes of transport simply do not – for example, for people travelling together, people transporting luggage or goods, or for co-ordinating changed plans. For fleet or travel managers, providing travel support doesn’t always mean just providing an individual with a company car. Often, it makes sense to combine fleet cars and rental cars with public transport, taxis and car sharing options to provide workers with the variety of options they need to enable their journey in the best way possible.
Within Avis Budget Group, we have a range of options to suit business travel needs, including traditional car rental, Avis Flex and Zipcar. In certain European countries, we also offer Avis Chauffeur Drive – a driven service for executive business travel.