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Pioneering the future of mobility

Avis Budget Group is on a mission to reinvent the rental experience and ultimately change perceptions of the car rental industry through ongoing innovation and digitisation. Nina Bell, managing director of Avis Budget Group for Northern Europe, explains the importance of delivering a personalised, streamlined and innovative experience for all leisure and business customers

In what ways are innovative technologies improving or changing how people travel?

Technological advancements over recent years have greatly impacted the way people travel. From electronic passport gates to booking car hire, hotels and more through our phones. As consumers, we are looking for a completely connected, seamless, transparent and stress-free experience.

Travellers want more flexibility and control, with on-demand capabilities paramount to get from A to B, whether that be bikes, scooters, vans, cars they drive, cars driven by others and, some day, cars that drive themselves.

We’ve embarked on an ambitious process to digitise our business, enabling us to connect our fleet for a more on-demand experience, but also to streamline the overall customer journey. Examples include the self-service capabilities of the new Avis app, our Maintenance & Damage Management System, an industry first that takes 360-degree images of the car for full transparency on any damages, and our Flight Arrival Notification technology, which means customers who book directly with Avis will not need to worry about the rental desk being closed after flight delays as it will stay open, even past working hours.

However, in the digital age, it’s critical that different players within the travel industry collaborate to deliver a fully, interconnected transport service to customers and businesses. From our more than 20-year partnership with International Airlines Group, to our multi-modal partnership in Germany with bike-sharing provider Nextbike, we are leading the way in demonstrating the importance of travel services working together in a technology-driven world.

Travellers want more flexibility and control, with on-demand capabilities paramount to get from A to B

What role does Avis Budget Group play in the future of mobility?

We believe mobility will be completely integrated, on-demand and connected, delivered to both consumers and businesses, as a service.

Numerous steps have been taken to ensure we evolve to meet the future needs of customers and partners. We’ve launched more than 100,000 connected cars into our fleet, we have a Mobility Lab in Kansas City to pilot new customer experiences and collaboration with cities, we’ve partnered with Waymo, Lyft and ViaVan on fleet management as a service, and we’re migrating our entire platform to the cloud to further extend the potential to integrate new technologies into the customer journey.

With more than 70 years’ experience and 30,000 people spread across 180 countries, we are not only well positioned to move mobility forward at a global scale, but we are not afraid to make the bold decisions needed to revolutionise the future of mobility and we are focused on leading the way.

What features does Avis Preferred provide to users?

We are proud of our award-winning, free-to-join loyalty programme Avis Preferred, which enables leisure and business travellers to enjoy many perks, including priority service.

The new Avis app also means Avis Preferred members can enjoy straight-to-vehicle access, bypassing the rental desk completely, at major European destinations.

Members can also receive the usual benefits of booking direct with Avis, such as free additional driver, and the Avis Price Promise which states you won’t find a cheaper Avis car anywhere else or we’ll refund the difference.

How is the Avis app changing the conventional car rental experience?

We are reinventing rental by making the overall experience more streamlined and personalised. Customers prefer to choose their vehicle, enjoy quick service and skipping queues; the new Avis app allows our Avis Preferred members to do just that and has seen more than two million transactions since launch.

The app is designed to empower travellers, giving them straight-to-vehicle access as well as complete control of their rental from start to finish. This includes selecting the exact car you want, not just the car group, from two hours before the rental starts.

Why is it important for Avis Budget Group to have a fully connected global fleet?

For customers, it will mean a seamless and more intuitive experience, and from a business perspective, vehicle data is delivered in real time, resulting in a more efficient workforce, better maintained vehicles and ultimately an improved experience. This enables us to have more cars available for our customers, faster.

Connected cars to consumers means the car can link to any of their devices, so by using the Avis app customers can open the car with their phones, flash the lights to locate their vehicle and, in time, have personalised preferences remembered, such as seat position or radio stations.

Currently, approximately 15 per cent of our UK fleet is connected, partly due to partnerships with PSA Groupe, as well as our recently announced partnership with Continental, which will see 25,000 vehicles in our European fleet enhanced with its key-as-a-service technology.

How is Zipcar enabling more convenient journeys for users?

Avis Budget Group is the parent company of Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network with more than one million business and leisure members around the world.

With a rapidly growing membership of approximately 280,000 members in the UK, it’s playing a key role in changing public attitudes to private vehicle ownership with self-service vehicles available by the minute, hour or day. In London, we have approximately 3,000 vehicles; these cover our round-trip service, when you pick up and drop off your Zipcar in the same car parking space, and our one-way, floating Zipcar Flex service.

We work closely with partners and cities to help tackle congestion and pollution issues. We have the largest, publicly available electric vehicle (EV) fleet in the UK and since introducing approximately 325 VW eGolfs last summer, Zipcar members have driven more than 1 million EV miles.We are also committed to help companies impacted by low emission zones. Zipcar for Business is providing match funding for businesses planning to scrap their diesel vans, as part of the mayor of London’s diesel scrappage scheme, which is worth up to £7,000.

How do you utilise technology to benefit your business customers?

We provide tailored mobility solutions for corporate businesses, small and medium-sized enterprises, and those requiring van hire services. Our online Avis Rental Tool is available in the UK and provides visibility and transparency of the car hire spend, with the ability to manage multi-levels of policy compliance.

All reservation, live hire and invoicing data is updated every 24 hours, ensuring our corporate customers have access to up-to-date driver selection, usage, compliance and travel policy management.

We’re proud of the great relationships we hold with our customers, as shown with retention rates currently running around 99 per cent for UK corporate clients.

For more information please visit avis.co.uk/business or call our dedicated business team on 0808 284 5000
or email avisbusiness@avis.co.uk

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