At this year’s Car Rental Show, keynote speaker Pat Farrell, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for Enterprise Holdings, kicked off the annual conference today by noting that future innovation and growth in the car rental industry – local as well as global – depend on staying in close touch with the changing wants and needs of the consumer.
Farrell noted that the car rental industry is experiencing major change from such factors as new innovative technologies and evolving consumer preferences. He cited changes in customer preferences due to new digital and mobile technology as the largest driver of change – and opportunity – in the industry. “Technology – from the Internet, to social media, to mobile platforms – has truly put the consumer in control,” he said. “The better we use these avenues, the stronger our customer loyalty and relationships will be.”
Enterprise Holdings is the largest car rental service provider in the world measured by revenue, employees and fleet and the owner and operator of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. “Everything we do is underpinned by consumer research,” Farrell said, “but the most effective form of research still comes down to one simple thing: listening to consumers.”
“Consumers today have access to more information whenever and wherever they need it; they have a more urban lifestyle and have new attitudes and preferences about accessing automobiles and mobility in general,” he observed. “But there is a solid consensus that cars provide an unmatched level of convenience and freedom, allowing people to be in total control of the time, destination and environment – and that is where opportunity exists. We’re not just renting cars … we are providing mobility, and mobility keeps the world moving.”
He stressed the need for the industry to keep adapting and evolving: “I can still remember when car rental was strictly an on-airport proposition. Today, the off-airport category is equally relevant. It began with insurance replacement. Then it evolved to consumer direct business and people renting cars in their home town for day-to-day needs. And now it’s a multibillion dollar category. It’s all about meeting consumer mobility needs. Car sharing – or hourly car rental – is just another innovation in an innovative industry … and just one more way for us to serve our customers.”