The car rental experience is being reshaped

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As business and leisure travel resumes and customers return to car rental companies, they are being greeted with new technologies.

For example, Hertz is rolling out several technology initiatives, some of which will be visible to customers while others will be behind the scenes.

“The journey to improve our technology is underway,” Hertz Global Holdings CEO Stephen Scherr said Wednesday, April 27, during the company’s quarterly earnings call. “From the use of cell phones to the deployment of telematics to the integration of artificial intelligence, Hertz will be in a better position to serve our customers, evaluate our assets and manage our business.”

Provide a seamless digital experience

On the one hand, the company will have equipped almost all of its North American fleet with telematics by the end of the year. Hertz also discusses its core technology stack, system architecture, and application.

“As we enter the peak summer season, we have already launched improvements to the customer experience,” Scherr said. “Our goal is to provide customers with a seamless digital experience every step of the way – in short, to make renting a car simple.”

It starts with the app, which will be redesigned, but also includes other technologies. Hertz currently has pilot programs underway to field test contactless exit and rental experiences. The company is also running a pilot project to move its insurance replacement business from a heavily paper-based system to a digital platform.

In addition, the company has partnered with Amazon Web Services to modernize and digitize the customer experience and its new mobility platform, with Oracle for the upgrade of its back-end systems and with Stripe for the improvement of its payment systems.

Helping corporate clients achieve their carbon footprint goals

Electric vehicles (EVs) are also a growing share of the mix, as Hertz now has EVs deployed in 30 markets and says a considerable portion of its fleet will be electric by the end of the year.

The company has expanded its Tesla rental offering to more than 20 markets and has partnered with Polestar to integrate 65,000 of its electric vehicles into its fleet. Scherr said on the call that he would like to see more than 30% of the Hertz fleet be electric by the end of 2024.

The company has found that electric vehicles cost less to operate and command higher prices than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

“In the business context, there’s an interesting phenomenon developing, which is that the electric vehicle is proving to be a big draw for our corporate customers,” Scherr said. “They need to rent cars to their employees, but they also meet their own ESG and carbon footprint targets through electric vehicles.”

Company’s EV partnership with Uber continues to grow and now spans 30 markets in the United States

“The utilization rates we are seeing on this part of the fleet are well over 80%, and we continue to see strong demand for drivers, supported by the increased revenue these drivers can generate by renting from Hertz instead. than directly owning it,” Scherr said.

A growing number of customers will experience these transitions to connected electric cars, as Hertz reported that March was the first month since the start of the pandemic in which revenues exceeded their 2019 level.

“We see that momentum continuing into April,” Scherr said.

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