A more positive outlook is on the horizon for car hire in business travel.
A shortage of car stock and production parts, higher rates and increased demand from the leisure sector hit the car rental landscape hard last year.
Encouragingly, though, it seems the tide is turning. Satisfaction with car rental has improved in 2023, according to Business Travel News’ Car Rental Survey, which measures how travel buyers rate the industry. And Reed & Mackay and Navan Senior Manager Partnerships – Car Jacqui Cahill is optimistic the challenges business travellers faced last year have eased, with improved availability thanks to increased stock from car manufacturers.
Cahill outlines what corporate travellers should expect when hiring cars these coming months and how to get the best deals.
Plan ahead for when rates will drop
While rates have come down slightly from last year, they’re still at higher levels than they would have been pre-pandemic. However, most vendors are saying they expect rates to settle back to those prices between Q2 and Q3 this year.
Plan for more sustainable car travel
Corporations increasingly need to incorporate sustainable travel into running costs if net-zero targets are to be met by 2050. If train travel is not an option, consider hiring electric vehicles (EV). “EVs may be slightly more expensive to hire than petrol or diesel cars right now, so factor that cost into budgets,” Cahill recommends.
The next question is whether an EV is the correct type of vehicle to hire for the length of journey you’re taking. Check the infrastructure required to use an EV when booking. Top of the list, of course, is determining where the charging points are situated along your route. They’re likely to be located in major hubs and city centres, so if you’re travelling off those tracks, plan ahead for stops.
When you’ve pinpointed where the charge points are, consider whether they offer rapid charging – you don’t want to be stuck for two hours waiting for your EV to charge. According to the Department for Transport there are 40,150 public electric vehicle charging devices available in the UK (as of April 2023), 7,647 of which are rapid devices.
There are also many other sites to check for charging points including Zap Map and Car Wow.
Consider introducing car sharing for your corporate travellers – a great budget saver and a more eco-friendly way to travel.
Check if car companies allow one-day rentals
Last year, many suppliers introduced a minimum two-day rental period. That restriction has now eased but double check with the car hire company when booking. Where there are still some restrictions on one-way rentals, that usually has more to do with car availability and the logistics of getting them to where they need to be.
Where to find the best customer experience in ground transportation
Ask your Travel Management Company for other options to car hire; as well as offering car rental and black car services, Navan and Reed & Mackay are looking at offering taxis and scooters. “Quite a few companies we’re working with can offer different types of ground transportation. We can then offer those options to our clients,” Cahill says. “These are becoming particularly popular with the next generation of travellers, and we’re also looking into ideas such as car clubs.”
How can Reed & Mackay help?
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Part of our 2023 product roadmap is to future-proof and enhance the connectivity of our tech ecosystem that powers Reed & Mackay’s results for car hire.