Consumer Insights

The Ultimate Guide to Contactless Car Rental

May 11, 2023
4 min read
Car Rental
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Car rental services have been around for decades, providing a convenient way for people to travel without having to purchase a vehicle.

But with the ongoing pandemic and the need for social distancing, the traditional car rental process has become less appealing. People are looking for safer ways to rent cars that allow for no interaction with the rental company staff or touching frequently-used surfaces. This is where contactless car rental comes in.

Contactless car rental allows renters to complete the entire rental process remotely, from booking to returning the car, without having to interact with anyone in person. Instead, everything is done online or through a mobile app, and the car can be picked up from a designated location without the need for face-to-face contact. This innovative approach to car rental provides a safer and more convenient option for renters, allowing them to save time and avoid unnecessary interactions.

In this blog post, we'll explore how contactless car rental works and why it's becoming increasingly popular among travellers. We'll take a closer look at the steps involved in the process, the benefits of this approach to car rental, and how it's changing how we rent cars. Whether you're a frequent traveller or just looking for a more convenient way to get around, contactless car rental may be the solution you've been looking for.

Growing Consumer Demands for Contactless Systems

Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in demand for contactless systems across various industries. This trend has only accelerated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a greater emphasis on reducing physical contact and maintaining social distancing. Car rental companies have responded to this demand by introducing contactless car rental, which has quickly gained popularity among consumers.

The benefits of contactless car rental are clear. It allows renters to complete the entire rental process remotely, eliminating the need for face-to-face interactions and reducing the risk of transmission of germs. It also provides a faster and more convenient rental experience, allowing renters to bypass long lines and wait times at rental counters. As a result, many car rental companies have started offering contactless car rental options to meet the growing demand from consumers. This includes major players in the rental industry, such as Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, and Budget, as well as newer, more innovative companies like Turo, Zipcar and Getaround.

Contactless car rentals have become popular for customers who value convenience, speed, and safety. Many companies are investing heavily in technology that further enhances the rental experience. This includes mobile apps that allow renters to manage their rentals, unlock and start the car, and extend their rental period without having to interact with anyone in person. By leveraging technology to offer these rentals, car rental companies can meet their customers' demands while streamlining their rental process and reducing the need for on-site representatives. Car rental companies are now also offering customers more options than traditional rental services. These solutions include car-sharing, subscription-based rentals, and peer-to-peer car rentals.

The growing consumer demand for contactless systems in the rental industry shows no signs of slowing down. With the convenience, safety, and flexibility that contactless car rental offers, more and more renters will likely choose this option. As a result, car rental companies will need to continue to innovate and adapt to meet the changing needs of consumers.

Different Types of Contactless Car Rental Options

Contactless car rentals use technology to enable a fully automated rental process, from booking to returning the vehicle. Customers can reserve and pay for their rental car online or through a mobile app. Once they arrive at the rental location, they can use the app to unlock the car and start their rental period.

One of the key technologies that enable contactless rentals is a telematics device that is installed in the rental car. This device provides real-time information about the vehicle's location, usage, and maintenance needs. It also allows customers to remotely access the car's features, such as unlocking and locking the doors, adjusting the temperature, and starting the engine.

Contactless car rental has become increasingly popular among car rental companies, and many of them have adopted their own unique methods for providing this service to their customers. Some of the most common methods include:

1. Self-service kiosks:

Some car rental companies have self-service kiosks installed at their rental locations. Renters can use the kiosks to complete their check-in, select their vehicle, and even receive the keys to their rental car. Hertz is one such car rental company that offers self-service kiosks to consumers.

2. Mobile apps:

Many car rental companies now offer mobile apps that allow renters to book and manage their rentals, unlock the car, and complete payments. Some apps allow renters to take photos of the car to document any damage and confirm the return. Car rental companies like Enterprise car club and Zipper allow consumers to unlock their vehicles through a mobile app to access the key located in the vehicle.

3. Keyless entry:

Some car rental companies have implemented keyless entry systems that allow renters to unlock and start the car using their mobile phone or a code that's provided to them.

4. Delivery and pickup:

Many car rental companies now offer delivery and pickup services. The car is delivered to the renter's location and picked up at the end of the rental period. This eliminates the need for renters to visit a rental location at all.

5. Virtual check-in:

Some car rental companies allow renters to complete their check-in process via mobile phones or computers. This can include uploading their driver's license and other necessary documents.

How does Contactless Car Rental Work

Each car rental company has its own method for providing contactless car rental, but all of them aim to make the rental process faster, safer, and more convenient for renters. By providing a range of options, car rental companies are able to cater to the unique needs and preferences of their customers.

The process involved is aimed at making car rental as efficient and convenient as possible. Customers can browse available rental cars, select their preferred pickup and drop-off locations, and choose additional rental options, such as insurance and GPS, through the car rental company's online platform. Once the rental is booked and payment is confirmed, customers receive a confirmation email or text message with instructions for picking up the rental car. When the customer arrives to pick up the rental car, they may be directed to a self-service kiosk or provided a code to unlock the car using their smartphone. While some vehicles allow for a keyless method to unlock the vehicle and start it, some rental companies may have the key in the vehicle. The rental car will be parked in a designated location. The customer can simply unlock the car, get in, and drive away without ever having to interact with a rental company representative.

Role of Technology and Fully Integrated Systems

Technology has played a significant role in the growth of contactless car rental. Advances in mobile technology, automation, and data analytics have enabled car rental companies to provide a faster, safer, and more efficient rental experience for their customers. To make contactless car rentals possible, rental companies invest in tech solutions offering a fully integrated system combining various technologies and processes. This system includes the mobile app, the telematics device, the rental management software, and the payment gateway. These components must work seamlessly together to provide a smooth rental experience for the customer.

The rental management software is a critical component of the system, as it manages the entire rental process, from reservation to return. It enables rental companies to track the availability of their fleet, schedule maintenance, and manage payments. The payment gateway also plays a key role, as it allows customers to make secure online payments and rental companies to process them.

Keyless entry systems allow renters to unlock and start the car using their mobile phone or a code provided to them. This eliminates the need for renters to handle physical keys, which can reduce the risk of transmission of germs. Car rental companies are also able to use data analytics to optimise their operations and improve the rental experience for their customers. By analysing rental data, companies can identify trends and patterns, such as which types of cars are most popular and which rental locations have the highest demand.

To conclude,

Contactless car rental is a rapidly growing trend in the car rental industry, driven by the increasing demand for safer and more convenient rental experiences. As we have explored in this blog, contactless car rental can take many forms, from self-service kiosks and mobile apps to keyless entry systems and virtual check-ins. Each car rental company has its unique approach, but all ultimately aim to make the rental process faster, safer, and more convenient for renters.

Technology has played a significant role in the growth of contactless car rental, enabling car rental companies to provide a more efficient and streamlined rental experience. From mobile apps and automated check-in and checkout systems to keyless entry and data analytics, technology has paved the way for a new era of car rental that prioritises safety, convenience, and innovation.

As the world continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovations in contactless car rental in the future. Car rental companies will continue to adapt to changing consumer needs and preferences while leveraging the latest technologies to provide a better rental experience for their customers.

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Komal Mekala
Marketing Specialist

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