During the pandemic, demand for services including car renting has generally fallen. The main reason for that is a decrease in the number of people interested in going on trips as well as a significant reduction in business trips by rented cars at home and abroad. On the other hand, with the arrival of summer, people have become more likely to travel by car. Due to security reasons, online car portals are currently attracting more customers than traditional car rental branches. However, it is still not enough to improve the situation.
What are the most important changes that have recently taken place in the area of car renting?
- Cars are not only clean but also disinfected before renting.
- Due to health safety concerns, employees of car rentals have been professionally trained and started to follow strict hygiene measures, as well as mandatory distance while working.
- Customers may find security seals on car doors.
- Renting can also be realized contactless.
- The most important change - rental prices have fallen.
Although the demand for car rental is expected to increase gradually, the crisis has already negatively affected various car rental companies, including the big ones such as Advantage or Hertz, which have recently applied for bankruptcy protection. The fact that Hertz has declared bankruptcy is more than unbelievable. It was considered a stable company that has been operating on the market for more than 100 years and has employed around 16,000 people. However, in times of pandemic, it is essential to respond properly to market changes. The lack of flexibility may have been fatal for Hertz.
In order to provide the best service, car rentals have started to implement various measures with the objective of assuring customers about the safety of rented vehicles. For instance, foreign car rentals have introduced new protocols that prescribe vehicle cleaning with a special focus on more than 20 areas where high contact is expected. This measure includes a thorough cleaning of the car interior with the recommended disinfectants. Cleaning applies in particular to the instrument panel, steering column, steering wheel, additional panels, center console, beverage holder, seat compartments as well as doors, door compartments, areas between the seats and the console and door frames. Increased vehicle cleaning started to be applied not only by the largest companies but almost all car rentals. Car rental companies have also been retraining their workforce to provide higher safety.
Last but not least innovation is the introduction of security seals on vehicles to certify their cleanliness. Placing security seals on car doors certifies that the vehicle has undergone a 15-point cleaning and disinfection process according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines. Since there is no universal way of marking the purity of vehicles, car rental companies prefer their own ways of certifying it. Some companies have also started to offer contact-less services using key boxes. This minimizes personal contact with other people and thus the safety of customers.
The wave of bankruptcies and the decline in demand for car rental have reduced car rental prices. How long can this last? Some experts say that demand, and therefore prices, will increase proportionally with the gradual easing of measures and the opening of borders of individual countries.
Although it is impossible to remove all the risks while renting a car, two things are certain: a car you rent during a pandemic will be a little safer and cheaper. Whether you plan to travel, move, or need to rent a car for any other purpose, now is the time.