Rentalcars Connect hosted over 100 travel firms in Edinburgh at a first partners conference since its integration into parent Booking Group. Lee Hayhurst reports
Rentalcars Connect will use its influence and scale to drive up consumer experience standards in the sector, trade partners at its annual conference were told last week.
Speaking at the event in Edinburgh, Mark Slater head of global supply at BookingGo, an internal umbrella brand encompassing the Booking Group’s ground transportation brands, said it was looking to improve the consumer experience.
A key problem in the traditional car hire sector remains the pick up process with lengthy queue times and competition driving down advertised prices to “ridiculous levels” and suppliers having to make money from often confusing add-ons like insurance products at the desk.
Slater said: “There is a hell of a lot of friction involved sometimes. We have been working hard to improve that customer experience with technology but also with relationships with our supply partners.
“Some engage more than others. From our perspective we are very selective about where we allocate bookings [traffic] which is how we drive that behaviour, to do the right things for the consumer. We are driving the industry forward in trying to clean up and do the right thing.
“We have scaled to a position of strength. We are now looking at the whole journey to remove that friction from consumers.”
Slater said Rentalcars Connect was “keeping an eye” on the peer-to-peer sector in ground transportation and working with partners although he said monetising the model was a struggle.
But he said Rentalcars Connect would make sure it was at the fore in terms of an aggregation player in these emerging markets as the traditions car hire sector evolves.
“We will play in that area but it’s all about the customer experience and making sure if we are going to offer this at scale we have the ability for our customers to have a really fantastic experience.
“As it stands at the moment, if you are coming into an airport hub we think the traditional car rental model is a much better experience for our customers.”