Our relationship with automobiles has shifted radically in a few decades – innovations like GPS, electric charging, and on-demand ridesharing are changing how we think about cars. That's true not just of car ownership; it's even affecting how we rent cars. 

Avis Budget Group, which includes their three most-recognised brands Avis, Budget, and Zipcar, has stayed ahead of that curve, introducing new features in recent years like connected cars, voice commerce functionality, and on-demand service. That commitment to innovation seems to be paying off – in February, the company reported its ninth consecutive year of revenue growth. 

Rental Arithmetic

But exactly how does a 73-year-old corporation keep up with the times, let alone stay ahead of them? By always improving the traveller experience, anticipating shifts in customer expectations, and staying at the cutting edge of technological innovation. In fact, Avis doesn't consider itself a rental car company at all, preferring "mobility solutions provider."

As Avis' Vice President of Fleet Ventures Ohad Zeira said, reinventing the rental industry means "stripping anything that is a legacy mechanism that we as consumers have gotten used to." That means making the rental car experience easier, more convenient, more seamless and more personalised.

Staying Connected

Today, Avis Budget Group's global fleet has more than 100,000 connected cars, which allow customers to manage their entire rental from the Avis smartphone app. The Avis app gives users remarkable control and customisation of the rental experience – not only can they unlock their car from the app, customers can also exchange or upgrade their car before arriving, return their vehicle, locate the car, and a lot more.  

In August, 2018, the company reported that usage of the Avis app had grown to "more than 1.5 million transactions by more than 400,000 unique customers and has increased customer satisfaction ratings by 20 percent." The initiative is proving such a success that Avis has set a goal of having a fully connected fleet by 2020. 

Voice Response

In 2017 Avis launched an Amazon Alexa skill, allowing users to make car reservations and more, simply by asking Alexa "I need a car at La Guardia Airport at 9:00 a.m. this Friday." And in July of last year, Avis introduced plans to reward Amazon customers who book an Avis vehicle using their Amazon account with Amazon Pay -- offering discounts and Amazon.com Gift Cards. 

"As digital technology evolves we are able to offer increasingly seamless travel experiences for our customers, and hope these great incentives encourage more people to try our new offerings, including our Amazon Alexa booking tool," Beth Kinerk, Senior Vice President, Sales, said. "We are excited to work with Amazon to offer their customers a valuable benefit when they rent with Avis."

The good news for Amazon customers, if you want to rent a car with Avis, it’s not only easy, but you can save money using your Amazon account. Save on your next car rental here