7 key features to look for in a vehicle rental software for car and van rental operators

Updated: 4 days ago

Car or Van rental software is an essential component of the car rental business in that it helps minimize the burden associated with managing the business while enhancing overall productivity. It provides features and tools that will help a car rental business grow.

According to IBISWorld, the car rental industry market size is

expected to reach $36.5 billion in 2020.

Meanwhile, the global car rental revenue is

expected to reach $53.33 billion, Statista reported.

Indeed, vehicle rental service has and will always be an in-demand service. Yet, customer demand and technology changes too. Hence, your vehicle rental software should provide you with the tools needed to keep up with the changing car-rental landscape.

Key features of a car/van rental software

Here are 7 of the most essential features you should be aware of in vehicle rental solutions.

1. Reservation management

Enabling customers to make reservations through your own website or app around-the-clock is a definitive competitive advantage. The new-age car rental software connects you seamlessly to the end customer through a customer app or a whitelabel website. Your customer will no longer have to visit your business location personally during office hours to make a reservation.

The convenience of online booking is among the vehicle rental features and benefits that your customer will definitely appreciate. Also, a reliable car rental application such as Coastr will help eliminate duplicate and overlapping schedules, hence helping you be more efficient and allow for better overall customer experience.

Also offering a website based booking feature in a whitelabel way so as to preserve the car rental company’s brand.

The key distinguishing feature of Coastr is that it combines booking and reservation management - Currently these are two separate operations often manual and time consuming. A symptom of this process is overbooking which in some cases creates dissatisfied customers. Coastr platform eliminates this manual operation by matching fleet inventory against reservation automatically and saves time and improves fleet visibility for the rental operator. Booking management is very important and with Coastr car rental companies can not only book but also help eliminate overbooking and thus manage customer expectations.

2. Fleet/inventory management

Even for smaller vehicle rental companies, fleet management is an essential feature to have in their car rental platform. Ultimately, small businesses will add more vehicle type into their fleet to cater to the changing needs and preferences of customers.

As the business grows, the more challenging it is to manage the fleet of vehicles. Your car rental software should take this potential hurdle into consideration. Additionally, a plus feature is inventory management. It will allow you to keep track of assets and inventory on top of the maintenance schedule and ensure your business runs uninterrupted.

3. Revenue management

The car rental industry has a highly competitive and dynamic nature, making it crucial for operators to enhance their revenue management and price optimization.

Traditionally, car rental companies set business rules and prices through an exhaustive process of anticipating the fees customers are willing to pay for products and services. They have to consider competitor pricing, seasonality of demand, type of vehicles that vary in demand, type of customers, location, availability, and more. Since this is a tedious process, a platform like Coastr provides users a flexible pricing engine to easily set the prices based on those factors.

To keep up with the digital age's charge for on-demand, personalized and omnichannel ways, it's also essential to consider AI insights. It gives you dynamic pricing and drives revenue per unit, utilization, and rates.

4. Damage reporting

It is unavoidable. Vehicle damage can occur due to accidents and lack of proper handling from car renters. Damages are costly and can impact the rental company’s bottom line. Not to mention the conflict and damage to customer relationships it could cost.

And it will be difficult for a car rental company to handle such circumstances, especially if there is a need to file insurance claims. Coastr is currently developing a unique on-demand fleet insurance which when ready will be unparalleled in the vehicle rental market. Coastr has won the Scottish Enterprise’s Smart Innovation Grant for a £150K project to develop an AI-based on-demand fleet insurance solution for car rental companies. Coastr aims to use vehicle usage data to arrive at fair insurance rates to reduce the costs borne by vehicle rental businesses.

It is important, therefore, that vehicle rental businesses have a good documentation process of the car’s condition before and after handing it over to the car renter. Documentations may include photos or videos of the vehicle’s check out and check-in condition. A car rental solution should have the ability to store this documentation and other data detailing the car’s condition, maintenance record, accident record, and other relevant information. The Coastr for Partner app will enable the driver picking or dropping the vehicle to record any damages seen and upload it instantly to avoid disputed claims later on with the customer.

5. Ease of use and interconnectivity

Vehicle rental software can be considered to have a good design if its interface is user-friendly and intuitive. Users should find it easy to navigate through the interface with easy to understand descriptions in as few clicks as possible. Complex and confusing software is a magnet for user error and can drag productivity down. In addition, it should drive automation of processes and support integration with other software to provide a seamless experience to the user.

6. Billing, invoicing and reporting

For your car or van rental business to enhance revenue potentials, you should have an efficient billing, invoicing and reporting system. A car rental software can help you streamline and automate your billing process. Essential to a good billing is keeping an accurate record of fuel, maintenance, and related costs.

Your system should also be capable of generating and sending out detailed invoices and customer receipts. Not only it will help your business realize expected revenue but enhance accuracy for audit trails.

In addition, it should enable you to utilise the information in the system to make effective decision through well presented Management Information or reports

7. Vehicle tracking and immobilisation

Your fleet of vehicles is your most important asset. While it is expected you have established enough measures to ensure that you are dealing with trustworthy customers, a built-in vehicle tracking and immobilisation feature is still essential.

Along with monitoring the speed, exact location, vehicle tracking allows rental operators to monitor their vehicles, track misplaced vehicles and be notified of any unauthorised usage in order to take necessary remedial actions like immobilising the vehicle remotely.

8. Contactless rental services and keyless entry

New age rental services such as contactless rental and car sharing require innovation and digitisation of end to end processes. A digital car rental operations management system can support the delivery of contactless rental through capabilities such as keyless entry, digital rental agreements, digital signature and remote customer verification which is further enabled through use of mobile based technologies.

We are confident that this list of car rental app features is comprehensive enough to help you find the best car rental solution for you. However, this analysis and guide of car rental software prepared by FinancesOnline should provide you with a more in-depth look into the features of online car rental systems and their benefits.

The need to travel keeps car rental businesses afloat

The car rental industry has time and again proven its resilience and it is expected to continue growing for years to come. In fact, despite the pandemic, experts are upbeat about the future of the car rental industry, expecting the global rental market to grow 11.6 percent in 2022 from $79.5 billion in 2015.

This is because people need to travel, whether for business or pleasure. And so car rental will remain an essential service. Hence, you need to find the best car rental software that would be your partner in growing your business and enhancing customer experience.

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