There’s nothing worse than a sparse booking diary in the car rental industry – particularly when the reasons for it are seemingly beyond your control.
However, this story recently caught our eye. During the Coronavirus pandemic, one inventive car rental firm serving Omaha’s Eppley Field in the US decided to reach out to an entirely new market – the food delivery sector. The result? An influx of fresh new business, right when it was needed (not to mention a lovely bit of PR, too).
If you’re running a strong business, one thing is for sure – when it gets quiet, it will eventually get busy again. You just need to get smart with marketing during those quiet periods.
Here are five car rental marketing tips you can’t survive without.
1. Position your brand
You’re a car rental firm that focuses on delivering a great customer experience. You might be independent, a franchisee or part of a national chain.
But where are you positioning yourself in the market? If you have any sway on that particular element of your business, it’s a good idea to illustrate that you have some form of specialism. It might be small, compact cars, zero limit on mileage or a penchant for providing people with prestige vehicles. Whatever it is, ensure that element of your brand is front-and-centre in all of your marketing output.
2. Get social
Research suggests that over half of social browsers use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to research before spending money on a product or service.
How active are you on social media, right now? If you’re as quiet as a mouse, you’re missing out on a brilliant opportunity to engage with a wide audience.
Social media marketing takes time, but despite what people say, you can find success by posting organically. It’s all about building your online presence, giving your company a voice and being there whenever your brand is mentioned.
If you have a bit more time on your hands at the moment, spend some of it on developing your social influence and persona. Just make sure you keep the posting up when things get busy again.
3. Retarget your fans
It’s thought that just 18% of companies focus on retaining existing customers. And that’s a shame, because acquiring new customers is an expensive business.
If you’ve been in the car rental game for any amount of time, your desire to provide a brilliant service will inevitably have won you some fans. Those fans should represent a profitable source of on-going business; ‘low-hanging fruit’, if you like.
When things go quiet and it feels right to do so, reach out to those existing customers and retarget them with new offers. Use any excuse, too; perhaps your fleet has been updated or you’re running a winter promotion. Whatever it is, use email marketing and direct calls to squeeze more out of those guys.
4. Advertise on the platform your audience uses
There are lots of route to market these days. But, where are your customers most likely to be found? For instance, there’s little point in advertising on Facebook if your audience demographic is more likely to be found on LinkedIn.
When you have more time to invest in marketing, revisit your buyer persona, or create one if you haven’t done so already. This is a virtual representation of your ideal client – the sort who will pay full rate, become a regular and recommend you to their friends.
Think about their lifestyle, habits and the ways in which they interact with the world. Where are they likely to be found if you want to reach out to them with a marketing message?
Don’t just throw your marketing budget into Google Ads – consider the best route to your audience. For instance, it might even be an old-fashioned mail drop, so don’t overlook the more traditional routes to market, either.
5. Get friendly with local suppliers
Who in your immediate vicinity offers a service that relates to your own? For instance, the independent hotel on the same street as you might relish a car rental partner as an added value service for guests. Equally, flight providers or local attractions might be up for some joint marketing.
Co-marketing of this kind is a great way to extend the reach and influence of your brand without too much effort on your part. So, go forth and work those local relationships!
It’s tough when things are quiet in this industry, but, thankfully, it’s one of the most resilient sectors.If you implement just one of the marketing strategies above, you should see an improvement in your ability to compete with those around you and win plenty of regular customers.
Thermeon’s 30 years of global experience in car rental software gives us the skills to understand your requirements, building systems that suit. CARS+ is the complete software solution to link your rental business directly to customers, partners and brokers. Call us today at: Europe, Middle East & Africa: +44 1293 864 334 / Americas: +1 (714) 731-9191 / Australia/Asia: +61 2 9846 0860 / New Zealand: +64 22 177 6242 Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org