If you need to book a car rental, what’s the first thing you do?
Chances are, you’ll simply pick up your smartphone. And we can say this confidently, because ever since 2012, smartphones have been the starting point for most online shopping journeys.
However, this doesn’t mean that your car rental operation will gain lots of online rental bookings by default. You still have to work for them, which is why we’ve decided to put together our five favourite tips for increasing bookings via this vitally important channel.
1. Make online booking obvious – and control those reviews!
Can people find your online booking option? More importantly, does it display flawlessly on any sized screen?
You have mere seconds to capture the attention of potential renters when they enter your website. That’s why your online booking option needs to be immediately evident and present on every page of the website.
It’s also important to get a handle on your reviews, because the booking journey usually starts with research into customer opinion. Thankfully, with the right system in place, you can capture bad reviews before they hit the internet and turn what might have been a PR problem into a positive experience by dealing there and then with any issues that have been raised.
2. Offer a seamless, contactless check-in, too
Self-service check-ins are more important than ever in 2021. They’re convenient for customers and enable rental firms to offer a super-safe contactless experience.
Make sure your online booking option is directly connected to a self check-in system which helps customers skip queues and drive away as quickly as possible.
3. Get blogging
If you started a blog for your website with great intentions but have since left it gathering digital dust, you’re not alone – it’s a common mistake.
However, the more you provide educational and timely content for your audience, the more you can promote the existence of your online booking option.
For instance, a well-written, unique blog that offers five tips for picking the right rental car may well push a few people the way of your online booking portal if you make that the call-to-action (CTA).
4. Send newsletters
You’ll undoubtedly be capturing the email addresses of renters, but are you doing anything with that data?
Good news! Now that you’re blogging (see tip 3), you have a great source of content for a regular newsletter.
Start making use of those email addresses and blogs by sending out a newsletter each month with your latest advice and offers. Oh, and the CTA? Well, that simply needs to be your online booking portal, of course.
5. Encourage return customers to book direct
Winning regular business is challenging but, in the long run, far more profitable than spending a fortune trying to find new customers.
To aid customer retention, make sure you provide an incentive for rebooking direct. Illustrate the ease with which people can do so on your website and send timely emails to remind them of your existence.
A small discount or additional service for booking direct will increase customer loyalty and raise the profile of your direct booking option (a great way to save on commissions from third parties).
None of the tips in this blog represent silver bullets or overnight successes; they take time to embed within your business.
However, once they are embedded, the results will be transformative, and you’ll have more bookings waiting in your inbox after a night’s rest than you ever thought possible.
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
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