Thursday, August 02, 2007

Blue-sky stuff about car hire

This week's Travolution column for our sister title Travel Weekly, which kind of follows on from our post about Qantas last week:

Technology, coupled with the flexibility of the web, is continually pushing the boundaries of what the consumer demands from travel providers.

Qantas, for example, will fill its new Airbus A380 – due in August 2008 – with all sorts of goodies for passengers in every class.

Customers will be able to surf the web, check e-mail and browse destination guides from the Lonely Planet. Laptop owners will be able to do all these things anywhere on the aircraft thanks to wireless access.

This kind of service makes sense for a long-haul carrier such as Qantas, but how will other areas of the industry boost their own offering?

Customer service-driven technology is already everywhere in hotels. But, on a recent holiday to Spain, I was struck by how much opportunity there is for car hire companies.

Family May hired a vehicle via the user-friendly (it even won a Travolution Award earlier this year, so the industry likes what they do as well) and had a hassle-free experience – both administratively and on the Spanish roads.

But in terms of boosting the customer experience I wondered whether more could be done. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future a GPS system could be pre-populated with the location of our villa, local attractions (restaurants, museums etc), supermarkets and petrol stations.

Better still: how about the car stereo having all the songs from my MP3 player already installed thanks to an easy upload carried out via the web before leaving the UK?

A lot of this stuff will undoubtedly be rolled out to high-end customers pretty soon (the technology is just around the corner).

But if Qantas is planning technological advances of its own for all passengers, including the great unwashed of economy class, I am looking forward to driving a cute five-door hatchback with all the latest gizmos reasonably soon.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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Anonymous said...

you'll be wanting your own Chauffer drive as well so you can admire the views as well as listening to your tunes, next Kev

van sales said...

I like to hire a car when I'm abroad on my holidays. But I noticed that in different countries there are some specifics. So, if you want to hire a good and cheap car, you should find much information about companies in this place.

van man said...

But not in all countries you can find such a big choice of car hire companies. That's why sometimes you can't chose, you just take one and can't change.

Anonymous said...

Those are great ideas, and you've got a good point Kevin. Airlines are constantly striving to think up ideas to improve service, so why not car rental companies. I work for a car hire brokerage called Auto Europe, and they're always trying to think up new ways to entice new customers. Every time they launch something new I write about it on the blog: - so look out for launches that might make more use of gadgets in future.