The car rental industry has experienced a remarkable revolution with the advent of digital technologies and the emergence of apps like Enterprise and Hertz. These platforms have fundamentally changed the way people rent vehicles, offering unparalleled convenience, accessibility, and streamlined experiences.
In this step-by-step guide, I’ll take you through the process of building car rental apps similar to Enterprise or Hertz. I will also explore some of the issues the app will help you solve, essential features as well as those that can add a competitive edge in today's market.
Let’s take a quick look at some market statistics first.
Rent-a-car market statistics
You may be asking if building a car rental app is worth the effort in this day and age. Consider these numbers for clarity:
- Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) 10,5%: according to Allied Market Research, the global car rental market was valued at $92.92 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $214.04 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 12.5% during the forecast period. This growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for rental cars due to the rise in tourism and corporate travel that recover from the pandemic, as well as urbanization.
- Private car ownership has dropped by 80% among millennials in developed countries, according to AlliedMarketResearch. This is linked to the rise in car rental, as well as increased demand for ride hailing services, car sharing, and station-based mobility.
- By 2027, the number of Monthly Active Users (MAU) of car apps is expected to grow by 19.4%, according to Apptopia.
These statistics illustrate the immense potential and demand for car rental apps, making it a potentially lucrative market for entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry. By leveraging digital technologies and incorporating essential features, it is possible to build a successful app and transform your car rental business to meet the needs of today’s customers.
Problems that a custom car rental app can help you solve
The car rental industry faces a number of challenges, but some of them can be effectively addressed by digitizing critical parts of your business with a dedicated car rental app. See if the below common problems are any of yours – if you can tick some of them off, we’d happily discuss how we can help you build a dedicated car rental solution.
Some rental car systems still rely on manual processes, including phone calls, paperwork, and in-person interactions. That’s not how modern businesses work. Digital apps streamline these processes for you, eliminate the delays, the paperwork and manual errors. A dedicated app automates the booking procedure, so both you and your customers will be able to handle them easily and conveniently.
Limited access to data
Without a dedicated app, your customers may have limited knowledge about available vehicles, rental locations, pricing, and policies. By building a car rental app like Hertz you’ll be able to provide your customers with comprehensive and up-to-date information, allowing them to make informed decisions and effortlessly compare options.
Time-consuming check-in and check-out
Traditional check-in and check-out processes in car rental involve lengthy paperwork, verification, and physical inspections. Car rental software development can streamline these processes by enabling customers to complete necessary documentation online, upload required documents, and conduct virtual inspections and reducing waiting times.
Unclear pricing and hidden costs
Transparent pricing is crucial in the car rental industry. However, traditional rental systems are often confusing to customers who worry about hidden costs or unclear pricing structures. A dedicated app can help you provide this information in a clear and detailed manner (including rental rates, additional fees, insurance options, and fuel policies). This transparency builds trust and avoids unpleasant surprises for customers.
Limited availability of vehicles
Customers are often challenged to find a vehicle that suits their needs, especially during peak seasons or in specific locations. With a dedicated car rental app, you can provide them with real-time information on vehicle availability, helping them locate and reserve their preferred vehicles in advance.
Complicated payment systems
Traditional payment methods in car rental often involve cash payments or credit card transactions at physical rental locations. A dedicated app can integrate secure credit card processing gateways, enabling customers to make online payments conveniently. This eliminates the need for physical transactions and enhances the overall rental experience.
Limited customer support
Customers may find it difficult to reach customer support or get timely assistance when they are faced with vehicle issues. A rent-a-car app can include features such as in-app chat support, email support, or a dedicated helpline, ensuring prompt and efficient customer service.
Vehicle return hassles
Returning a rental vehicle can be a cumbersome process, involving manual inspections, paperwork, and coordination with rental staff. A dedicated car rental software can simplify this process by allowing customers to submit virtual check-in reports, upload images, and complete the required documentation digitally. This is a great advantage for both customers and rental agencies.
Lack of personalization
Traditional car rental systems often lack personalized experiences and loyalty programs for customers. A dedicated app can incorporate loyalty programs, rewards, and personalized offers based on customer preferences and rental history, fostering customer loyalty and satisfaction.
The benefits of building a custom car rental app
Apart from solving some of the common business challenges in the car rental segment, a dedicated rent-a-car application can help you unlock the below advantages.
Expanded market reach
Developing a car rental app like Hertz allows businesses to tap into a broader market. With the proliferation of smartphones and increasing internet penetration, more people are relying on mobile apps for their daily needs. This means that by establishing your business' presence online, you can reach a wider audience and expand your customer base. Tech-savvy clients will certainly appreciate this, and you’ll gain a competitive advantage.
Convenience and accessibility
Car rental app development will help you go digital, bringing convenience and simplifying interaction with your business. Users can access the app from their smartphones or tablets, allowing them to book a rental car regardless of their location (which can help you expand your customer base as well). Without the need for physical visits to rental locations, users can save valuable time and effort and you can reduce your human resource needs.
Enhanced customer experience
A car rental app offers a range of features that significantly enhance the customer experience. For instance, if you integrate GPS tracking, users will be able to locate nearby rental locations and obtain directions, ensuring seamless navigation. Additionally, push notifications provide real-time updates on booking confirmations, rental status, and any changes to reservations. Such features contribute to a smooth and transparent rental experience that boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Efficient car management
An app for car rental offers efficient car management capabilities that benefit both your customers and your business. For car rental companies like Hertz, the app enables streamlined inventory management, accurate tracking of vehicles, as well as data on availability, locations, and pricing. You can use that information to optimize resource allocation and improve operational efficiency. At the same time, users can easily browse through the app's car inventory, select their preferred vehicle, and make bookings effortlessly. Such streamlined processes reduce administrative errors and enhance overall customer satisfaction.
With expanded market reach, you’re likely to observe a substantial revenue boost. Since a car rental app allows for seamless integration of payment processing gateways, you can not only enable secure and convenient online transactions, but also offer a hassle-free payment experience. This can attract more customers and encourage repeat bookings. Moreover, the app can help you streamline additional revenue sources, such as optional add-ons, insurance packages, loyalty programs, etc.; enhancing the overall value proposition for customers.
How to build a car rental app in 6 steps
Step 1: Investigate the market
Conduct thorough market research to analyze existing car rental apps, including Hertz. Study their features, user experiences, and customer feedback. This research will provide insights into successful strategies, identify potential gaps in the market, and enable you to create a unique value proposition.
Step 2: Define your requirements
Your research findings should give you an idea about the specific requirements and features you want to include in your rent-a-car app. These requirements will guide you through the remainder of the process. Note that to succeed in a competitive market, rent-a-car apps need to incorporate essential features that ensure a seamless user experience while also integrating unique functionalities that set them apart from competitors.
Must-have car rental app features:
- User registration and management
You must allow users to create accounts (keep the process intuitive and straightforward), manage personal information, including payment methods and view their rental history. This feature enables a personalized experience and streamlines future transactions.
- Vehicle availability
This feature provides a comprehensive catalog of available vehicles. Users should be able to browse through vehicle details, including make, model, year, rental rates, and images. Don’t forget to include filtering options to facilitate easy searching for what your customers are looking for.
- Booking management
A robust booking system allows users to select rental dates, times, and locations and make reservations within the app. Users should have the ability to view, modify, or cancel their bookings, ensuring flexibility and control over their rental experience.
- Geolocation services
Integrating GPS functionality enables users to locate nearby rental shop locations, as well as pickup and drop-off points. With this feature, users can easily find the most convenient and accessible rental options based on their current location.
- Secure payment integration
Just as any app that processes, rent-a-car apps must include secure payment processing within the app. This feature should support various payment methods and ensure the privacy and security of users' financial information.
- Push notifications
Notifications are one of the best ways to keep your users informed about various aspects of their transactions. Push notifications can be used to send booking confirmations, reminders, updates on rental status, or promotional offers. Make sure they’re timely and relevant though, as too many may in fact annoy your users.
- Rating system
Implementing a ratings and reviews system allows users to share their rental experiences and helps others make informed decisions. This feature builds trust and transparency in the app's community, encouraging high-quality service and accountability.
Additional rent-a-car app features for a competitive edge
- Loyalty programs
Integrating a loyalty program incentivizes users to make repeat transactions with a given app. Rewards such as points, discounts, or exclusive perks for frequent rentals or referrals can create additional value for customers and foster loyalty.
- Vehicle tracking
Offering real-time vehicle tracking enhances the user experience and provides peace of mind. Users can locate their rental cars, check fuel levels, or monitor mileage through the app, ensuring convenience and efficiency.
- Keyless access
Implementing keyless entry technology allows users to unlock and start rental cars using their smartphones. This advanced feature eliminates the need for physical keys, making it a lot more convenient to rent and return cars. It solves the problem of impractical and time-consuming key handovers.
- In-app messaging
Facilitating seamless communication between your business and your customers can greatly improve customer satisfaction. With this feature, users can seek quick assistance or clarify details during the rental process, which is a great boost to the overall customer experience.
- Advanced search
Including advanced search options such as filtering by specific vehicle features (e.g., car type, transmission, fuel efficiency) helps users find their desired car options more efficiently.
- Integration with travel services
Collaborating with other travel-related services, such as flight or hotel booking platforms, allows for bundled offers or seamless travel experiences. Integration can provide users with comprehensive travel solutions, increasing the app's value proposition.
Step 3: Work on the design
Create a beautiful UI that will enhance the UX. The process involves creating wireframes and prototypes that map out the app's flow and structure. It’s key to build a tool that is simple and intuitive to ensure customer satisfaction, but it’s equally important to take note of the needs of your target group and address them accordingly. If you require support with identifying your target groups, our product workshop should help you with the task.
Step 4: MVP development
MVP, or a Minimum Viable Product allows you to develop the product in its basic form with just the essential features. It is then subsequently released to validate its unique value proposition and to collect feedback that can influence further development. On the server-side, develop the necessary components like the database, APIs, and web services, ensuring robust security measures to protect the data and transactions. For mobile front-end development, use frameworks like React Native or Flutter for cross-platform compatibility. You will also have to think about implementing a comprehensive car inventory management system with advanced search and filtering options as well as integrating a GPS functionality for location tracking and directions.
Step 5: Test your app
Once the car rental app development is complete, it is crucial to thoroughly test its functionality, usability, and performance. This includes conducting both manual and automated testing to identify and address any bugs or glitches. It is important to test the app on various devices and operating systems to ensure compatibility and optimize the user experience.
Step 6: Deploy and grow
Having successfully tested the app and implemented the necessary fixes, you’re ready to deploy it to Google Play, App Store and any other relevant app marketplaces. During this process, it is essential to adhere to their guidelines to ensure a smooth submission and approval process. Finally, develop an effective marketing strategy for your mobile app to effectively target your intended user base.
Building an app for car rental with RST Software
Car rental mobile app development brings a host of benefits, such as convenience, enhanced customer experiences, expanded market reach, efficient car management, and increased revenue generation. With its user-friendly interface and mobile accessibility, such an app can revolutionize the traditional, manual car rental businesses, catering to the evolving needs and expectations of modern-day customers.
By embracing technological advancements and creating a seamless rental experience, you can stay ahead of your competitors and thrive in a highly competitive market. If you’d like to know how we can help you with car rental app development, do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com and I’ll connect you with one of our dedicated experts. We also have dedicated professionals for temporary hire should you need to supplement your in-house team.