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Avis Budget Group Surpasses 200,000 Connected Vehicle Mark



WHY IT RATES: Avis makes it easier than ever for travelers to enjoy a rental car featuring the latest in industry technology.—Donald Wood, Breaking News Senior Writer.

Avis Budget Group announced today that it has surpassed the 200,000 connected car threshold globally, a significant marker on its journey to fully connecting its fleet of more than 600,000 vehicles.

To date, the company has seen numerous benefits, including reduced costs thanks to new operational efficiencies; increased revenue from better recovery of costs; happier customers thanks to more responsive and personalized technology; and new business models enabled by both the connected platform and vehicle data.

“We’re seeing not only near-term, bottom-line benefits from our connected initiative, but also setting the stage for long-term growth by unlocking new opportunities for products, services and partnerships previously impossible,” said Arthur Orduna, chief innovation officer of Avis Budget Group.

Operational Benefits

A fully connected fleet increases operational efficiency for Avis Budget Group by providing greater visibility into fleet usage and access to information in real-time. Connected car data, combined with analytics, provides business-critical information across numerous aspects of fleet management, including inventory, tire pressure, fuel levels mileage, vehicle location and ready-state, which leads to a more efficient workforce, better maintained vehicles, and ultimately a better customer experience.

Customer Benefits

In the past year, Avis Budget Group introduced new app features to improve the overall customer experience. It piloted 3-D imaging of vehicles to automate the process of inspecting the vehicle for damage, freeing the customer to get on with the trip. Customers in connected cars save time because they can bypass the exit gate and don’t need an attendant to check the car back in upon return – the data is automatically sent to the accounting system and a bill is generated electronically in near real time.

Earlier this year, J.D. Power named the Avis mobile app the highest rated car rental app, while its scores topped all other travel-related apps as well.

New Business Models

With a growing number of vehicles connected to both the cloud and to mobile applications, Avis Budget Group has been able to create new revenue streams through new business models including Fleet Management as a Service, Data as a Service and its Developer Program. The company is providing fleet services to rideshare providers, including Uber, Lyft and Via.

The company has partnered with Otonomo to develop new markets for aggregated, anonymized vehicle data, while also exploring opportunities with public sector and academic institutions to solve problems like congestion and emissions. Through its developer program it is creating new opportunities for third party service providers, like Arrive (which integrated its parking service into the Avis app), to improve the overall customer experience while generating new revenue opportunities for the company.

“We’ve really just scratched the surface of the potential of our connected initiative,” said Orduna. “We look forward to unlocking even more possibilities in 2020 and beyond.”

Avis Budget Group works directly with OEMs including Ford, Toyota, GM and Groupe PSA as well as third-party hardware companies including I.D. Systems and Continental to connect vehicles to its cloud-based platform.

SOURCE: Avis Budget Group press release.

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Car Rental & Rail

Brightline Reports Substantial Ridership Growth to Begin 2020



WHY IT RATES: The growing company’s Travel Agent Program provides 20 percent commission to registered travel agents.—Patrick Clarke, TravelPulse Senior Writer

Brightline has released ridership numbers for the month of January 2020, showing an increase of 56 percent compared to January 2019, and the third straight month of ridership growth compared to the same month the previous year.

Since November 2019, Brightline has exceeded the monthly 100,000 ridership milestone and January 2020 marked an all-time high. Brightline kicked off 2020 with record ridership and connected the South Florida megaregion with 30,000-plus passenger trips over Super Bowl Week alone.

To put this in perspective, it is equivalent to removing nearly 14,000 one-way car trips from our city’s streets and highways. This is a reduction in trips reduced over 600,000 vehicle traffic miles which otherwise would have consumed nearly 25,000 gallons of gas and emitted almost 500,000 pounds of CO2 into our air.

“Since Brightline opened its station in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, our destination has enjoyed unparalleled accessibility—opening up more options for leisure and business travelers as well as residents throughout South Florida,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches. “Recently, with Super Bowl LIV in our backyard, we also saw an influx of visitors from across the region who came to experience our Super Bowl Host Committee activities. We look forward to continuing the momentum during the MLB Spring Training season and the increasing number of conventions and meetings being held in The Palm Beaches throughout the year. The addition of Brightline’s forthcoming Boca Raton station also will reaffirm our southern gateway city’s status as a major corporate center, meetings and leisure destination.”

The weekend of February 14, Brightline connected the marine industry and boating aficionados alike to the Miami Yacht Show and Miami Boat Show, many traveling from points north of South Florida—parking in West Palm Beach to take the train.

Brightline’s Train-to-Port Package continues to gain popularity among guests and recently had a cruising couple book their third package in less than a year. The train’s Travel Agent Program provides a generous 20 percent commission to registered travel agents when booking reservations on Brightline.

SOURCE: Brightline press release.

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