the Ultimate car rental marketing guide


All businesses need a solid marketing strategy that will help give them an edge over their competitors. Business marketing has undergone many changes throughout the years with the ever-changing currents in tech and social behavior. 

The days of solely depending on conventions, brochures and, TV ads to promote your business are long gone; digital marketing is widely used across the globe today. It does not mean that having a website and a few other social media pages will do. 

Car rental businesses are hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, with an efficient marketing strategy, your business can generate more revenue. The main goal of your marketing strategy is to convey why your car rental business is better than your competitors and what services you provide sets you apart from the rest.

Here is a guide to what tools you will need to come up with a solid marketing plan for your car rental.

1. What is your identity?

Corporate identity can oftentimes be easily overlooked; however, it is a crucial aspect of how you market your business. Take the time to think about what your business represents and the services you offer, these can help you determine the identity of your business and the customer base you want to target.

Have a clear cut, simple, but straightforward message of what your car rental company:

  • Represents 
  • The services it provides
  • The fleet, 
  • What makes your business stand out?
  • Quality
  • Price point

2. Your Location

Where you plan to set up shop is a determining factor of how successful your business will be. Close to airports, major bus stops, and train stations are an obvious choice, however, residential areas and cities are good options too.

Study the locale, see if there is a demand for rental cars within that area, and familiarize yourself with the locality. This will help you when you need to promote your business and help form a good relationship with potential customers.

3. The Website

Now that you have your corporate identity and location sorted, the next best thing to do is to have a website. All businesses are going digital, and the industry is very competitive, having a well-designed website can help your company stand out and usher in more customers.

Your website should be a one-stop-shop for all your potential customers, it must convey what your company is about, what are the services you offer, your corporate identity at a glance, basically it will act as your ‘elevator pitch’. This will give potential customers a good idea of what your business offers and direct them to the services they require.

Your website must be engaging and it will be a plus if you include a reservations plug-in allowing customers to make online bookings and reservations. Your website can also be connected to a car rental software management system and/or car rental app.

You can also use the site for media posts like blogs that help with mediating traffic to your site. Also, note that you should make your website mobile-optimized for smart-phone users.

4. Social Media

Social media is one of the most effective ways to market your business as your business can reach a larger audience. Having a social media presence will also show that your company is staying relevant to the times.

Using social media apps and sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook will allow you to directly engage with your clients in a casual but professional way and help you build a personal bond with your customers. Using social media to host campaigns and post ads can help promote your business to potential customers as almost everyone uses social media nowadays.

5. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital tool in digital marketing. SEO makes sure your company’s visibility is high when people type in keywords related to car rental into Google. You must hire an expert digital marketing team to make sure your business pops up first on search engines.

The best way to ensure that your website appears first in the search results is through blog articles. You can have a blog on your site that can be updated every week; make sure that the blog posts have trending keywords that will help your site stay relevant and direct more traffic to your site.

6. Collaborations, Competitions, and Offers

You can collaborate with other businesses or even content creators to promote your service. It is a great way to advertise your company to people and give back to your loyal customers.

Hosting competitions on social media is a great way of creating a positive buzz that will make people engage with your business and gain a chance to experience your services in a fun way. The winner can be awarded a voucher for a free rental they can use for a couple of days.

You can use this feedback to understand what your customers expect and what they liked about the experience. It can help the business in the future as you can apply any new knowledge gained from this direct customer engagement.

7. Mobile App

Many car rental companies have an app which allows customers to manage their reservations from their smart device. A mobile app is a versatile and innovative strategy to follow during these uncertain times as contactless reservations are in demand. Touch-less car rental may prevail even after the COVID-19 pandemic as many prefer online reservations to over-the-counter bookings. 

Features that may be available in a mobile app: 

  • Online reservations

Customers can make reservations from anywhere via their smart device. The reservation is made possible via a car rental script integrated into the website. All policies, agreements, and other resources should be available on the app or, customers can be directed to the website.

  • Online transactions

All transactions can be made online via a card payment, this alleviates any human-to-human contact.

  • Manage pick-up and drop-off

Automated pick-up and drop-off SMS reminders and/or emails can be sent to the customer via integration to car rental software.

  • Direct customer services

The app can also direct the customer-to-customer services whenever they have any queries or require help.

Other features include; a list of all vehicle types and classes available, the option to change or cancel a booking, estimated fare, and ratings. There are white-label mobile apps available from software companies specializing in auto rental software that can be customized to fit your brand.

Creating an app shows that your company is innovative and customer-centric, giving your rental business an edge over your competitors. Make sure the app is user friendly and not cluttered with too many features. 

8. Car Rental software

Last but not least, vehicle rental software is what determines all of the above. A business must run smoothly for it to be promoted, and car rental software does just that.

Fleet management software offers many features:

· GPS tracking  

· Vehicle status 

· Fuel consumption

· Driver behavior

· Automatic SMS alerts 

· Online reservation plug-in

· Maintenance log

· Insurance claim management

· Secure accounts management

· Billing and invoicing

· Customer service

· Fleet repairs and cleaning schedule 

 There are many car rental software providers and packages, you have to choose what fits your business needs best. If you are a start-up rental business opting for an affordable software package is your best bet. However, it may have fewer features than the best car rental software, but this does not mean it will not help your fleet run smoothly.

The car rental management software can keep track of almost everything related to your fleet. Using management software allows your customers to interact with a user friendly and secure platform that keeps everything in check. 

Bonus tips:

Car rental businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses may even be temporarily closed due to travel restrictions and lockdowns. However, there are things you can still do to promote your business and be ready for when things get back to normal.

· Create a marketing plan for the future, use whatever knowledge you have gained from this experience to make a foolproof marketing strategy. 

· Connect with your loyal customers, check-up on them, this shows that you care, making a positive impression amongst your customers which will encourage them to use your services.

· This would be a good time to make any repairs, just because your fleet is idle does not mean maintenance is not required. 

· If your business is running, then promote how safe your cars are for use. Adhere to strict decontamination guidelines, offer contact-less facilities for reservation, pick-up and drop-off, include a discount or upgrade if possible, to boost customer morale.

· Use your social media platforms to educate people on COVID-19 and how your employees are taking the necessary precautions to ensure that your customers get a car that is safe to use.

Successful marketing campaigns depend on healthy businesses; use all the tools and resources at your disposal to reach higher than your competitors. Keep customer safety and satisfaction at the forefront and aim at using innovative strategies and tech to improve your business.