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This is an odd, yet astute pairing of mobile-oriented startup, Silvercar, and a global distribution system, Travelport. This is a smart way for Silvercar to broaden its service to business travelers who are looking for a premium rental during their employee travels.
Business travelers who want to avoid rental-car lines and are looking for a relatively high-end vehicle can now rent Silvercar’s Audi A4s through certain travel agencies.
That’s because Travelport signed a multi-year deal to distribute Silvercar’s car rental services through Travelport’s Worldspan global distribution system. Silvercar has also been available through the rival Sabre global distribution system for several months.
With the Travelport deal, Silvercar’s fleet rentals are became available on Orbitz.com. That’s because Travelport powers some of the car rental functionality on the online travel agency.
Founded in 2012 with some $17 million in venture funding, Silvercar enables customers to book Audi A4s in Austin, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco through its iPhone and Android apps, and then choose their car at the airport by walking up to it and scanning a QR code on any of the vehicles to gain entry and start the rental.
The company says there are no lines before choosing the car, and then wireless signals transmit the fuel level and drop-off information back to the car when the customer is ready to return it.
Travel agents connected to Travelport’s Worldspan global distribution system can now reserve the Silvercar vehicles for their clients, a move that broadens the startup’s distribution to a wider array of business and leisure travelers.
Even when travel agents reserve a Silvercar vehicle, the mobile app comes into play. After making the reservation, the travel agent sends the customer instructions for downloading the Silvercar app.
After creating a profile, travelers enters their Travelport confirmation number into the app, and then at the airport they can scan their way into the vehicle.