Skift Take

Making the car rental experience more pleasant requires making cars available where business travelers actually are, along with allowing them to digitally customize their ride.

Why can’t renting a car at the airport be as easy as hailing an Uber or Lyft ride?

We’re all familiar with the most annoying parts of renting a car. Ending up with an old Hyundai instead of that Mustang you requested, or waiting in line for an hour after a long-delayed flight, can sour a business trip when it’s just getting started. Car rental companies are working to remove the common pain points faced by business travelers, and mobile apps are key to fixing the problems. Check out my chat with Avis Budget Group’s Jeff Kaelin below on how the company is working to bring the car rental experience into the digital age.

We’ve also got an epic deep dive into Google’s plan to turn Google Maps into a world-eating superapp (it might already be, actually). If your travelers are already using Google for everything, well, they’re not going to stop any time soon.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @sheivach

— Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor

Airlines, Hotels and Innovation

Improving the Car Rental Experience Starts With What Biz Travelers Want: As car rental providers get ready to take on the next decade, a stronger investment in digital technology seems to finally be paying off. Business travelers can look forward to a much better experience going forward when they have to rent a car.

Google Maps Is Ready to Transform the World of Superapps: Consumers in the West reach almost reflexively for the Google Maps app as the service becomes a nearly ubiquitous utility despite a dearth of messaging and payments. Whether it evolves into the next superapp may depend on whether users really want a do-everything app and the mood of regulators seeking to break up big tech.

How Airlines Decide What You’ll Eat and Drink On Board: With their onboard food and drink programs, airlines want to keep passengers happy. But they also want to keep costs reasonable.

Uber’s Airport Rides Still Small Part of Business, IPO Filing Reveals: Expect new light on the importance of airport rides to the fortunes of Uber to prompt more airport authorities and ground transportation companies to pressure the company harder for various concessions.

How to Keep Meeting Attendees Off Their Smartphones: In the era of smartphones, the traditional meeting format of a presenter with a slide deck is no longer acceptable. Meeting organizers are deploying various strategies to keep attendees focused.

Oyo Taps Hotelbeds to Increase Travel Distribution: Oyo has had plenty of success in its home market of India going direct to consumers, but if it’s to continue its global expansion plans it needs more routes to market.

The Future of Travel

Airbnb Leads New $160 Million Funding for Short-Term Rental Brand Lyric: Can you be both a marketplace and a supplier at the same time? Airbnb certainly seems interested in testing that theory out.

Delta Air Lines Plans to Reduce Seat Recline in Bet to Make Flyers Happy: This could go one of two ways. Passengers could revolt, taking to social media to complain about Delta’s decision to reduce recline on 62 airplanes. Or customers could be pleasantly surprised at how much space they’ll have under Delta’s new test configuration.

Marriott’s New Contract With Expedia Signals a Shift in the Direct Booking Wars: As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your rivals closer. Or in this case, that rival might turn out to be a friend, after all, once you’ve become the world’s biggest hotel company.

Skift Senior Editor Andrew Sheivachman [[email protected]] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Tags: avis, car rental, ctir

Photo credit: A promotional image from Avis Budget Group depicting a business traveler musing over which rental car he’d rather drive. Avis Budget Group

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