RM Tips and Strategy

Too Busy to Improve: The Challenge of Embracing Change in the Car Rental Industry

Adrian Treacy
January 11, 2024
The Car Rental industry, like many other, can sometime fall victim of the 'Too Busy' syndrome. It's important to understand this trap and to be able to step back so as to embrace important changes. As a leader or owner, it is vital to take time out from the front line, to analyse and see where technology can help you to optimise your business

Too Busy to Improve: The Challenge of Embracing Change in the Car Rental Industry

In the fast-paced world of business, the car rental industry finds itself at a crossroads where the need for innovation clashes with the reluctance to change. The age-old excuse of being "too busy" has become a stumbling block for companies, hindering progress and potentially keeping them from realising their full potential. 

This article explores the challenges faced by the car rental industry in embracing change, drawing parallels to the timeless analogy of the square wheel versus the round wheel.

The Square Wheel Syndrome

Imagine a scenario where a car rental company is like a vehicle with square wheels. It may still move forward, but the journey is cumbersome, inefficient, and fraught with unnecessary challenges. 

Similarly, car rental businesses that resist change find themselves stuck in outdated processes, reluctant to adopt the round wheels of innovation. Taking an excessive amount of time to ‘crunch’ the numbers, rather than taking the time to investigate what solutions are available.

Identifying the Root Cause

The reluctance to change in the car rental industry often stems from a perceived lack of time. Businesses are caught in the perpetual cycle of day-to-day operations, dealing with customer demands, and managing existing systems which have evolved and been developed in most cases ‘in-house’ due to the lack of off the shelf solutions. 

Here I am speaking mostly on the revenue management side of the business. In fact, Microsoft Excel continues to play a large part in most pricing departments around the globe which is perceived as cheap and efficient. But in Reality is can be very Expensive, due to the time needed by staff to build their queries and reports, Inefficient due to its manual nature, and Risky, as the knowledge remains in the mind of the person who created it.

The thought of introducing something new appears daunting, and the fear of disrupting the established workflow becomes a significant barrier.

Overcoming the Fear of Disruption

The key to overcoming this challenge is recognizing that embracing change doesn't necessarily mean a complete overhaul of operations. Just as introducing round wheels doesn't require reinventing the entire vehicle, incremental changes can lead to significant improvements. 

Car rental companies need to prioritise innovation and allocate time for strategic planning amid their busy schedules. This is just as necessary for smaller independent Car Rental companies as it is for the larger international brands, perhaps even more so.

It can often be a necessity, in smaller companies for everyone to be ‘hands on’ with the customers, and only when it is quiet will it be possible for someone to take care of the Revenue Management. 

Your Revenue department is like the wheelhouse of your ship or the flight deck of your plane. It is too important to come after anything else. A simple way to look at it is, any time your revenue team is not focusing on their task, it is costing you money!

If they are spending hours and hours to compile the data (which could be done much easier with the correct tool), this is costing you money as they are missing opportunities to yield.

Efficiency Gains with Round Wheels

The round wheel represents efficiency, improved performance, and enhanced customer satisfaction. In the car rental industry, adopting new technologies, streamlining booking processes, and incorporating data analytics can lead to better fleet management, reduced operational costs, and increased overall profitability.

Case Studies of Successful Transformation

Several car rental companies have successfully navigated the path of change, proving that it's possible to evolve without sacrificing productivity. By implementing user-friendly mobile apps, embracing electric vehicles, and incorporating advanced reservation systems, these companies have not only survived but thrived in an ever-evolving market.

At WeYield, a number of our own clients have made the successful change from data crunching to decision making. Some of them, prior to undergoing our Yield Transformation, were spending literally DAY’S to extract and compile their data in Spreadsheets in such a way that they were able to make informed decisions. 

‘The most beautiful thing about the tool is that you are more confident due to having more visibility and allows you to take more calculated risks. The Apps reduce the uncertainty. What I have learned is that with the visibility I can close out my volume car classes and then open them up again closer to the date in order to increase the revenue’ : Shady, Advanced Lebanon

And many times, missing out on opportunities due to this. Now, they have their information at their fingertips.

The Importance of a Change-Centric Culture

To break free from the "too busy" mindset, a cultural shift within the organisation is imperative. Companies should encourage a mindset that views change as an opportunity rather than a disruption. 

Establishing a culture that values innovation and continuous improvement allows for the seamless integration of new ideas into the existing framework.

At WeYield, our clients really see the value that the constant evolution of our Apps can bring to them. We are constantly striving to learn, evolve and improve our service to provide the freedom that our clients desire.

The car rental industry, like any other, must confront the challenge of being "too busy" to improve. The analogy of the square wheel versus the round wheel serves as a powerful reminder that embracing change is not just an option but a necessity for survival and growth. 

By overcoming the fear of disruption, prioritising innovation, and fostering a change-centric culture, car rental companies can pave the way for a smoother, more efficient journey into the future.

Published by
Adrian Treacy
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Customer Success Manager at WeYIeld and also Founder of Quantum-Leap Consulting. I help our clients to think more about 'why' they are doing what they do and how to maybe improve their results. As a Success Mindset coach I also help people to understand the 'why' behind what they do so that they can understand 'how' to get different results.

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