Ecommerce platforms have altogether forged the operating model for various services such as transportation, food delivery, lodging, etc. Similarly, the sharing economy has provided favorable conditions for startups to establish themselves as strong players in the market. The case of borrowing has made it effortless for connecting people who are in need of asset.
An example is online peer-to-peer car rental which has potential in establishing a strong foothold in the online rental industry. Peer to peer car rental is on the rise with the availability of technology and diverse networks to connect with customers.
Besides booking cabs, people have also started preferring renting cars that they can drive themselves. Realizing this growing need, many peer-to-peer car-rental platforms such as Getaround & Turo in the US and Drivy in France have emerged to cater to different markets.
The success of peer-to-peer car renting portals have proven how much people were in need of this service and how much potential the marketplace has for new players. FATbit team recognized the potential of this business idea and drafted this in-depth analysis of P2P car rental business model and essential website features to enable entrepreneurs look forward and step into this booming marketplace.
The idea behind P2P car rental platform is simple – to connect car renters with car owners in a particular area. Using a car renting portal, people can rent out cars for a day, a few hours, or a week. On the other hand, car owners can list their cars on the website to earn money.
Many popular P2P car rental platforms assert that on an average, a car sits idle for about 22 hours a day and by renting it out, car owners can earn more. For instance, Getaround claims that by using its website, car owners can earn up to $10,000 a year.
To attract more car renters and owners, most P2P car-rental platforms offer insurance coverage on all rentals, as well as 24/7 roadside assistance.
P2P car-rental websites primarily make money by charging a nominal commission from every booked trip, which differs from platform to platform. Other common revenue generation channels may include banner ads and on-site car promotion (to appear at the top of results).
Now that we have decoded the business model of peer-to-peer car rental platforms, let’s discuss the features that will prepare your car-rental marketplace for the competition.
P2P car rental is taking a larger hold in both developed and developing countries with Asia pacific as the largest growing segment. The Asia pacific region individually holds more than 40% of all car rental vehicles operating globally. The major players in P2P car rental industry across the globe are:
When it comes to geographical distribution, United States has the highest number of players operating with Europe and Russia quickly catching up. According to TechCrunch, the car sharing startup, Turo has raised $250 million in a Series E round of funding from IAC. The overall growth rate of the company has been around 2x over the last two years. Indeed, the peer to peer car renting business model has remarkably expanded in these recent years, with companies like Turo and Getaround providing excellent services.
The simplicity of the P2P car-rental business model might make you think that implementing it would also be easy. But that is not the case. In order to effectively run a P2P car rental business, you need website elements that will make the task of management much easier. Following are the website elements and features that will help you in this context.
The first step towards renting a car on your website should be a simple yet powerful car search feature. Placing the search feature on the homepage banner can be a good choice. You may also list some popular rentals below the first fold to give visitors an idea about the car rentals right away. Make sure that the car search tool box has the following search fields:
Most car-renting websites use map-view to show rental results. We suggest you to follow the same approach since it helps renters to know right away how far the car’s location is. Plus, the vertical panel, next to map view, can feature the basic rental details such as year, rent, etc.
Following filters should also be present on the search page:
An important functionality to implement here is that as users hover over the list results, the corresponding map results get highlighted. Investing in an ecommerce solution that enables this would be a good idea.
Only registered users should be able to book a rental. To make things easy for users, you can go for social media login for your P2P car-rental portal. The checkout process should be simple and short. However, make sure that its has the following important text fields and options:
There should be a distinct ‘List Car’ option on the top navigation bar. Since listing a car would require the car owner to input a lot of detail, the process should be divided into steps. Here, we have roughly drafted these steps:
These are pretty much the steps & fields you need for the car listing option in your P2P car-rental portal. In addition to that, you can include following prominent offerings to make your online car rental marketplace platform more relevant for your customers:
New and unique online business models must have a ‘How It Works’ section. Typically, it should be a 3 – 5 step explanation of how things work on the website for your target audience (car owners and renters in this case).
As we have checked few popular car-rental websites, we came across some really cool ideas for the ‘How It Works’ section.
For example, RelayRides’s (now Turo) How It Works’ section features an infographic that explains how things work for car owners and renters side-by-side along a timeline.
Getaround’s ‘How It Works’ section is mostly in the textual format and is very detailed yet concise. All in all, its comprehensiveness eliminates the need to rely on the Help/FAQ section for every piece of information.
On the other hand, Drivy has come up with a very creative video to explain how things work on P2P car-rental platforms.
All these ideas portray a great deal of brainstorming, and implementing a hybrid form of these in your P2P car-rental marketplace can take its user experience to new heights.
The user profile should be packed with rich features for both types of users – car renters & car owners. It would be a good idea to feature a user’s listed car on the dashboard. There should also be dedicated tabs to log rental car & trip history of a user. Apart from that, basic account management options should certainly be present. If building on a P2P car rental marketplace, confirm these features beforehand.
Now, let’s discuss a few more features that can make your P2P car-rental marketplace more valuable to your target audience.
While renters should be able to view car details in the search results, there should also be a dedicated page for each listed car with extensive details to help renters choose the one as per their needs. Here are the car details you should put on the car page of your peer-to-peer car rental website:
A referral program can greatly help you get visitors during the initial stage. However, make sure that your referral program is well-planned to work and motivate users to recommend your car-rental business to more friends. Here, you can take some insights from Getaround’s referral program.
Under Getaround’s referral program, registered users refer their friends to the website by offering them $50 as Getaround credits. Once the friend books his first car on the website, the user earns $50 Getaround credits back. In addition to that, when the friend lists his first car on the website, the user gets a bonus amount.
By including the money in the process, Getaround has made sure that their referrals don’t go empty.
Make sure that you have a comprehensive Help section that is very neatly divided into categories & subcategories (‘For Renters’ & ‘For Owners’). Registered users should be able to search for an answer as well as ask questions if they cannot find the answer they were looking for.
A comprehensive Help section will greatly enhance your appeal.
Through a blog, you can keep your user base well-informed about your latest offerings and other relevant information related to the car-rental marketplace. By publishing informational posts and stories on the blog, you can also have a better chance to appear on top in Google results.
Having a mobile app is essential if you are serious about launching an online P2P car-rental business. Car owners should be able to access their car location anytime, anywhere. What better solution is there in this context than a mobile app?
Make sure that your peer to peer car-rental mobile app has all the necessary features that allow both users (owners and renters) to manage their rental easily. Of course getting an app in the very beginning will cost more. If you don’t want to invest more, then go for a responsive website.
Sharing economy is booming and the idea of collaborative consumption of resources is spreading like wildfire. There are P2P platforms for renting bikes, music gears, dresses, camping gear, equipment, tools, textbooks, office space, and the list goes on and on. And each of these marketplaces are raising money and turning profits.
It is clear that P2P marketplaces have a bright future ahead and lots of opportunities for startups. But in order to survive the competition & to establish a brand, it is important that you step into the market well-prepared.
In a nutshell, the increasing cost of private ownership and environmental concerns are giving the peer to peer car renting portals a great scope in the coming years. Therefore, it is the right time to divulge in the online rental industry to cover a greater portion of the market share.
Including above-listed features in your car-rental venture with the help of expert designing & development team will improve the probability of your success. And if you need FATbit’s help in developing it, then, we would be glad to become a part of your project.
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