The Business Year

Benty Jose

OMAN - Tourism

Benty Jose

General Manager, Budget Rent-a-Car Oman

Bio

Benty Jose is the General Manager for Budget Rent-a-Car Oman. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and has 25 years of experience in the car rental and automobile businesses. He joined the company in 2020, prior to which he was working in the UAE and Bahrain in the car rental and automobile industry. He takes great pride in delivering results and throughout his career he has demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence.

Budget Rent-a-Car Oman has gained a positive standing in the market due to its ongoing drive to surpass its customers' expectations.

What were some of the developments in your business in Oman in 2020?

Budget has been in this business in Oman for the last 40 years. Initially, we started with two locations, but now we have seven locations spread across Oman. In a way, we are moving closer to our customers to serve them better. Training is extremely important, and we have an ongoing program to train our employees and develop them for the next level of leadership. Moreover, as a small gesture to the frontline workers who have selflessly provided services during the pandemic, we have been offering them 50% discounts on our car rental rates. Budget has evolved with time and partnered with online aggregators. We have partnered with MONAK and Ezhire because it is one of the few online players in the market, thus giving our customers a hassle-free and paperless experience. They can upload their IDs, driving licenses, and so forth and then pick up their car from a particular location without any physical contact. We were one of the first to start operations in Duqm three years ago, as it is expected to grow and become the hub of business in Oman, and now we have a good yield on the business there.

What are the main trends impacting the car rental market in Oman?

The trends are always changing depending on time and the market situation. During the pandemic, we have witnessed corporations and individuals becoming more rational and forward thinking when it comes to spending their money, mainly due to the uncertainty that looms over us. They are shifting toward short-term rentals because they do not want to commit for longer terms or tie themselves to a contract. That is also better for them because they know their fixed costs and can plan for a few months rather than two or three years down the line. Hence, we all have to adapt to the new normal and build our business around that. We are working to develop a few products that will be more adaptable to corporates and individuals, considering the uncertainty at the moment.

Have you noticed a difference in the kind of clients you are seeing recently?

Earlier, corporations were also reluctant to proceed with leasing options. They thought probably buying the vehicles upfront and selling them after five years was a better option as asset would belong to them. Now, people are more rational and wonder if it is necessary to use so much of their revenue upfront. Their initial fixed costs or investment are lower if they rent compared to the huge investments of buying cars. They have now understood that leasing is the best business to do and the best option at the moment. When you know your fixed costs, it’s easier for you to manage your cash flow. With that, we see more individuals as clients these days; they don’t want to shell out a huge amount of money or take on a liability with something like a four-year commitment to a bank with today’s market. I see a lot of inflow of individuals coming for short-term rentals. While leasing cars you don’t have to worry about the vehicle maintenance, insurance, and stress over replacements or registrations that come along with purchasing cars.

Is sustainability something you are considering for your fleet?

Yes. Today, many people are talking about sustainability and eco-friendly or environmentally conscious initiatives that produce less carbon dioxide. In the future, we are open to electric vehicles in our fleet, though we first need to have a proper infrastructure to be in place in Oman. We are eager to have bicycles and are now in talks with some clients that manufacture bicycles so that we could perhaps start a business here to promote or revolutionize some sustainable business. It might not happen soon, though we can start working toward it.

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