How did the car industry and car rental sector navigate the pandemic and recover?
Like many car rental companies in the region, Avis UAE went from a strong year in 2019 to a complete shock to the system. We had to quickly adapt our business in light of the pandemic, taking into account what we have been doing well, and the areas that needed improvement. Avis UAE is now a much leaner operation but our customers remain firmly at the heart of what we do. We’ve noticed many other UAE-based businesses are operating with a flatter rather than clunky and hierarchical structure—all this leads to a greater customer experience. The way UAE customers want to rent a vehicle has changed; they demand real time access, choice, and superior levels of service. It is their journey that dictates our way forward. We have identified where we need to go, and have made changes to our business and how we operate to cater to our customers’ post-COVID-19 expectations.
How are you leveraging technology to target your customers and improve their experience?
Firstly, we have gone completely paperless. We are one of the first companies in Dubai Airport to go paperless with PDAs and electronic signatures, with further innovations under development. Secondly, we are implementing more features to our app so our customers can do everything online: find out when the service is due, pay their invoices, extend their rental, request delivery or collection of their car, and more. We are giving customers the power to control their rentals. There is great demand to have real-time information and self-serve abilities throughout the user experience available to them at all times.
What are Avis UAE’s plans to adapt to the UAE sustainability objectives and pledge?
Sustainability is important to us. Avis UAE has already started to lease e-motorbikes and has delivered these to local courier and postal service companies. We sustainably source local oil, as opposed to importing oil where possible to maintain our fleet. We also donate some of our used tires to certain organizations which are recycled for children’s play areas. In 2020, Avis UAE went into partnership with the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), and for every customer who rented a car with Avis UAE in June 2020, we planted a tree on their behalf. We have also organized beach clean-ups with our employees.
What is Avis' history in the UAE?
Avis UAE is a franchise which has been owned by the Mohammed Hareb Al Otaiba Group (MHAO) since 1975. We are diversifying our product portfolio to cater to the business and private leasing trends in the UAE market—we are acutely aware that we must continue to innovate to our customer’s needs. Avis UAE is a not just a rental or lease company; we are a customer-centric fleet transportation solutions provider.
Avis UAE was nominated the UAE leading car rental company in 2021. What are the keys to the company’s success?
Seamless rentals are key: we strive to provide customers with the cars they want, the brand they want, at the right place and right time. We scored highly on innovation, thanks to our quest to continually transform the business digitally. The semi-conductor shortage is continuing to provide challenges with regards to vehicle supply, however we can see normalizing vehicle supply returning in 4Q2022 and beyond. At the moment, the demand at Dubai Airport is extremely robust. In 2022, Dubai Airport has predicted about 90% recovery in passenger numbers over 2019.
What are your goals and priorities for Avis UAE in 2022?
In the UAE, we want to remain number based on merit, innovation, and a customer-centric service offering. There are some further milestones ahead for us regarding technology, which will all be released at the end of this year to further enhance the customer experience with Avis UAE. We want to minimize the touch points and allow customers to use our services as seamlessly and as efficiently as possible.