Car rental, as a business sector, originated in the early 20th century. Over a hundred years ago, cars were considered a luxury, and not everyone could afford to rent a vehicle. Starting from the second half of the 20th century, cars gained more popularity and accessibility.

However, customer service in car rental companies was not mobile at that time. Customers had to visit the rental location, choose a car, personally clarify all details, negotiate, pay in cash, or write a check before renting a car. Fortunately, by the end of the last century, this process was optimised due to technological advancements – computers and later the internet came into play.

Online technologies, the advent of cloud services, integration of GPS systems, the proliferation of smartphones, and other factors opened up vast opportunities for the car rental industry. As these technologies advanced, a new paradigm emerged – MaaS, or “Mobility as a Service.” This paradigm marked a swift transition for consumers from owning their own vehicles to opting for a rental format, providing them with greater flexibility, mobility, and economic benefits.

Now, users can plan, book, and pay for rental services through a unified platform or application, reducing the need for car ownership and opting for more environmentally friendly transport. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs use technology to manage their businesses, actively integrating car rental booking software into their operations.

Experts predict that in the next few years, the car rental market will grow to $116 billion, and by 2028, almost 75% of the industry’s total revenue will come from online sales. Innovative technologies continue to change consumers’ perceptions of mobility.

Introduction to CRM for Car Rental

Car rental booking system is a software product that includes many useful features for digitally managing a vehicle rental company.

The implementation of such CRM systems has long turned from an advantage into a real necessity. Competition in the car rental industry is rapidly increasing, and efficient software solutions help companies maintain competitiveness, attract target audiences with innovative solutions, and follow global industry trends.

Car rental booking engine, with the help of specialised software, allows the enterprise to gain several significant advantages. For example, you can significantly increase the productivity of each employee and the overall company, optimise the budget, reduce expenses, and increase profitability. It also helps improve the quality of customer service, open new opportunities for scaling the company, and entering new markets.

Contributing to these advantages are useful tools that are typically included in a car rental booking system, such as:

  • Process Automation: Routine business processes such as car selection and reservation, driver document verification, sending confirmations and notifications, invoicing, and launching advertising campaigns can be automated, significantly saving time for employees and minimising the risk of errors associated with human factors.
  • Order Tracking: All incoming requests are automatically entered into a unified convenient database, and the real-time vehicle tracking feature allows almost instant booking confirmation. This speeds up the process of renting out cars and enhances service quality.
  • Customer Interaction: The car rental booking engine includes the ability to maintain categorised databases, taking into account the characteristics of different target audiences. You can segment customers, personalise offers, manage loyalty programs, and respond promptly to feedback.
  • Fleet Management: This includes a set of functions that enable you to track the location of each vehicle in the fleet via GPS, monitor the engine’s technical condition and fuel level, prevent unauthorised access or theft attempts, which is crucial for avoiding unforeseen expenses.
  • Statistics and Analytics: Developers often integrate the capability to collect crucial statistical information, such as the current market situation, seasonal changes in demand, and preferences of the target audience. Based on this data, you can generate detailed reports, forecast demand, and use the information to improve business strategy.

Keys in the Past: Contactless Car Access

When the car rental industry was in its early stages, locking and unlocking the vehicle door, as well as starting the engine, could only be done with a traditional mechanical key. However, such a key could easily break, be stolen, or lost.

Over time, technological progress led to the introduction of electronic keys and key fobs –  the first ones were released back in the 1980s. Their working principle was based on a radio signal. The codes used in these keys constantly changed, making it difficult to intercept the signal or duplicate such a key. Thus, electronic keys and key fobs became a more secure alternative to mechanical keys.

However, when it came to car rentals, this solution was still not ideal. Even when choosing and booking a car online or through an app, customers still needed to obtain a physical key or key fob for access to the rented vehicle.

But technology does not stand still, and now drivers can start the ignition with just a button, and access to the car cabin can be obtained without a key altogether. This is an especially useful feature that can be integrated into car rental booking software. With this feature, customers can unlock the car using a digital key on their smartphone or a PIN code.

Such applications can use wireless NFC technology or Bluetooth. The user connects to the internet, selects a car, books and pays for it, after which specific data for wireless access is downloaded to their smartphone. Usually, this code is downloaded into a secure section of the SIM card and is tied to the device’s hardware – this is necessary for security.

Access can be obtained in various ways: sometimes it is necessary to touch the smartphone to the car door handle or another part of the vehicle, and sometimes the car door is automatically unlocked when the mobile device approaches. Moreover, the vehicle can also be started using the smartphone.

Such technologies completely eliminate the need for physical keys, thus saving time for both customers and company staff, making the service more convenient, mobile, and innovative.

Virtual Showrooms: Online Car Selection

In recent decades, other technology sectors, particularly virtual and augmented reality, have been developing rapidly. Companies engaged in vehicle rental have started implementing these technologies into their car rental booking systems.

Thanks to VR and AR, companies have the opportunity to provide customers with an immersive experience – exploring the range of rental vehicles in virtual showrooms, examining every detail, and envisioning themselves behind the wheel of a specific make and model.

Here are several advantages of using virtual and augmented reality in the car rental business:

  • Customers can make more informed decisions based on detailed information obtained during their visit to a virtual showroom.
  • Both users and company staff save time since there is no need for customers to personally visit the car lot for a showroom inspection.
  • Customer satisfaction increases as they can be confident that the rented vehicle will meet their expectations.
  • The company has the ability to apply various modifications and design the interior of cars using virtual models.
  • Customers can virtually test the car in different weather conditions and road situations, positively impacting the safety of future car usage.
  • Integration of VR and AR technologies can serve as a competitive advantage, attracting new users.
  • A car rental company can enhance its reputation by positioning itself as modern, progressive, and high-tech.

Green Mobility: Renting Eco-Friendly Cars

Environmental care is one of the main enduring trends in the modern world. More and more consumers, when choosing products or services, pay attention to how responsibly the manufacturer or service provider treats environmental protection and a sustainable future.

This trend has not bypassed the car rental industry. Therefore, many services are integrating into the car rental booking engine the option for customers to choose more environmentally friendly vehicle models – electric cars or hybrid vehicles capable of running on both conventional fuel and electricity.

This allows a car rental company to achieve the following goals:

  1. Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and other harmful substances that can pollute the environment, worsen the ecological situation, destroy the ozone layer, and lead to the formation of “ozone holes.”
  1. Promotion of eco-friendly transportation, including among users of the service who plan to purchase a personal vehicle in the future. Thanks to rental services, they can assess the convenience of using electric cars without significant investments and show interest in such technologies.
  1. Increase in the number of electric cars on city roads as a stimulus for local authorities to develop infrastructure for such transportation, including parking, parking lots, and charging stations.
  1. Incentivizing customers renting electric cars and hybrid vehicles, for example, through discounts, personalised offers, and loyalty program bonuses.

Flexibility First: On-Demand Rental

Certainly, keyless access, augmented and virtual reality, electric transport – these are technological achievements that have played a significant role in the development of the car rental industry. But perhaps the most crucial factor has been the expansion of mobility boundaries, made possible by car rental booking software tools.

Customers no longer need to personally visit a parking lot, inquire about the availability schedule of specific cars, call a service, and spend their time – now they can rent a car on-demand, not on a schedule.

The entire process takes a few minutes, and the user can book a vehicle almost anytime and from anywhere. All they need is an internet connection with a PC, smartphone, or other device.

On the website or through the mobile application, the user can perform actions such as:

  • Register
  • Provide basic information
  • Upload their driver’s licence
  • Explore the range of available vehicles
  • Reserve a car for a specific time
  • Pay for the service online
  • Receive booking confirmation

Some car rental booking system tools make the entire process even more flexible and straightforward. For instance, the real-time availability tracking feature is useful – it reduces the time for processing and confirming orders and eliminates the possibility of discrepancies.

Integration with mapping data is also important, especially for companies involved in short-term car rentals or car sharing. Users can easily view a map indicating the location of the nearest available cars and choose the most convenient option.

To provide even greater flexibility, rental companies also strive to expand their fleet. Nowadays, in the fleet of one company, you can often find models and classes of cars for any needs, whether it is an SUV, a compact city car, a minivan, a limousine, an electric car, or a commercial vehicle. These and other similar features are compelling evidence that the mobility-as-a-service paradigm has gained wide popularity and continues to play a crucial role in the business strategies of car rental companies.


The development of digital and online technologies has contributed to radical changes in the car rental market. It is thanks to technology that business management has reached a new level. Car rental booking software, vehicle tracking and control, NFC technologies for keyless access, augmented and virtual reality technologies, the popularisation of eco-friendly transport – all of this gives users maximum flexibility and mobility. Therefore, it can confidently be said that innovative technologies have brought about a true revolution in the car rental industry – and this revolution continues to this day.