When renting a car, an upgrade is a pleasant surprise. But not all surprises in the rental industry are as welcome. Too often, customers are displeased because the car they get is different than that displayed when they made their reservation. And while common, this scenario can be easily avoided by strategically integrating high-quality images in car rental websites and apps.
Studio-quality car photos of all vehicles in a rental company’s fleet can help customers understand their options and make informed decisions. And their benefits aren’t confined to traditional car rental models. Carsharing companies can benefit from integrating high-quality image assets in websites and apps as well—particularly as they begin to compete with peer-to-peer alternatives. However, the value of images goes beyond the rental process; studio-quality car photos have a vital role to play in remarketing cars when they reach the end of their lifespan as rental vehicles.
THE IMPACT OF IMAGES ON CAR RENTAL COMPANIES
When a traveler books a rental car online, they are typically greeted by a single image of a vehicle in each class and an “or similar” disclaimer. What they probably don’t see is a detailed description or images of what constitutes a similar car, despite the distinct differences that often exist between models in the same class. Whether aesthetic or practical, these differences can have a significant impact on a renter’s experience, and unmet expectations are a common source of disappointment. Interior and exterior studio-quality car photos of all vehicles available in each class allow customers to more thoroughly and thoughtfully consider their options to ensure they make a selection that works for them—and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Smart use of images can help car rental companies stand out from the competition in part because they create a more engaging selection process and help customers know what they’re getting. It is a level of service customers have come to expect in virtually everything except car rentals. Indeed, the car rental industry is a rare space in which consumers are paying almost blindly. Breaking the mold and offering photos of each vehicle could not only attract more customers, but likely result in greater levels of customer satisfaction overall.
When it comes to vehicles in the sport, premium, or luxury categories, studio-quality car photos may be even more vital. Customers seeking out these cars are typically looking for a specific driving experience and are willing to pay a premium for it. As such, attracting their business can be lucrative, but unmet expectations can result in even greater dissatisfaction. Offering a complete image gallery for each vehicle available in these categories can help attract discerning customers and ensure they are satisfied with their selection.
THE ADVANTAGES OF STUDIO-QUALITY CAR PHOTOS FOR CARSHARING COMPANIES
The way people think about car rentals is changing. As car ownership declines, carsharing companies have opened up new opportunities for renting cars in innovative ways, whether a user wants to run errands for an hour or embark on a cross-country road trip. Whatever the case, studio-quality car photos can enhance the rental process.
Currently, most carsharing companies offer an online experience much like that of traditional car rentals: while renters may be sure of which make and model of car they’re getting, that car is still typically represented by a single image. This stands in sharp contrast to peer-to-peer carsharing services like Turo, where listings typically include extensive galleries of interior and exterior photos of the specific car offered. Providing comprehensive collections of studio-quality photos of carsharing vehicles can help make the rental process more inviting, personal, and show potential renters the features they are looking for. Additionally, these images can help drivers quickly familiarize themselves with new vehicles—a potentially invaluable service in a niche that relies on the removal of human assistance.
REMARKETING RENTAL CARS
Of course, renting cars is not the only business car rental companies are in. Rental agencies are continually refreshing their fleets, removing older cars as new models take their place. The best of these often end up on the rental company’s own sales lots, and high-quality car photos can be a critical component of marketing these vehicles. Studio-quality car photos offer the ability to create complete and consistent listings that provide a thorough overview of each vehicle, giving potential customers a detailed look at a car’s features before they ever step into the showroom. What’s more, these images can help make rental cars appealing; aesthetically pleasing, well-lit, and professionally shot photographs can deeply impact a car shopper’s perception of a vehicle, potentially helping buyers overcome their reluctance to purchase a former rental car.
Complete sets of high-quality photos can also make dealer transactions more appealing to both large and small dealerships, in part because they allow listings to go up before vehicles are done processing. The ability to find an interested potential buyer before processing is a substantial potential savings in time and labor. Given the number of cars a rental company sells, these savings can add up significantly.
OPENING UP THE DOOR TO INNOVATION
Rental companies, as a rule, do not use a large number of photos on either their rental websites or their aftermarket sales pages. At a time when customers are used to being able to see images of virtually anything at any time, this is a habit that stands out for all the wrong reasons. In both renting and selling cars, rental companies are missing important image assets that allow customers to visualize the driving experience or easily compare models. And in doing so, they are missing out on important opportunities to connect with customers and improve the rental experience.
By partnering with a firm that specializes in comprehensive, high-quality automotive stock photography, car rental companies can move toward a more modern approach to all aspects of their business. With access to the right database, the possibilities for innovation are virtually endless and can help companies establish a new standard in the rental industry.