Last updated: 03:52 PM ET, Tue August 09 2016

Driving Millennials

Enterprise is targeting the millennial market with affordable, sustainable transportation services.

Vacation Agent | Car Rental & Rail

Driving Millennials

PHOTO: Millennials strike the pose in front of an Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

In attracting millennials – which the Pew Research Center says now outnumber baby boomers 75.4 million to 74.9 million – car rental companies are reaching out to the younger age group, based on the assumption that they are attracted to businesses that share their positive attitudes toward car-sharing, car leasing, van-pooling, online ride-matching, and, undoubtedly down the road, driverless/ autonomous vehicles.

A survey conducted by Enterprise Holdings, parent of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car, found that 68 percent of millennial customers have considered purchasing a specific model of car based on renting it. In fact, nearly one in three millennials, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, indicated that a positive rental experience even triggered them to start shopping for a new car. Once thought to eschew car ownership, millennials, according to Enterprise, now account for 27 percent of new car sales.

“Millennials today expect to conveniently benefit from an array of affordable and sustainable transportation services,” says Christine Taylor, executive vice president and COO of Enterprise Holdings. “Whether it’s for an hour, a day, a weekend or longer, our industry needs to offer a transportation solution that gives millennials the mobility they need on their own terms.”

READ MORE: Go Exotic with Enterprise Holdings 

In response to the rise of the ride-hailing services provided by such companies as Uber and Lyft, Enterprise created CarShare, whose success is tied to local availability. Enterprise has more than 5,600 neighborhood and airport branch offices in the U.S. alone, all located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.

One area where millennials are driving the narrative in the rental experience is technology. Having copyrighted the term “VirtualCar” in 1997, Enterprise has, through the years, delivered high-tech conveniences via rentals. “Many drivers experience new automotive technologies for the first time in rental vehicles – we call them ‘extended test drives,’” says Susan Lombardo, senior vice president of vehicle acquisition for Enterprise Holdings. “As manufacturers move further down the line with self-driving vehicles, I have no doubt that the U.S. car rental industry will be an early adopter and will be able to help introduce autonomous driving technology to millions of consumers.”

Studies have found that millennials also want navigation systems, satellite radios, Bluetooth, MP3 players and mobile integration when they rent cars.

Enterprise offers more than 800 makes and models worldwide, including specific brands that feature these technologies in the U.S., such as Lincoln, Infiniti, Audi, Buick and Chrysler.

Enterprise is also doing well with Zimride, a North American web-based ridesharing and carpooling network of more than 130 universities and corporate campuses to connect drivers and passengers heading to the same area.



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Vacation Agent Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the August 2016 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.