Arpan leads the Product Management and User Experience Design teams at Zoomcar. His team is responsible for building industry-first experiences across Zoomcar’s Renter, Subscription, Operations, IoT and B2B product lines. Arpan comes with 8 years of product experience in the consumer internet space, primarily in the e-commerce and classifieds spaces.
The global pandemic’s impact has been a devastating one, and it has brought normal lives to a complete halt. But, yet again, humanity has proved resilient, and now people are budging to bounce back to their pre-COVID lives, albeit in a controlled and cautious manner. One reason for the positive stir is the forthcoming festive season – it is around the corner, and normal aspects of life such as travel are making a comeback from the pandemic’s debilitating impact.
To that end, the rental car industry is more than ready to cater to the new demand for a safe mobility solution—major rental players such as Zoomcar witness a spurt in booking and subscriptions. There is already a 400% rise in demand, and the trend is expected to settle down at 200-300% over the new few months. To understand the surge in demand better, let us delve deeper.
A new wave of demand for rental cars
In recent times, there has been a flurry amongst the general population to reconnect with places and people. We have observed a tremendous increase in holiday travel across cities. That is to say, that travel is gradually picking up, and there is a significant surge in travel bookings towards popular destinations. As such, at present, hill stations top the charts for being the most popular destinations followed by religious destinations due to the festive season that prompts an intensive increase in travel bookings.
This new dynamic brings in the question of mobility solution, as public transport and physical contact still pose a threat in the post-pandemic world. This means that mobility solutions that come with optimal safety and hygiene standards are going to take precedence in the new normal. The interesting part is that rental cars perfectly fit into the picture of the new world order, as they are providing the need of the hour – mobility-cum-safety.
The subscription model has become an evergreen model
If there is one thing that the pandemic changes for good, it is the traditional mode of commute, thereby bringing with it new consumer behaviour. In other words, consumers continue to avoid public transport and turn to the subscription model as the new mobility solution. The burden of car ownership is something that deters consumers from purchasing a car and assuming the hassle-ridden traditional car ownership. As things stand, full-fledged car ownership is no longer a viable option for today’s fast-paced world. The new class of consumers wants a solution with no strings attached.
For millennials and people in the employment sector who shift locations regularly, the traditional practice of car ownership is becoming utterly obsolete and no longer practicable. For employees who tend to move a lot, it is not at all convenient to take a car across the country at regular intervals. And for the two classes of consumers, millennials, and corporate/governmental employees, it does not make sense to entertain the notion of traditional car ownership that is accompanied by factors such as high insurance premium cost, volatile fuel price, limited parking space, and regular maintenance cost.
What superior dynamics does the subscription model leverage?
The thing with the subscription model is that it is and will be an evergreen solution. It was already making waves before the pandemic; it continued to gain even more dynamic traction during the pandemic, as public transport was not a practicable solution; and it is still sought-after post the pandemic. First, it was due to the convenience, then it was due to its safety-oriented feature, and now it is a combination of both. Consumers now want a liability-free and safe mobility solution. In a nutshell, the subscription model is the uncontested alternative to traditional car ownership, with an ever-increasing relevance in the post-pandemic scenario.
The rental car service is a very disruptive trend. It brought about a change in consumer behaviour and preference. Now, it does not take an analyst to note that there is an on-going transition from traditional car ownership to rental car solutions. This is not to assert outright that the traditional car market will disappear within the next fortnight. But going by current consumer behaviour, we can see that traditional car ownership will soon certainly take the back seat down the line, as the subscription model keeps picking up momentum.
More about Arpan Srivastava
Arpan Srivastava has previously worked as a Product Manager and Lead at Myntra, Amazon and Naukri.com. His experience encompasses a range of products like growth funnels, user-generated content, recommendations, cataloguing systems and two-sided marketplaces. At Myntra, Arpan and his team were responsible for building category-specific product representation and launching Myntra’s Personal Care selling experience. He also built Myntra’s fashion-focused user-generated content product from scratch and revamped product recommendations.
Arpan is passionate about building products which customers love and enjoy daily. He considers his primary job to be to inspire Product Managers to build inspiring products.