Monday, 30 November 2020 23:20

COVID-19 Survey of Rental Car Companies: Rates, Revenues, Optimism Rebound in Q3

Written by Chris Brown, Auto Rental News


Auto Rental News has tabulated the results of its third survey deployed to assess the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey was sent to independent and franchised (non-corporate) U.S. car rental operators and garnered 87 responses. It was conducted beginning Oct. 9 and tabulated Nov. 10.


The results of this survey, taken with the previous two---tabulated April 14 and May 19---tell the story of an industry that was initially devasted by the pandemic but is in an encouraging---if slow and uneven---process of recovery.


The respondents in this survey were 38% franchise and 51% independent, along with 8% dealership and 3% identifying as other. A plurality (30%) had fleet sizes of 100 to 499 units, with 23% from 50 to 99 units and 17% reporting greater than 500 units.


In terms of customer base, respondents were divided between 40% off-airport/neighborhood and 33% serving airport customers, with the remainder serving leisure destinations, dealerships and exotic rental customers. The average full-time employee count was 19 and part-time was seven.


Staff Stabilization


As of April 14, the pandemic’s effect was clear. By the time the first survey was tabulated April 14, 83% of respondents said they had reduced staff hours. Of that group, 57% reported reducing hours by 51% to 100%, with 14% of respondents reducing staff 100%, indicating they closed their businesses, at least temporarily.


Note that in that first survey, 15% of respondents said that their government had forced them to shut down their business as a part of COVID-19 safety measures. By the second survey, 8% of respondents indicated a 100% reduction in hours.


The final survey, tabulated Nov. 10, reveals a stabilization in staffing. In that survey, a majority of respondents reported that...

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