Public transport is struggling to attract users, which could spell the end for the airport hotel drop off coach, as holidaymakers flock to car hire.
The railways in the United Kingdom have embarked on a major advertising campaign to encourage UK “staycationers” – and commuters – to ditch the car and travel on the trains.
Department for Transport figures show the number of journeys being made on the trains are 57% of pre-pandemic levels. This has led the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators nationally, to unveiled a marketing campaign with the strapline “Let’s get back on track”.
It would appear people are cautious about return to trains in great numbers due to Covid. Masks are no longer compulsory on the national network and the risk of catching Covid in a busy carriage seems to be encouraging people to travel in cars.
Green Motion International has seen an increase in car rental in the UK. The trend is the same across Europe. A survey of 11 European countries, by Euroconsumer, revealed people expect to use public transport less and their own cars more once the pandemic is over.
So, is this the start of the car-cation? With staycation holidaymakers in the UK avoiding the train and instead travelling in their cars, helping them to stay in their own Covid secure bubbles.
Will this trend extend to overseas holidays with Covid concerns leading to the end of the overseas package holiday bus transfer? Green Motion International CEO Richard Lowden said:
“Following Green Motion taking the industry lead in creating a covid-safe environment for our customers we witnessed an explosion in customers booking car hire for their staycation holiday, across key markets in Europe including UK, Turkey and Greece, along with the United States.”
Tour operators have been moving away from the coach transfer that drops off holidaymakers at a whole host of hotels in favour of private transfers for a few years now. Furthermore, the no-frills carriers and dynamic packaging has seen the coach transfer parks at airports around the world seem emptier.
This has all been to the benefit of car hire companies. Car hire is poised to see a further uplift from health and safety concerns and as covid-secure-as-possible travel has jumped to the top of holidaymakers wish-lists. This trend could make car hire the go-to mode of transport in resort and put the final nail in the coffin of the airport coach transfer.
Hertz Global Holdings – parent company of Hertz Europe – saw 2021 quarter two profits increase by 62% to $1.9bn, compared to the previous three months.
“Hertz delivered an outstanding second quarter as travel continued to rebound,” said Paul Stone, Hertz Global President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are optimistic about a sustained recovery and travel rebound.”
Car hire bookings in the US are growing at a faster rate than Europe, but that is to be expected with the US further ahead in its post-pandemic recovery.
Uncertainty around holiday numbers for summer 2021 has led to a shortage of hire cars in many European holiday hotspots. However, the size of the car hire fleets in major holiday resorts should be back to normal for 2022. With car hire companies predicting a bumper year.
That would certainly appear to be the case based on the number conversations the WTM London Sales team have had with car hire companies.
Car hire companies including Green Motion International, Hertz Europe, Europcar UK Group, Enterprise Rent a Car, and Easirent powered by Leasys are amongst the companies looking for great deals with the industry for 2022.
The online car rental market is predicted to grow by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 9.4% from 2021 to 2029, according to research by Straits Research. With high international tourist numbers in Europe and Asia fuelling the growth.
The future looks very bright indeed for the car hire sector.