Europcar Reconverted To A Transport Hub Thanks To Digital
The French giant of car rental accelerates on the new mobilities since the acquisition of the start-up Ubeeqo two years ago.
2 000. This is the number of cars put into car-sharing by Europcar via its subsidiary Ubeeqo. A drop in the ocean of the 300,000 vehicles in circulation rented by the multinational. But according to Sheila Struyck, marketing director of the group and Lab Europcar, we must see the beginnings of a new wave in the business model of the brand: “Before we used the rental only when his own vehicle does not. was not available, for a breakdown or for a weekend, for example. We want to change this reflex and become a company that can offer a complete alternative to car ownership, that is to say, a multimodal application that brings together car-sharing, VTC, and traditional rental services to meet all needs. ”
“The goal is that the entire user journey is done on our app via a single account”
Acquired at the end of 2014 by Europcar, Ubeeqo has developed a technology that makes it possible to open the shared vehicle thanks to a digital key contained in its mobile application or to a pass, in case it is parked in an area not covered by the cellular network. Originally, the company was dedicated to the BtoB: “Our car-sharing service can also be privatized for an industrialist who needs vehicles to go from one site to another. offer a complete mobility service, “says Benoît Chatelier, co-founder of Ubeeqo. 70 key account customers in France, Belgium, and Germany such as Airbus, Bosch, Danone, and L’Oréal put their trust in him. “We are also able to create a business account that allows us to get rid of expense claims, which is in great demand by SMEs, especially in the Paris region,” he adds.
Under the leadership of Europcar, the company present in 8 European countries opens to the BtoC. After launching its first service dedicated to the general public in 2015, it is now focusing on its multimodal app: “In large cities, more than half of the population no longer owns an individual vehicle and owners want to abandon it because it is often too expensive, but there are so many alternative offers that it becomes difficult to find and register for them, which is why we want to become a single point of entry and a multimodal platform of reference for these new mobilities “, Benoît Chatelier. Available for nearly a year in Paris and six months in Berlin, Brussels, and Hamburg, it allows for the moment to register, book and pays car sharing, rental and VTC services from a single application.
The GoMore offer allows you to rent a car between 4 and 12 months and share it on the Drive & Share platform to help pay your rent.
To extend its services and develop them on a large scale, Europcar multiplies the acquisitions in the car-sharing public with the Ubeeqo purchases of the Spanish Bluemove in June 2016 and the Italian GuidaMi at the end of January. The Europcar Lab, the entity dedicated to innovation, also launched last September a pilot project in France with the Danish specialist in private car rental and free carpool GoMore. The solution, called Drive & Share, allows customers to rent a Europcar car between 4 and 12 months and can share it on the GoMore platform when they do not use it, allowing them to finance all or part of its rents. Depending on the brand, a subset of ten days per month would be enough to fully repay the monthly payment.
To expand its offer, Ubeeqo also links affiliate partnerships. It is for example possible to book a VTC via Allocab or LeCab or a taxi G7 directly on the app thanks to the APIs of these booking platforms. “The goal is that the entire user journey is done on our app via a single account,” Benoît Chatelier advance. The whole group is therefore working to offer chauffeur-driven cars in as many countries as possible: “We will soon be offering VTC services in our 10 corporate countries, ie where we work live, in Europe and then in countries where we are represented by franchises, “says Sheila Struyck. Europcar has already started its market in this sector by acquiring London specialist VTC Brunel.
“We will soon be offering VTC services in our 10 corporate countries”
The company does not want to stop and is also preparing to offer on its app alternatives to the car: “We could integrate cycling, scooter and public transport in the future according to the cities. with potential partners, “says Ubeeqo co-founder. But before that, a priority site takes its developers: “We are working on the interoperability of our app, which will be implemented in the first quarter of this year. It will allow a customer who has registered in Berlin to rent a car or book a VTC, from the same account, when traveling to Barcelona, for example. ”
The six employees of Lab Europcar do not stop prospecting, according to its director. “We are looking to acquire specialists in these sectors to diversify us, it is important to work with companies that already have a user base and well-established methods that can be inspected.” According to her, deploying alternative means of transport is not contrary to the core business of the group. “These new services will allow for a better rotation in our fleet, we can imagine renting them out the week and putting them into carsharing at the weekend, when they are less requested by BtoB customers, for example.”
“The marketing challenge of these services is to make them adopt”
Partnerships and acquisitions, Sheila Struyck will need to shape the future of Europcar. “All the companies that can help us manage all the data of all vehicles in a single platform and work on the customer experience are interesting.” But the group will have to face a challenge. “The marketing challenge of these services is to get them adopted.”Tags: VTC