Avis the force behind Chauffeur driven corporate India.
Mr.Sunil Gupta, MD, and CEO, Avis India, talks about the demands, safety and operation in the car rental industry in the corporate world.
1. What do you think is the basic reason for the high demands from corporates?
There are several reasons for the popularity of chauffeur-drive in India. Today, managing employee transport in India has become an integral part of every organization, owing to reasons like unreliable public transport, passenger safety, unexpected traffic snarls etc. As urban cities and towns grow, long commutes will become more and more commonplace. Companies are fast realizing how employee transport is in direct relation to their productivity; for instance, arriving on time for work and meetings, safety while travelling for work etc. In the west, self-drive is a popular service amongst the corporates, which, however, is not the case in India where self-drive is more used for leisure travel.
2. How does Avis ensure the safety of their clients, especially women?
Our core values of providing safe, reliable and comfortable transportation solutions resonate with what our clients stand for. Avis India is committed to the cause of safe and secure ground travel in India and has instituted various checks and balances in its delivery mechanism. The cars are equipped with assistance buttons, all chauffeurs have 2 levels of security check, the unique Avis Secure Desk for female travellers instils a sense of security amongst female travellers at the start and end of the journey, and, comprehensive car insurance in all cars protects the traveller from any unforeseen incidents. The Avis chauffeurs are hand-picked and undergo several rounds of training in defensive driving skills and soft skills. Leisure travellers who look at self-driving options with Avis have a 24-hour car breakdown assistance.
3. What are your strategies to compete with existing competition?
Below are some of the USP’s which are unique to Avis and set us apart from rest of the competition in India:
1. “Technology Driven Fleet” ’ has been its unique feature and a key differentiator. Mobile APP for renters and chauffeur, GPS, Wi-Fi & e-rental agreements. The solution helps Avis to track all the cars, push timely notifications to the chauffeurs, avoid dead mileage resulting in improved fleet utilization
2. Mobile APP – The Avis India Mobile APP is a multi-faceted tool that powers all types of booking. It enables the corporate user to make reservations for chauffeur-drive services and the leisure user to make chauffeur-drive and self-drive reservations for services in over 110 countries worldwide. The Avis Mobiel App is available on Apple iPhone ‘App Store’ and Google ‘Play Store’
3. e-Rental Agreement – Real-time capturing of time and mileage through GPS to ensure transparent invoicing
4. Call in for All female Travelers – Wherein all female guests are called during and post rental by our 24X7 Avis Secure Desk.
5. All cars are equipped with 2 levels of GPS – real-time tracking of cars
6. Assistance Button in all cars
7. 2 Level Chauffeur Verification – Security, background checks carried out by police and an independent 3rd Party
8. Compliant with regulations regarding social security benefits for chauffeurs. It is also a powerful differentiator for MNCs who want strict compliance
4. What are Avis’s upcoming plans and key operations?
Under self-drive; what started with just 5 cities, has now grown to 10 cities (Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata & Kochi) in less than 2 years. We have also ramped up our fleet size in all these cities and has introduced new and popular variants in 4 categories, i.e. Hatchback, Sedan, Multi Utility Vehicles (MUV’s), Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV’s) and Luxury Vehicles. To further cater to the growing demand for self-drive, we aim to double our fleet over the next year.
Our chauffeur-drive service has a fleet of more than 5500 premium cars across the country, with a network extending across 50+ conveniently located rental stations in 19 cities which are Agra, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, New Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, NOIDA, Pune, Rishikesh, Shimla, Udaipur, and Vadodara, with Rishikesh, Shimla, Udaipur, Jaipur being the most popular tourist-friendly places. We will continue to invest in technology in building a safe and scalable business model.
5. How do you manage networking across the country?
Avis has a wide network spread across 19 cities in India and 50+ rental locations. The bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore have Hyderabad etc have an average of 4-5 rental locations in the city spread evenly and strategically. The smaller cities such as Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Udaipur have about 1-2 rental locations on an average.
Centralised booking system receives the booking request through multiple channels such as website, Avis India mobile APP, Call Center and moves it’s to the rental locations on a real-time basis. Trained fleet planners deploy the reservation and drivers use the Mobile App to navigate their way to the customer.
6. On what criteria do you hire professional drivers?
We make sure that all the chauffeurs go through our thorough background checks like police verification – such as any road offence registered against the driver’s issued license, details on the past criminal records, education qualification, past work experience. The drivers who qualify to go through multiple rounds of internal workshops that are conducted by the company staff aimed at language, defensive driving skills, and soft skills.
7. What plans does Avis have in mind for expansion in other cities?
Avis India is now further foraying in the domestic market with its new service features like one-way rental transfers, curated tours for a domestic and international audience under our product ‘Avis Vacations’.
Avis India has recently launched the expansion of chauffeur-drive service across 110 countries for Indian travellers. Aimed at business, corporate, and leisure travellers, the newly-launched service further consolidates the Avis brand promise of delivering an unmatched chauffeur-drive experience by for Airport transfer, Hourly rental and point-to-point transfer across EMEA, APAC, NAM & SA.
8. How do you think chauffeur cars becoming a major attraction, not only for corporates but for others too?
In India, chauffeur-drive has been most popular amongst corporates, independent travellers who seek comfort and safety are also showing a strong affinity for chauffeur-driven service. Chauffeur-drive service is preferred by a more matured audience in the age group of 30-50. They seek comfort and luxury for travel, people who are not a big fan of driving and are travelling together in family and prefers being driven around.Comments