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Adrian Bewley's blog: Long-term rental can solve short-term challenges

Date: 08 January 2021

Organisations are facing unprecedented levels of disruption and uncertainty in the short term, and many would not be blamed for thinking they might have to rip up their travel strategies and start again from scratch.

There is instability and change due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic and Brexit. Fleets may be reluctant to commit to large-scale capital investment in fixed assets when they don't know what their business will look like in five months' time, let alone five years. 

Social distancing requirements are forcing many businesses and public sector bodies to re-think their mobility requirements. Where two or three employees might have happily shared a van in 2019, those same people may now need a van plus one or two additional cars to keep them all safe and separated. 

On top of this, more people are working from home and that creates further uncertainty over their travel needs, both now and in the future. Many of those employees don't have company cars but still need mobility - and now they no longer have immediate access to on-site pool cars and so may use their own grey fleet vehicles instead. That is a risk and cost that has certainly not gone away.

Alternatively, some may need temporary provision when their company vehicle is being replaced, particularly if new cars are delayed. They will also need mobility for contractual work, seasonal work or new employee probation periods, all of which are increasingly relevant as businesses' own customers focus on short-term projects rather than longer-term strategic programmes. 

While this changeable situation poses challenges, it can be managed with both new and existing mobility services - so there's no need to tear up the travel strategy just yet. 

Long-term rental is an emerging category that allows employers to offer their teams a dedicated, low-emission, hygienically cleaned and well-maintained vehicle that employees can keep for lengthy periods or hand back with no penalties. 

It provides the certainty of mobility anywhere any time, with total flexibility. Businesses can take new vehicles when they need them and for as long as they need them, in a way that enables them to meet demand without excess capital spend.  

In fact, as we enter 2021, it's clearer than ever that a long-term rental product may actually be the solution to a whole raft of short-term business issues.

Adrian Bewley is assistant vice president of business mobility for Europe at Enterprise Rent-A-Car