Avis Car Rental announced integration with Amazon Alexa, which will allow travellers to book and manage car rental reservations through the popular voice platform on Amazon Echo devices. This makes Avis the first car rental company to offer the car rental option through a voice enabled assistant. The offering is being demonstrated at the Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention and will be available to the public by the end of August.
With the new skill for Alexa-enabled devices such as the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, Avis customers will be able to make a car rental reservation, review current or past reservations and request an e-receipt of their last rental. Business travellers will be given instant, voice-controlled access to the car rental booking process with such commands as “I need a car at La Guardia Airport at 9:00 a.m. this Friday.” The voice platform manages the booking process through secure integration with Avis that utilises travellers’ preferences stored in their Avis Preferred profile. These include car preference and additional options such as SiriusXM, GPS devices and coverages.
“We are constantly looking for ways to make the customer’s experience more magical,” said Arthur Orduña, chief innovation officer, Avis Budget Group. “We have our mobile app, which allows renters to manage their entire experience from their smartphone at approximately 175 locations globally, and now with Alexa integration, we will provide them with yet another way to engage with us seamlessly thanks to transformative digital technology.”
By 2018, 30% of consumer interactions with technology will be through voice assistance platforms, according to Gartner, Inc. With this development, Avis is matching pace with the transition. Many other travel brands have also been exploring how they can use voice search via assistants to their advantage. Skyscanner has been offering flight search while Kayak recently added hotel booking option via Amazon Alexa. However, with a large number of options, the tendency to shop for prices in case of flights and hotels is much higher compared to rentals Avis offers. This could drive significant usage for the Avis Alexa skill rather than being just a gimmick.