Earlier this month Carcloud exhibited at the International Car Rental Show in Las Vegas.

At this years show, I was also speaking at the conference as a member of a panel on “Understanding Mobility, On-Demand, and Uber”. While the session had a specific focus on how this affected car rental in Latin America, the questions and commentary that came up apply to everyone in car rental. They were also topics that were repeated in conversation throughout the conference.

One of the big differences I noticed at the conference this year was the number of people who were interested in bringing new mobility options to their business. Last year, the promise of self-driving cars seemed far away but over the last 12 months we’ve seen significant investment and announcements from major car manufacturers and technology brands.

Car rental companies are beginning to see how new models are threatening their business – and also the new opportunities that they can present.

While the major car rental brands are already making investments in these areas, change for them will not be fast and smaller companies should be looking to take advantage of this.

Customer experience is moving to the forefront of car rental and I’ve had many conversations with car rental companies that want their renters to skip the desk, unlock their vehicles with smartphones, check in early or increase self-service capability in other areas. Car sharing has used technology to their benefit but still only represents a tiny percentage of overall car rental. Canny car rental companies are looking to see how they can use some of these technologies to improve their own solutions.

2017 will see the start of major change in car rental. What are you doing to protect and grow your business?