In a select few of the large online players such as Amazon Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be experienced in the form of recommended add-on accessories while shopping for clothes or movies of a similar genre while watching a particular one. There are Two main reasons driving this predictive trend: First, simply because AI can do that; second, because people crave for personalized experiences. Now, the question is—if one can check out from an online shop with winter boots, a rucksack, and all the sundries just by searching for a jacket and a travel pouch, why can’t that person get seamless car rental or ground transportation experience. Car Rental is known for the hassle experience at every part of the rental process. However, there appears to be a new frictionless car rental experience on the market. Sounds like the future? Kerry, Ireland, based Mobacar has already done it. The three-year-old start-up has built the world's first AI-enabled car rental distribution platform that enables airlines, online travel agencies, and similar businesses to construct a personalized relationship with customers on a global scale with the ultimate benefit of building revenue relationships that go beyond a single transaction.
Mobacar, unlike many other companies, is not an example of a standard tech startup. The firm has been an industry incumbent as a car rental and transfers aggregator. Mike Webster, CEO and Founder, Mobacar, briefs, “We quickly realized that aggregated supply chain connectivity and aggregated content would soon become obsolete selling propositions and the companies in our industry that don’t leverage AI will not only be negatively impacted but potentially could be annihilated.” Webster, after a tête-à-tête with a University Maths Professor, determined to explore deep learning and apply it to his company’s supply chain initially to identify the best options for customers. After investing two years and $ 10 million in its AI technology, Mobacar released its platform to other travel companies, and that changed the game for the firm and the industry. While initial anticipations were that of small and medium businesses coming forward to use the technology, it turned out that some of the largest names in the industry were equally interested. Today, Travelport, Flight Center Australia, Gulf Air, and Europcar are amongst Mobacar’s cloud-based AI platform users.
Customers can use the AI on Mobacar’s global supply, or they can use the technology on their own content and supply chain to drive personalized experiences
Citing Gulf Air’s example Webster says that the Bahraini national carrier did not just want to “whack in” a car product, they are very customer focussed, and wanted customers to have a seamless transportation experience beyond its industry recognized on-air experience. Moreover, what better option could have been there than Mobacar that not just had extensive global connections with car rental companies but also could predict what car to present to which customer. “An overall analysis across all our customers shows that with the deployment of our AI, there is around 70 percent increase in revenue, 64 percent increase in conversions, and 41 percent increase in repeat customer matrices without raising the price brackets. We made it possible by understanding the customer cluster, understanding the individual customer and their segments and being able to give them a valid product.”
Similar to its platform, the company’s business model is equally impressive. Customers can use the AI on Mobacar’s global supply chain, which comprises of approximately four million cars, or they can implement Mobcars AI through the cloud directly to their own content, web sites, and supply chain to drive personalized experiences. The platform comes equipped with decision and recommendation engine, dynamic pricing engine, a customer insights engine and an underlying intelligent content distribution component. Customers also get the market first mission control, which allows them to execute merchandising campaigns by accessing the user interface, which manipulates algorithms behind the scenes. In simpler words, even non-AI people can leverage the power of AI to drive marketing campaigns.
While the waters Mobacar sails in has much larger ships, such as IBM Watson and Adobe, the company’s strict focus on the travel industry and in particular the mobility sector make it a serious contender. The company’s technology is also easily implementable in a matter of days, or as Webster puts it, “is a matter of dropping a piece of code into your website and starting to utilize the power of AI.” The best part is, however, its revenue model - unlike its larger rivals Mobacar do not charge hefty license fees – so confident are they of the short and long-term value to their Ai product suite that they only commercially benefit once there are increases in revenue and other metrics for their clients.
Having gained a strong traction over the transportation side of the travel industry, Mobacar plans extend to other sectors of the industry as well. One-step in that direction is the software for hotels (to predict the type of hotel a holidaymaker will book) which the company expects to roll out in the coming weeks. Webster ascribes Mobacar’s success to the combination of intellectual firepower from in-house PhDs and robust business support from software implementation and development teams. He says the next milestone for Mobacar is to “scale globally and keep innovating” he says that the car rental industry is under huge threats and believes its future sustainability is by eliminating customer pain and only AI can do this on a global scale.