Peer-to-peer (P2P) car sharing companies are revolutionizing the car rental industry. They let customers rent cars from private owners via an easy-to-use mobile app, while stripping away all the complexities that traditional car rental companies struggle with. Customers of peer-to-peer car sharing businesses don’t have to deal with overwhelming websites, opaque pricing, long wait times, and unpleasant surprises when the desired car brand or model is no longer available. Instead, customers simply book a vehicle online, meet the owner to exchange car keys, and return the vehicle once the rental period ends.

In recent years, technologies like Smartcar’s API have accelerated this successful business model even further. Among other features, peer-to-peer car sharing companies use our software to let renters book cars instantly, only hours or even minutes in advance. What are the advantages of instant car rentals? How has Smartcar's technology enabled P2P car sharing companies to build and offer the feature?

What are instant car rentals?

Many P2P car sharing companies offer instant car rentals. The feature allows renters to book select cars instantly for same-day pick-up, instead of having to reserve a vehicle days or even weeks in advance.

Renters search the car sharing app for vehicles that are nearby and available for instant booking. After reserving a car and selecting a pick-up time, the renter picks it up from a designated spot. Renters don’t need to meet vehicle owners to exchange car keys. Instead, vehicle owners share their car’s location along with a digital key directly in the car sharing app. Once the renter has found and unlocked the car from their phone, they retrieve the physical key from the glove compartment and start driving the vehicle.

What are the benefits?

The advantages of offering instant car rentals are striking. First, renters love the instant booking feature for its speed and flexibility. They are able to rent cars more spontaneously and more often. They also save significant time on pick-ups and drop-offs, as they no longer have to wait for vehicle owners to arrive and hand over their keys.

Vehicle owners love and benefit from the instant car rental feature just as much as renters. As they no longer need to be present for each pick-up and drop-off, vehicle owners rent out their cars more often, even when out of town for a vacation or a business trip. They also like to rent out multiple cars in different places at the same time, because it allows them to optimize their car ownership and to gain more money.

Finally, the instant booking feature is a huge benefit for car sharing businesses themselves. Companies that offer the feature have seen improved customer satisfaction, increased rental numbers, and maximized profits.

How to offer instant car rentals

Smartcar’s software technology empowers businesses to easily integrate instant car rental features into their peer-to-peer car sharing apps.

  1. Using our documentation and SDKs, developers can easily integrate Smartcar’s technology into any mobile or web app.
  2. When vehicle owners sign up for the instant car rental program, they onboard their vehicle with just a few clicks from your car sharing app.
  3. Once a vehicle is listed for instant booking, renters can immediately reserve it and select a pick-up time. With the tap of a button, owners can share their vehicle’s location and keys, allowing renters to find and unlock the car directly from their phones.

This is how Smartcar’s technology enables car sharing companies to offer instant car rentals on their platforms. Learn more about how Smartcar caters to car sharing businesses, and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or feedback. We’re happy to help!