Leasing companies are being urged to create new mobility departments to serve the expanding transport needs of companies as they adopt business travel strategies that go beyond cars.
The industry needs to take the risk of developing new services in anticipation of growing demand and to avoid being caught out when customers start asking for services that are not yet developed, argues Julie Summerell, a regional chairman with the UK’s Association of Car Fleet Operators.
The association has been working with fleets on developing their knowledge of mobility services, but she fears that when clients ask account managers at leasing companies for advice, they will not have the training or expertise to be able to respond effectively.
Summerell, who is chief executive officer of fleet consultancy TR Fleet Group, said: ‘Leasing companies need to be more innovative by their nature and they are just not telling clients what is available or possible.
‘There are travel managers out there becoming experts in fleet because they are trained to embrace mobility, but as a sector do we have the skills and knowledge to sell into that market?
‘Leasing companies should be thinking about mobility and having a mobility department as part of their consultancy team. They need someone with travel management experience.’
In addition to consultants having knowledge of car-based services, such as car sharing, she argues they should also cover alternative forms of transport and the technology that enables travellers to identify the most effective options.
She added: ‘Leasing companies have to take the bull by the horns and invest in travel management. They have an important part to play in training their teams to support clients.’
Autovista Intelligence analysis shows there is evidence of leasing companies making changes to reflect the developing transport needs of their customer base, particularly among larger multi-national firms.
LeasePlan’s international mobility services are designed such that fleet managers can offer a wider range of transport options and not just cars.
As discussed in Autovista Intelligence's Mobility Intelligence report, mobility cards are a key part of this strategy. This requires working in partnership with other mobility providers, notably MobilityMixx in the Netherlands and XXImo in Belgium.
These new services are designed to meet the demand for flexibility among corporate customers. Adoption is currently in the early stages but Ronald de Haan, senior manager, international products and services at LeasePlan, believes mobility trends bring new opportunities for growth; alongside multimodal offers, these include branching out to serve small and medium-sized enterprises and consumers.
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