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Hiring a car is like dealing with an estate agent.

A generally unpleasant staging post standing between you and something enjoyable (your holiday or a new home).

You approach the desk. Yes, you have a quote but consider this just an invitation, nothing more. This is where your bill begins. But between you and the car, you must run the pricing gauntlet. Who will blink first? Do you gamble on insurance now vs a lifetime of penalty payments, which might ultimately cost you your children? You can choose to pay now? Or just skim a proportion of your future earnings to the hire car company, forever. And that’s before you’re behind the wheel. Who knows how the return will go? Will you find the garage to fill the tank? Or just drop another bundle of cash at drop off? You know. There never is an available petrol station.

Or time to find it.

Hiring a car is a terrible experience.

Always has been.

Until now.

Uber is driving away with Hertz’s business. And all the others’ too. And not a moment too soon.

This year we traded the hire car gauntlet for an all together different holiday experience. One activated by fingers and a screen. A call to Uber.

From the airport to the villa. From villa to beach. And back again. To the restaurant. And home. Uber every day. No more hire car. Just a personal driver. On demand.

Oh, and a third of the price too. Yes, fully a third of the total price.

This makes me happy. Not because Uber deserves it so much more. But because it’s what happens when businesses obfuscate, blur, sell too hard or too unpleasantly. In the end, their business will find a way to shift elsewhere. Someone will come along and reconfigure the experience suited to your needs. And with it their business will go. Ciao.

And what do the Hertz’s of the world do then? I’m not suggesting they’ll go bust. I’m sure holiday rentals is a tiny proportion of their business. But it’ll certainly cost them — reputationally and financially.

Their bigger challenge, true for them or any business adapting to a relatively sudden and forced change, is how? How to adapt when you’re organised to maintain a status quo which is the cause of your angst? How to shift mindset? How to re-organise? How to conceive new products and services when the modus operandi and intellectual capital finds itself on the wrong side of customer expectation?


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