As a tourist, renting a car is probably the most convenient way to explore a foreign country. While public transportation and biking can be great for some distances, neither really offers the same level of flexibility and comfort as having a vehicle at your disposal. With a rented car, you have the freedom to travel at your own pace and on your own schedule, allowing for a more comfortable and relaxed travel experience.

On the flip side, many experienced travellers are all too familiar with the tiresome wait at a car rental desk after a long flight, followed by the daunting task of navigating an array of additional services, some of which you may or may not need. This almost inevitably leads to further confusion as the travellers have to search for their assigned rental in seemingly endless airport car parks. In short, there is an immense contrast in customer experience between the vehicle pick-up and the remainder of the rental journey.

However, this is likely to become a thing of the past. In fact, an increasing number of travellers are already turning to smart rental solutions when planning their next trip. The reasons are unsurprising: less hassle and stress. With the smartphone you likely already carry, you can easily book, pick up, and drop off the car. Additionally, you can use your phone to lock and unlock the car's doors and contact customer support when needed. Throughout the entire rental process, not a single step requires direct physical interaction with representatives from the rental company.

Some seasoned travellers who are used to starting their journeys at a rental kiosk may need some time to adjust to a different process. Most people, however, will embrace the ease and convenience that smart rental offers already after their first user experience. Traveling to far-off destinations can often be stressful enough; there’s no need to add to it.

But smart rental is more than just avoiding the rental kiosk staff or saving time on pick-up procedures. Innovative technology that connects vehicles with mobile applications and fleet management platforms offers benefits to both rental users and fleet managers by creating a unified ecosystem. As car rental services become integrated into the Internet of Things (IoT) , travellers can access an expanded range of services without leaving their vehicles. For example, tasks like paying for road tolls, ferry tickets, and parking fees would become effortlessly simple.

A unified platform, much like a super-app , would eliminate the necessity of switching between various booking environments, each with its own user interface, language options, and payment methods. In reality, there are no technological barriers to creating such a platform even now. It is more a matter of a shared vision and the will to unite different stakeholders around the concept of a digitally enhanced tourist experience.

The proof that travellers truly appreciate smart car rental can be seen in consumer reviews on various review websites. The average customer score on Trustpilot for Virtuo , Liigu , and Ufodrive —the companies that offer keyless and fully digital vehicle rental services—is around 4.6. That is just slightly below the perfect score of five. Review scores for smart rental companies are significantly higher compared to those of traditional car rental service models. Analysing the positive features emphasised in customer reviews, terms such as 'seamless,' 'easy to use,' and 'stress-free' stand out. This overwhelmingly positive response is a strong indicator of the increasing demand for smart car rental services among travellers in the near future.

The mobility industry is undergoing a transformation with the rise of smart rental and digital car keys. These innovations offer travellers a fully digitised rental experience, providing convenience, efficiency, and safety.

Unlike traditional car rental procedures, which require waiting in lines and in-person interactions, smart rental solutions enable users to book, access, and return vehicles entirely through mobile applications. This contactless approach is gaining popularity, as shown by positive reviews that praise its seamlessness and stress-free nature. Furthermore, integrating vehicles into the IoT paves the way for additional enhancements, such as automated toll payments and parking fees. As travellers increasingly embrace this new model, the smart rental trend is set to redefine how people explore new destinations.