For our latest In the Spotlight video we had the opportunity to speak with Andy Hibbert, CEO and Founder of Car & Away. During the interview, we found out more about the peer-to-peer car sharing concept, how Car & Away works will multiple partners to deliver excellent customer service and what they have in store over the next couple of years.
Andy, Tell Us More About Car & Away and What You Offer the Parking Industry
“Very simply put, Car & Away is like an Airbnb for cars. We offer the ability for owners to rent out their vehicles to other people when they are not being used, in a fully assured and insured sharing community. And our vision as a company essentially is to do more with less. With over a billion privately owned cars in the world, only used 4% of the time, we see a huge opportunity to unlock the 96% of idle capacity and put it to much greater use.
“So, for the parking industry, by offering peer to peer car sharing at parking hubs, such as airports, train stations, and city locations, we are able to create capacity without cost. And we call this virtual capacity. What we mean by this is, by offering a new parking category to owners which allows them to park and rent their cars out whilst they are away, we can effectively free up space that can be resold, and in essence, becomes the virtual capacity.
“We understand the constraints on building more car parking space, there are high costs, there is the additional footprint, the disruption and management time, and we also understand the seasonal demand for parking. Parking businesses are always building to manage the peak capacity which means that during the off-peak car parks can be half empty. So in summary, we create an innovative solution to this parking problem using car sharing as the foundation, but working directly with parking partners and airports to do this in a very customer-centric way that integrates fully with their existing operations.”
It Sounds like You Offer a Novel Way to Combat Capacity Constraints, What Would You Say Makes Car & Away Unique?
“We are the first peer to peer company working directly with airports to support a capacity solution, new parking and renting solution all at the same time. We work with existing airport parking infrastructure to ensure that our product works seamlessly alongside the existing solutions so that integrating this is as easy as possible for the partners.
“I will use Gatwick Airport, where we already have an operation, as an example. They already have a very successful meet and greet operation; Empark is responsible for moving the vehicles and Park IT provides a system to manage all of these movements. So Car & Away is fully integrated into the Park IT system, which enables Empark to move our cars as easily as any other, and create reports for the cleaning company so that they know when to clean our cars. So our collaborations and easy integration is one area.
“We believe that we offer the airport with a new sustainability capability, as reusing space and reusing assets is very compelling to many airports that we are talking to. Sustainability directors are often as interested in the positive PR that the operation will present as they are in the commercial upsides.
“Another thing that makes us unique is that we use telematics in our operation. In fact, every car that we rent has telematics. So in essence, this helps our owners and renters feel more assured about the operation. Owners are reassured that their cars will be monitored and for renters, they feel that they have full cover.
“The final piece is our integration with our rental partner. We are fully integrated with Rentalcars.com, the biggest global aggregator of car rental, and we are the only peer to peer business integrate with this platform. It means that once we get the cars on our platform to be rented, we have a very strong capability to get the cars rented, which creates money for the owners but of course, creates this virtual capacity capability for the airports.”
What More Can You Tell Us about These Partnerships?
“Our business is effectively about building successful partnerships. I know there is a cliché about win-wins but we generally do look to create wins for everybody, whether they’re for our customers or our partners. In addition to the airport partnerships that we are looking to develop further, we’ve got some fantastic partners that make our operation possible.
“Allianz is our insurance provider currently, and they provide our peer to peer car sharing community with a great, fully comprehensive, insurance product which protects both the renters and the owners, as well as third-parties. This means that everyone is fully insured if something goes wrong, and we can cover it. And, we have a great partner in the RAC, who provides us with 24/7 roadside recovery.
“I already mentioned telematics, and we work with the leading global telematics provider Octo Telematics, to install their product Super Easy. They have given us the ability to proactively communicate with the renters. This means that if certain conditions are breached and the driver behavior isn’t as we expect, we can see can communicate with the driver to realign their behavior. So we have a great partner base within which we can scale the business. And it is just now about finding other airport partners who are excited and want to innovate with capacity using peer to peer car sharing as the foundation.”
What Can You Tell Us About Car & Away’s Future Plans?
“Of course, a lot of the conversations that we have are confidential, but we are talking to seven UK airports already, and we are hopeful that we can launch our third airport in the UK, just after Christmas. We are also talking to several European airports who have capacity problems and constraints that our system can help to manage.
“So we are looking to extend our operation over to Europe, and I guess beyond this there are two or three who approached us from America that we are currently in discussion with. I think we have always been quite grounded in that we are trying to prove the concept and use our success to sell to the next partner effectively. So that is the current roadmap.
“But behind the scenes, a lot is happening. We had some very good investors coming on board earlier this year, which has helped us to completely re-platform the airport infrastructure. What this means is that the integrations with our partners will be enhanced, for a customer the onboarding experience will be far more simplistic, and for our staff, there will be much less administration so that they can focus on providing an excellent service to our customers.
“And the final thing that we are looking to do in the near term, is to move our telematics capability away from a hardware installation, which although is easy, is still an installation we put in every car and move towards a mobile solution, which means that again it is easier for us to build this operation out for future airport partners.”
Watch the In the Spotlight video with Car & Away to hear more from Andy on the peer to peer car sharing community.
About Car & Away
Car & Away is a peer to peer car sharing platform that launched at, and in collaboration with, London Gatwick Airport in December 2017. Car & Away enables car owners to make money from their car whilst it is parked at airports by renting it out to incoming passengers. The business has been launched at London Gatwick Airport, working in partnership with Gatwick Airport Ltd, Rentalcars.com, Octo, RAC, and Allianz.
Car & Away are creating a 'virtual car park' for Gatwick. This allows airports to re-sell car parking spaces at times of peak capacity and so avoid the CAPEX costs of building a new car park. This is ’smart parking’ in every sense; recycling car park spaces and in parallel reducing the need for traditional rental car fleets.
With a score of 9.8/10 Car &Away is rated number one (out of 76) on Trustpilot in the parking category and number 3 (out of 176) in the car rental category. Car & Away was selected for Founders Factory’s travel tech accelerator program, backed by EasyJet.