Innovation That Matters

Zipcar lands hotel partner

Travel & Tourism

Companies with innovative approaches to staid industries need to move quickly in order to maintain their lead, even after they’ve become firmly established. A good example is Zipcar. The US-based car sharing venture with operations in North America and the UK first appeared on our radar in 2003. Back then, we applauded the company’s disruptive, car-on-demand service that appealed to consumers more interested in using a vehicle than owning it. A little over four years later, as we detailed last April, a partnership with another industry disruptor—ParkAtMyHouse—made it easier for Zipcar’s customers to find a place to park. (ParkatMyHouse lets homeowners rent their coveted urban parking spaces by the hour or the day.) A few months later we wrote that a new Zipcar service enabled renters with GPS phones to access directions to the nearest car, wherever they happened to be. And the latest Zipcar news? The company is further broadening its customer base by partnering with AKA, a provider of luxury furnished suites that currently operates nine locations in the US, with one to follow in the UK later this year. Customers of the high-end “pied-à-terre on demand” chain are given a free one-year Zipcar membership (the company’s hourly rates still apply). After applying online, guests can pick up the digital key-card to their Zipcar at the front desk of any AKA property. A smart move, since extended stay guests in big cities are a logical fit for the car sharing service. If there’s a lesson here, it’s that getting out in front of the other guys early is only half the battle—the pressure is always on to improve and innovate. Spotted by: RK




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