The lingering effects of COVID-19 continue to loom over the economy. A constant threat of lockdowns and other government mandates combined with over a year of accruing overhead costs has instilled one philosophy into the world’s biggest businesses: adapt or die.
E-commerce has become the key deciding factor that dictates how even top brands perform. For industries like retail, where e-commerce shares jumped to 19% in 2020 according to the UN News, adoption has been relatively simple and big players like Amazon and Walmart remain on top. In hospitality, well-known hotel management companies are still reeling while peer-to-peer accommodations like Airbnb slowly but surely bounce back as pandemic regulations loosen.
In the case of transport, ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber face a slow-and-rocky return while a “car rental apocalypse,” as the Washington Post calls it, continues to make cost and availability a nightmare for would-be renters. In industries like this, new and more innovative services like Rent Your Ride have proven indispensable in helping both providers and consumers return to profit and convenience in a post-pandemic economy.
Established in 2016, Rent Your Ride founder Michael Okoye initially saw the company as a passion project that married typical car rental services with his love for exotic cars. The concept was continuously reiterated and redesigned over the years before it struck gold in 2021. With a pilot program recently launched in British Columbia and Saskatchewan, the company has since grown to over 8,000 users and continually grows its business by over 100% per month.
Michael credits the quick and timely evolution of its company in response to the pandemic and the resulting car rental shortage as their key to success. From his initial vision as a niche supercar rental service, RYR was redesigned as a peer-to-peer e-commerce car rental service that connects guests with hosts offering all sorts of common, luxury, and exotic cars.
RYR’s unique model gives guests a safe, convenient, and hassle-free way to rent a wide variety of cars at reasonable prices. The use of e-commerce allows the company to avoid the large overhead costs associated with maintaining car fleets, which is a problem that plagues more conventional car rental companies.
To maximize his advantage, Michael leveraged technology further by bringing in Aaron Badescu as his Director of Marketing and Business Development. An expert in online branding and marketing, Aaron was able to use a variety of partnerships and cost-efficient marketing strategies to capture and engage potential customers. These were combined with a high-quality website and mobile app that seamlessly connects guests with RYR’s community of guests and hosts. By making these efforts work with the challenges of COVID-19, Aaron was able to help the brand grow from having 2,000 to 40,000 followers, 1,000 to 8,000 users, and from around 6 to 40 listings in Winnipeg. Aaron even has his own ride listed on the platform, and is one of its top hosts.
With a global microchip shortage expected to extend the car rental crisis into 2022, according to the LA Times, RYR has become the go-to source for rental cars in its pilot cities and is poised to capture a growing part of the market over the coming years. Michael believes that the success of Rent Your Ride can be replicated throughout the various industries upended by COVID-19. Summarizing the company’s formula for success, Michael and Aaron emphasize how innovation, marketing, and world-class customer service can work hand-in-hand to give clients a unique, fundamental service with a top-class user experience.