Car rental companies in the country are making a beeline to offer limousine services to international carriers that are flying into India.
While Avis India is driving the first class and business class passengers of Virgin Atlantic across the country, Hertz India has recently tied up with Emirates for the same and the company has shelled out around Rs 20 crore to buy 75 Mercedes to serve the passengers of Dubai-based airline.
"Inflow of premium guests has gone up substantially in India as every now and then there are global board meetings being held in the country. As a result there has been an increasing opportunity for tie-ups between airlines and the domestic car rental companies to offer limousine services," says Abdul Majeed, auto analyst and partner, Price Waterhouse.
"The concept behind offering limousine service is to give the same seamless travel experience to the passengers that they had in the airline. This includes offering soft drinks, mineral water, chocolates and cold towels inside the taxi to pamper the customers, over and above the well-educated and well versed chauffeurs," says Rajiv K Vij, CEO, Hertz India.
"For airlines that are offering these limo services, it is a good product differentiator and value proposition as compared to their competitors," says Ravi Lamba, CEO, Avis India.
"Availability of premium cars like Mercs, BMWs and Audis at lower rates to the license owners has also fuelled the demand for limousine services in the country," says a Mumbai-based analyst, adding that the sector is poised to witness a healthy growth.
No wonder, major car rental companies are now queuing up to grab the larger pie of the newly emerging sector. For instance, after a tie-up with Emirates in four cities, Hertz is now looking at taking it across 11 cities from where the Emirates operate.
The company is also looking for a similar tie-up with major domestic as well as other international airlines. Even Sixt is understood to be in talks with various international carriers to get a bigger contract.
"We are planning to buy a total of 125 Mercs, BMWs, Audi and small number of Volvos to induct into our limousine fleet as domestic carriers like Kingfisher Airlines and Jet Airways has the potential to offer such kind of complimentary services," said Vij.