Shaking off the 'Airbnb for cars' tag

Robert Larmour
Robert Larmour
Chief Operating Officer at hiyacar
Shaking off the 'Airbnb for cars' tag

Back in 2015 when it was just Graeme and myself, planning out what we wanted hiyacar to be, we found the easiest way to communicate to the public was as ‘the Airbnb for cars’. It made sense. Everybody (well nearly) knew Airbnb and the concept of renting out your spare room to a stranger was less…..strange.

So what’s changed? Well firstly, after 4 years actively sharing cars we do not want or need to use Airbnb to define who we are. Car sharing is not the alien concept it was 4 years ago. Now, ‘sharing your car with your neighbours’ is accepted in most cities. There is still a lot of work to do, but it is no longer greeted with shock and horror.

Secondly, we are not actually anything like Airbnb. Their platform is great for travel but they are not changing how we own homes. We are trying to change mobility and reduce car ownership. By sharing your car it will mean fewer cars parked doing nothing. Not many people use an Airbnb to stay at their neighbours’ house whereas the majority of our usage comes from people on the same street or at least, the same postcode. We are not interested in people flying over for a holiday, using us once and then never seeing them again. That is traditional car rental, which is not us. Our business centres around repeat usage. The same person renting the same car close to them multiple times per week to run errands like going to the shops or visiting friends. Hiyacar stops the need for both of those people to own a car, which is a good thing.

Others may use that tagline to describe us as they may have seen it written down a few years ago, but we will not be using it (and haven’t for a long time). Using ‘we are the X of X’ is great in year one when you are disrupting something or trying to get yourself noticed but we are more mature now and believe hiyacar can stand on its own two feet.

Maybe one day start ups will use the line ‘we are the hiyacar of X’?.

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