Estonian luxury car rental firm Lurento is hoping to take 20% of its European market in the next two years after signing up 40 suppliers.
The start-up lists cars such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Mercedes, Rolls Royces and Range Rovers and acts as the online middle man between supplier and customer.
Serbian founder and managing director Mihailo Dhoric told Travolution Lurento is capitalising on a gap in the market with its model, which he described as the “Booking.com for luxury cars”.
“I thought it was a very interesting market,” he said. “People come for vacation or business and they want an upper-class car which they can’t get on Europcar or Hertz.
“But it’s chaotic. In Europe, a number of brokers are the ones who are taking the most business and adding insane fees on top of the price.
“Usually they are not able to deliver the car you asked for so when you land you get a different car with excuses.
“We aim to provide more transparent pricing, increased security for companies and customers and better customer experience.”
Lurento offers travel agents commission on bookings, splitting their booking fee with agents 50-50.
Dhoric added that the UK market is “less chaotic” and that Lurento’s key markets were popular cities in Germany, Italy and Spain.
“Most people would like to drive a Ferrari or Lamborghini, especially in Italy,” he said. “You might want to take it down the Riviera.
“In Germany, we have more business travellers who want upper class cars but not super cars – like Mercedes or Porsche.”
He said the split of business was around 60% leisure and 40% business travellers and hopes that by picking his partners wisely the business has the potential to grab 20% of the European market over the next two years.
A 300km Lamborghini Huracan can be rented in Munich for four days for €2,185 while you can rent a Ferrari 458 Spider – which goes from 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds – from €4,512 for four days’ drive.
Now that Lurento has secured deals with 40 small and medium sized car rental firms in Europe, Dhoric’s eyes are set on Dubai and the USA, where he sees a lot of potential in an industry that globally sees more than two million reservations a year through 700 local luxury car rental companies.
Dhoric, 38, has a background in marketing for limousine companies in the USA and most recently worked for a luxury car rental company in Vienna.
But he has set out on his own with a company registered to Estonian capital Tallinn after learning the industry.
It launched “in stealth mode” in early 2016 and officially went live in December.
Lurento – which has ten full-time employees – is also keeping an eye out for future investment too, but has already spent big on technology to help its partners improve their booking management systems while taking care of customer support.
“Our team spent a lot of time working with business owners and talking to our clients”, Mihailo added. “Understanding the needs of both is essential for our mission. Big car rental brands are showing increased interest in this market segment and local companies cannot afford to invest in technology, security or marketing.
“Before Lurento, booking a luxury car was a real challenge. To get the car they want, customers needed to search and send quotes. They have no idea if the company really owns the cars and what will they get in the end. At the same time, companies have to answer a lot of quotes, of which only 2% are converted. It’s a huge waste of time and money for both customers and businesses.”