Start-up Karhoo, supported by the Renault Group, has signaled plans to expand its mobility offering by giving taxi and PHV fleets the ability to digitally and seamlessly connect with customers of renowned travel and hospitality brands. As the demand for taxi and PHV services declined during the Covid-19 pandemic, Karhoo has focused its activities on developing its geographic coverage in Europe and North America.
Boris Pilichowski and Nicolas Andine, Co-CEOs at Karhoo, said: “In March 2021 alone, Karhoo implemented 25 new integrations and opened the marketplace for hundreds of taxi / PHV fleets that are now better promoting their services to millions of potentials can customers when leisure and business trips are resumed. “
Karhoo offers a global brokerage platform that enables an organization or company to incorporate driving services and bookings into their digital platforms under their own brand names and with a seamless user experience. This means that nationwide and local fleets can become more visible to a wider range of customers who would otherwise be difficult to address.
The company argues that this model is particularly relevant for smaller and medium-sized fleets as it allows them to leverage both the technology and marketing strategies normally only available to larger fleet operators and aggregators like Uber. A new customer is expected to be set up within a few days of signing a contract.
In addition, fleets receive the full expected fare as the cost of using the Karhoo is paid by the customer to facilitate booking through their preferred channel.
So far, Karhoo has registered 3,000 fleets with two million vehicles available in 1,500 cities in 125 different countries. It has partnerships with SNCF (France), Thalys (pan-European), Renfe (Spain), Trainline (UK) and Booking.com (global) to offer its customers a door-to-door travel experience.
For example, Karhoo has operated the “Mon Chauffeur” service from SNCF for the past two years, which books transfer services to and from SNCF train stations via the Oui.sncf portal for journeys up to 12 months in advance. The platform is also used for the mobile SNCF Mobility as a Service (MaaS) app “L’Assistant SNCF” and processes several hundred bookings per day.
“Karhoo enables our customers to travel the first and last mile by using the SNCF train booking portal for pre-booking and the new MaaS mobile app for on-demand. The Karhoo Mobility Exchange product combined with the reactive support from their teams of industry experts enabled us to roll out the service much faster than if we had to sign agreements with individual fleets and implement multiple technical integrations, ”says Damien Wattez, Head of New Mobility and MaaS Product at SNCF.
Looking ahead, Karhoo plans to expand its coverage by integrating new nationwide networks and local providers into its platform and focus on green electric vehicle fleets to meet brand and consumer expectations.
Half (52%) of the companies that responded to the Arval Mobility Observatory Barometer 2021 stated that they either have already implemented an app for booking mobility solutions or are planning to do so in the next three years.
Shaun Sadlier, head of the Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said one striking aspect of the latest research is the degree to which all of the potential mobility solutions mentioned are being taken seriously by companies, suggesting that this is an area in which one there is considerable momentum.
“The companies assume that the implementation of various mobility solutions – such as car sharing, public transport, short or interim rental – will roughly double in the next three years. This is interesting because it shows that the pandemic appears to have limited strategic implications in the medium term. Many mobility options rely on shared means of transport, which in the past year have been seen as potentially increasing the risk of infection, but employers clearly don’t believe this will be an issue at any point. “In addition, the planned introduction of mobility is much more pronounced in larger companies. This is not surprising. Mobility is an integral part of a structured approach to corporate transportation needs and larger employers are sure to take the lead. However, we do not believe that this means that smaller companies are lagging behind, but that the implementation of these ideas will be a little slower for SMEs, ”said Sadlier.