The UAE is a dynamic market for car rentals, with both residents and tourists renting cars Image Credit: Shutterstock

Highlights

  • Finalrentals is one of the entrants in Flying Colours, a competition for UAE-based start-ups. The competition offers SMEs the chance to win flight tickets worth Dh100,000 on Emirates Airline
  • You can follow the progress of entrants on Ideas Runway, which is a partnership between REACH by Gulf News and Emirates Airline.

Working as a full-time entrepreneur for 12 years and the main architect behind the booking systems of several world-renowned car rental brands, Ammar Akhtar was well aware of the frustration people in the UAE felt when renting a ride.

Bad customer service, reams of paper forms, and high prices convinced him in 2016 to launch Finalrentals. The portal is a one-stop-shop for short-term and long-term rentals and the company earns commission on every transaction on the platform.

“With a team of six people, Finalrentals is running on a very lean model where we operate on low costs and create maximum value possible for the end customer by negotiating the best deals with the car rental providers," explains Akhtar.

Ammar Akhtar's Finalrentals is a car rental comparison and booking website Image Credit: Supplied

Global car rental providers such as Dollar, Thrifty, and Budget Rent-a-Car are an integral part of the Finalrentals platform.

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“The main inspiration behind the portal is the fact that I saw many deficiencies in the traditional business and I thought being truly digital could only solve those problems,” says Akhtar, a Pakistani national.

“With Finalrentals you can rent a car online, completely paperless, and without any hassle. Our unique selling point is the fact that we leverage the digital age and the ecosystem to create value for our users by allowing them to store their information such as driving licence and other documents so that they do not have to present them time and again. This practice otherwise takes a lot of time.”

Visitors can rent a car from more than 400 locations in the UAE Image Credit: Supplied

Finalrentals is the only platform that covers all the airports and malls in the UAE and all the main city areas. Visitors can rent a car from more than 400 locations in the UAE, and more than 40,000 locations around the world.

“At the moment we are the leading platform in the market for short-term and long-term car rentals, and the only platform where you can compare more than 500 cars for monthly rentals across the Emirates,” says Akhtar.

“We are working on next level automation and effectiveness in early 2019 by launching the first-ever artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot for the car rental industry and we aim to bring in more innovation in the same year.”

Akhtar admits that marketing is a big challenge when you don’t have a big budget to splash but says they have been successful in acquiring a lot of customers organically and through word of mouth.

“Because our model revolves around the customer experience and happiness, we have been very successful in winning repeats and getting regular referrals. This has been the main factor behind our success.”

Read more at Ideas Runway