posted on November 17, 2020

Updates to help fuel hosts’ businesses

We know this year has had more than its fair share of ups, downs, and seismic changes — from a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic grinding travel to a standstill to a surprisingly strong bounce-back with car travel more relevant than ever, it’s been a lot of change in a short amount of time. 

As we enter into the homestretch of 2020, we want to reiterate our longstanding commitment to improving the Turo host experience and helping you build your business profitably. You are all critical contributors to the marketplace’s success, and ultimately, we’re only happy and successful when you’re happy and successful.

So, in that spirit, the theme of the late fall/early winter this year will be dedicated to improving your operational efficiency and loading you up with juicy trips, focusing on:

  • Driving more, well qualified demand
  • Managing your costs
  • Building more tools to help you run your business

Read on for more details on the features and initiatives rolling out over the next couple months, and keep an eye on your inbox for more details as the launch dates get closer.

Driving more, well qualified demand

Boosting demand by partnering with Kayak

In ongoing efforts to bring you more business, we’re thrilled to have launched a partnership with Kayak last week, where searchers will see cars from Turo featured in Kayak’s search results. As you know, Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel planning sites, and with a renewed focus across the industry on car travel (as opposed to air travel) due to the pandemic, the “Cars” section is featured prominently on their homepage, meaning your cars will get the opportunity to see more time in the spotlight in this high-traffic outlet. This new demand generation stream should help draw in qualified roadtrippers, boosting your bookings as we roll into the holiday season!

Timing: Already live!

Experimenting with early bird discounts

On the topic of fueling your bookings with more demand and giving you more levers to flex your business how you want, we’re excited to roll out an “Early bird discount” feature in a few weeks. Earlier bookings not only help you plan your business and your life ahead of time, but also reduce the scramble of catering to last-minute bookings, especially as we head into the bustling holiday season. Recent analysis has hinted that trips booked earlier could be more profitable for hosts and even could report lower frequency of damage claims. We hypothesize that incentivizing guests to book earlier will not only boost your competitiveness in the market, but also empower you to plan further in advance, and potentially boost the share of longer, better planned, and, hopefully, more profitable trips.

To test this hypothesis, we’ll be rolling out a beta test offering a small (five or 10%) percentage-off discount for guests who book seven or more days in advance. The “Early bird discount” will be adjustable in the “Discounts” section of your Pricing settings, and the discount will be displayed in search results for people searching seven or more days out, to catch their eye and incentivize them to book ahead.

This beta test will roll out in early December, right in time for the holidays to encourage guests to book early so you can lock in your trips and make your own holiday plans, and run for a few months as we analyze the effect. Please note, all hosts will be defaulted into a 5% early bird discount to start, but you can opt out or adjust your discount any time. We’ll send out reminders to ensure you’re in the know and aware when this new feature is applied to your listings.

Timing: Estimated early December

Banning guests for smoking violations

It is always a huge bummer when a guest smokes in your car — it disrupts your flow of business, can impact your reviews beyond your control, and can be costly to remove the smell. Plus it’s just kinda gross. 

To help mitigate this deeply frustrating issue for hosts, we’re excited to share that soon, if a guest is proven to have smoked in a car booked on Turo, they will be banned from the Turo community and unable to book again. Smoking is simply not tolerated in cars shared on Turo, and we’re happy to take this bold action to stifle this unacceptable behavior within the community.

Timing: By the end of the year

Managing your costs

Providing better decision-making tools when dealing with damage

Finding your car damaged after a trip is never a fun experience, but resolving the issue more quickly, more efficiently, and getting the highest reimbursement possible — whether that comes from filing a claim with Turo or resolving directly with your guest — can help hosts make better-informed, more financially driven decisions. To help you discern the best path to maximize your financial reimbursement when dealing with damage, we’ll soon be introducing a Claims Resolution Calculator.

To use it, simply enter the estimated damage costs, and, based on your deductible and the guest’s out-of-pocket maximum, the calculator will provide you with the best option to get the highest potential reimbursement for the damage. And if you decide to resolve directly with your guests, Turo is always here as a safety net — you’ll have a 20-day window to escalate it up to Turo to file a formal claim if you can’t work it out yourselves.

While damage is always a bummer, this calculator will remove some of the guesswork by crunching the numbers for you — taking into account your deductible and your guest’s out-of-pocket maximum — to help you make better decisions to help you recover as much as you can when accidents happen.

Timing: Mid-November

Reducing costs with deals & discounts

Constantly on the hunt for partnerships that can enhance your hosting experience, lower your operating costs, and bolster your profitability, we recently renovated the deals and discounts page to be a one-stop shop for resources to keep your Turo business well oiled. From personal insurance policies specifically designed for Turo hosts, to maintenance deals from coast to coast, see if you can reduce your expenses with the latest suite of deals and discounts.*

Timing: In the coming weeks

On the horizon: Reimagining reimbursements

The reimbursement process for incidentals is currently a little wild-westy — hosts can charge for some incidentals using a freeform field, which don’t explicitly correlate to Turo policy and can create cumbersome guesswork, while other incidentals can only be submitted by chatting with Customer Support. Meanwhile, guests receive “reimbursement requests” that can feel optional or unofficial, catch them off-guard, or occasionally go unnoticed entirely,

To refresh and rectify some of this legacy infrastructure, in early Q1, we’ll be reimagining the reimbursement experience to:

  • Better align the experience with guest expectations, refining the process, bolstering the legitimacy of the “request” process, reducing any unexpected surprise charges, and thus improving the collection rate.
  • Streamline the submission process for hosts, removing the caps for each incidental category so you can charge for the full amount within the tool and reduce the need to chat with Support to get your reimbursements greenlighted. So for instance, you’ll be able to charge the $150 smoking fee (with evidence) through the tool itself, rather than through Support.

Timing: Estimated Early Q1

Building more tools to help you run your business

Glimpsing your financial performance with Host Scorecards

Your unique “Host Scorecard” will provide a snapshot of your service and financial performance on Turo from the last 365 days, including some never-before-revealed, often-requested data to give you visibility into your financial performance on Turo, with a special focus on your claims data — your claims rate, the amount recovered, the amount reimbursed, and more.* Visibility into your damage claims data, while not the most glamorous or joyful aspect of running your business, is critical to gaining clarity on your financial performance. 

We believe that giving you this sort of transparent glimpse into your business performance will help align your view of your business health with the Turo view of your business health, and provide a look under the hood of the economics of damage claims.

We recently released a beta version of the “Host Scorecard” to top hosts in the Phoenix area to cull feedback and finesse the data sharing approach, and are looking forward to rolling it out more broadly in the new year.

Timing: Early Q1 2021

Optimizing your ROI with insights, resources, and tools

In the spirit of the recently released car buying guides and the recent post reporting on the cars with the best ROI, we’re keen on creating more tools and resources to help you optimize your business for your unique market and sharpen your competitive advantage. The Turo team has been analyzing cars with the best return on investment and refining tactics to help you reduce your overhead, and we’ll be compiling and sharing more resources in the coming months to help fuel your small business goals.*

Timing: Ongoing!

A note on COVID

Heading into this unusual holiday season, it’s critical that you and your guests continue to practice safe car sharing as COVID cases continue to flare up across the US and around the world. Cars will inevitably fuel this year’s holiday travel, but it’s up to each of us to travel and conduct business as safely and mindfully as possible. Cheers to a safe and healthy holiday season!

* Only relevant for US-based hosts.