How to Differentiate Brands in the "Sharing Economy"

Enterprise's Stubblefield: "We essentially 'share' more than a million vehicles a week in the United States"

Jul 27, 2015, 14:46 ET from Enterprise Holdings

ORLANDO, Fla., July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Enterprise Holdings' Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President Greg Stubblefield stressed what has changed for consumers in the so-called “sharing economy” is the concept of "access" rather than "sharing" on a broad scale. His comments were made during the "Differentiating Brands in a Sharing Economy" panel discussion at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention in Orlando.

Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental company in the world, owns and operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, and is a member of the CarSharing Association. In his role, Stubblefield leads the strategic growth of the company's brands, and is a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, U.S. Travel Association's CEO Roundtable and the World Travel and Tourism Council. He was joined by Kaye Ceille, president of Zipcar; Chip Conley, head of global hospitality and strategy of Airbnb; and Rufino Perez Fernandez, chief commercial officer of NH Hotel Group, for this morning's discussion. Vice Chairman of Deloitte, Guy Langford, served as panel moderator.

With the panel focusing on consumer "access" vs. "sharing," Stubblefield said, "They want it where they want it, how they want it, when they want it. Consider that we essentially 'share' more than a million vehicles a week in the United States. So when you talk about scale and the ability to meet public transportation needs for the long term, fleet size obviously is a significant factor from an operational and financial perspective."

"Virtual Car"

For example, Enterprise has been delivering transportation alternatives right where people live and work since 1957. Forty years later, Enterprise Rent-A-Car trademarked the term Virtual Car®, after recognizing the strength and energy of local service, regardless if it is for an hour, a day, a week or longer.

This intuitive neighborhood business model now features a wide variety of programs, including car rental, car leasing, vanpooling, car sharing and online ride-matching, in towns and cities of all sizes. This means Enterprise is able to provide affordable and accessible transportation options to consumers who rely on mass transit during the week in large urban markets, and to those who simply cannot afford to purchase or maintain a vehicle of their own.

Such convenience is made possible by Enterprise Holdings' unique grassroots network, which includes more 6,000 fully staffed neighborhood and airport offices –  all located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population – and more than 1 million vehicles in operation from coast to coast.


During this morning's GBTA panel discussion, Stubblefield also noted that "sharing economy" terminology has created some confusion in the marketplace. For instance, on New Year's Eve 2014, Skift's founder and CEO retweeted a message that the sharing economy had been "outed" as the rental economy.

Two weeks later, the Associated Press clarified that journalists should begin describing companies like Uber and Lyft as "ride hailing" instead of "ride-sharing." Stubblefield believes that these distinctions are not academic, because terminology can often influence how important public-policy decisions are made, including special tax exemptions and subsidized infrastructure such as free parking in public spaces.

Defining transportation services precisely and consistently is critical not only for the media, but also for elected officials, travel industry leaders and business operators to help ensure that the "playing field" is level for everyone involved, customers included. To that end, Enterprise recently participated in an industry conference session titled, "The Convergence of Car Sharing and Car Rental," which highlighted the important role that car rental plays in the evolution of urban mobility.

In addition, Enterprise suggested at the 2014 SXSW Eco Conference – as part of its "City Transit 411: Urban Myths & Urban Mobility" panel discussion – that many of today's so-called new transportation models are actually just variations on three basic services that have been offered for decades:

  • Car rental – when an individual or business permits consumers to temporarily use vehicles it owns in exchange for payment, that's car rental.
  • Ride-sharing – when multiple individuals find each other, and agree to share the cost of their trip, that's actually ride-sharing. This type of service continues to be regulated at the state level by minimum automobile insurance, private passenger vehicle safety and personal driver's license requirements. If a rented or leased vehicle is involved for vanpooling, the state's rental and leasing regulations also apply.
  • For-hire vehicles – when consumers pay a for-profit third party for a ride between two points, they're using a for-hire vehicle, including ride-hailing. An organization or person being paid to transport others has a unique set of obligations, the most important of which is public safety.

In conclusion, Stubblefield encourages all stakeholders in the global travel industry to look beyond the technology used to arrange transportation and instead focus on the actual type of service being provided, so that public, legislative and legal debates about vehicle access are as thoughtful and well informed as possible.

For more information about Enterprise Holdings, visit

About Enterprise Holdings
Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental company in the world as measured by revenue, fleet and employees, and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management together offer a total transportation solution. Combined, these businesses – which include extensive car rental and car-sharing services, truck rental, corporate fleet management and retail car sales – accounted for $17.8 billion in revenue, employed 83,000 and operated 1.5 million vehicles throughout the world in fiscal year 2014. Enterprise Holdings, through its regional subsidiaries, operates the largest fleet of vehicles in the world through a global network of more than 8,600 neighborhood and airport locations under the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. Its worldwide revenues place the company near the top of the global travel industry, exceeding many airlines and most cruise lines, hotels, tour operators and online travel agencies. Enterprise Holdings' diverse brand portfolio also accounts for the largest market share at U.S. airports. Enterprise Fleet Management provides full-service fleet management to companies and organizations with medium-sized fleets. Other transportation services marketed under the Enterprise brand name include Enterprise CarShare, Enterprise Rideshare, Enterprise Car Sales, Enterprise Truck Rental and Zimride by Enterprise.

This press release and car rental industry news are available online in the Enterprise Holdings Press Room.

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