Ride-hailing business in second wave
Business

How can entrepreneurs strengthen the ride-hailing business in the COVID-19 second wave?

The global Covid-19 pandemic had a severe impact on different economies. Jobs were lost and employees suffered huge pay cuts. The on-demand transport industry was not spared either as major taxi-booking apps like Uber, Ola, Didi Chuxing, Grab, and Curb were able to function only at 50% capacity due to social distancing norms imposed by governments across the world.

Some must-know statistics about Ride-hailing apps is

  • 2021 will be a better and bigger year for the global Ride-hailing industry as it is expected to generate a whopping revenue of $117.34 billion.
  • Uber which has a gigantic 65% market share in the taxi-booking sector lost 60 to 70% of its trips due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions because of numerous lockdowns.
  • Uber lost 77% of the overall trip rate in two of its biggest operating cities, London and Paris in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The taxi booking market will soar to a mind-boggling value of $327.54 billion in 2026 with an 8.95% annual growth rate for the next five years.
  • The Asia-Pacific region grabbed a massive share of 73.14% of the global ride-hailing market due to factors like huge population, heavy traffic on roads, and affordable fares.

Some useful tips for entrepreneurs to earn hefty profits in their Ride-hailing app solution are

  • Protect the drivers – No cabs can run on the roads without the presence of drivers who are important stakeholders in on-demand transportation apps. Many cabbies would have lost their income since they would have taken very few trips last year.
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Hence, the entrepreneurs can consider providing interest-free loans for drivers to meet their important expenses and other commitments. Provide adequate incentives like economical leasing of cars, health insurance, bonus, and tips to keep them fully satisfied.

  • Upgrade safety measures to your app – The Covid-19 pandemic left us all vulnerable, Hence, customers have started giving more priority to their safety and security. Entrepreneurs have to ensure real-time monitoring of the wearing of face masks and gloves by the drivers.

They also have to instruct the drivers to disinfect and sanitize their vehicles after every ride. Prepare a detailed checklist on the cleanliness guidelines to be followed by both the drivers and passengers and make them aware of it beforehand. Make sure to launch a ride hailing app with COVID-19 safety measures.

  • Focus on diversification of ride-hailing services – Uber, which is one of the biggest taxi booking apps in the market can bear huge losses due to its vast presence in the market and adequate cash reserves in hand. They also have other businesses like Uber Auto, Uber Eats, Uber Electric Scooter, and Uber Freight to earn more revenue if there is a dip in the income from taxi booking.

Hence, entrepreneurs have to introduce more services to deal with the dangers of uncertainty. With a vast fleet of cabs and trained drivers available, they can make more money by introducing new services like delivery of alcohol, food, groceries, and medicines.

This will lead to greater demand from customers as all the required services will be available in a single app leading to tremendous money and time savings for them.

  • Adapt to changing user behaviour – More revenue will be generated by offering ride-hailing services than ride-sharing services. Entrepreneurs can no longer accommodate 3-4 passengers in a taxi as only a maximum of 2 travellers are allowed as per government regulations.
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Though surge pricing based on market demand and supply during peak hours can get more income for entrepreneurs, they can consider not implementing it in the current situation as customers will not take cabs if the price is very costly than other modes of transport.

  • Indulge in aggressive digital marketing campaigns – The Coronavirus pandemic has turned the whole world upside down and most users are working remote through online platforms. Hence, entrepreneurs can promote their ride-hailing app through banner ads, sponsored posts, and promotional videos by hiring celebrities as brand ambassadors.

Offer attractive loyalty programs that include cash back, points, and rewards for the travellers. This will help the entrepreneur to not just retain the existing users but also acquire new passengers easily.

What are the easily implementable tactics for entrepreneurs in the day-to-day functioning of their ride-hailing app?

  • A flexible cancellation option for drivers – Allow cabbies to cancel taxi booking requests when they are not feeling well or displaying any Covid-19 symptoms. This ensures that there is no spread of the contagious virus from the drivers to passengers. It creates a greater sense of security and trust.
  • Analyze data regularly – The entrepreneurs have to keep a close eye on data like the average number of rides booked by the passengers per month/year, total rides cancelled, the common locations from where cabs are hired, and the average earnings per trip. They can use modern tools like heatmap to know the level of demand in different areas and accordingly make changes in the dispatch of taxis.
  • Offer special rides for Covid-19 frontline workers and patients – Emergency rides can be provided by the entrepreneurs in their taxi-booking apps for Covid-19 frontline workers and patients going to get admitted to hospitals. This significantly increases the goodwill of the taxi in the minds of the target audience. Entrepreneurs can take a good example from Uber which introduced vaccine bookings for eligible citizens, car rental options, and also free rides through partnerships with different NGOs.
  • Respond to complaints and issues promptly – The entrepreneur has to immediately handle grievances and problems faced by commuters. In this era of social media, any complaint of the travellers can go viral if action is not taken instantly. Hence, have a 24×7 technical support team proficient in multiple languages. They must be available via different communication platforms like email, live chat, and phone. This will assure a positive buzz for the ride-hailing app.
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Final Thoughts

Taxi-booking apps generate a lot of jobs, revenue, and taxes for the world economy and are an important part of the thriving on-demand transportation industry. Customer expectations change every day and there is a huge onus on entrepreneurs to provide a world-class travel experience at an affordable cost.

The dynamics of market demand and supply play a role in determining the salaries to drivers, prices for travelers, and profits for ride-hailing apps, entrepreneurs have to make necessary changes by introducing the above-mentioned measures to enhance the business performance of their ride-hailing app solutions.

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