Rental market booms before Easter rush

Demand for rental vehicles has more than doubled ahead of the Easter weekend.

Volkswagen Financial Services UK (VWFS) has seen a huge 148% spike in online bookings on its Rent-a-Car platform so far this month compared to the same period in 2021.

The car finance provider’s data insights team believe the surge in demand is likely to have been driven by planned maintenance works on railway lines, and several reduced services, as people seek an Easter getaway. Some ferry services are also expected to be affected.

VWFS Rent-a-Car saw a 121% rise in online bookings between the first quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021 as staycations really took off during lockdown, while annual bookings rose 219% last summer.

But in the current market, experts believe the spike is being driven by holiday demand.

Data from a recent Volkswagen Financial Services UK survey found that 24% of Brits are planning a UK staycation this spring, with RAC predicting the weekend’s Easter getaway will be the busiest in at least eight years.

Mark Forton, director of Mobility Services at Volkswagen Financial Services UK, said: “Lots of people have been waiting a long time to get away this Easter and what our data shows is that holidaymakers are swapping the current uncertainty around rail and ferry travel for the reliability of cars. We’ve seen a steady increase in the popularity of staycations over the past two years, but I believe this is a trend that will only strengthen after the Easter weekend. Our cars are an affordable alternative to long-distance rail travel, and as long as they continue to make holidays accessible, I’m sure we’ll continue to see more people planning road trips in the months ahead.”